Sunday, 12 October 2014

Panchanan Maheswari

Panchanan Maheswari (November 1904 – 18 May 1966) was a prominent Indian botanist and Fellow of the Royal Society, noted chiefly for his invention of the technique of test-tube fertilization of angiosperms. Till then no one had thought that flowering plants could be fertilized in test-tubes. Maheshwari’s technique immediately opened up new avenues in plant embryology and has applications in economic and applied botany. Cross-breeding of many flowering plants which cannot crossbreed naturally can be done now. The technique has proved to be of immense help to plant breeders.

He was second Indian Botanist to be awarded F.R.S. by Royal Society of London in 1965. Maheshwari was an educator and publisher. He taught Botany at the University of Delhi, establishing that department as a globally important center of research in embryology and tissue culture. Maheshwari founded the scientific journal Phytomorphology, for which he served as chief editor until his death in 1966; and the more popular magazine Botanica. He also published texts to improve the standard of teaching life sciences in the schools. In 1951, he founded the International Society of Plant Morphologists.

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