Women in Science – Dr. Geetharani


K. Geetharani
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry. She joined IISc in 2016. Her area of research is “Organometallics and main group chemistry”. She did her PhD at IIT Madras and postdoc at the University of Wurzburg, Germany.

  • When did you first realise that you wanted to be a scientist?

Although I was very good in mathematics during my school days, my mother encouraged me to pursue science and I decided to go with chemistry as a major for my undergraduate studies. The thrust for becoming a scientist came during my master’s degree at The American College, Madurai. I am thankful to all my teachers there who actually exposed me to all the possible opportunities in an academic career.

  • Why did you choose this area of research?

It was quite amazing to see chemical reactions occur naturally in a balanced way. Moreover, I was also fascinated about structure and the unusual chemical bonding of atoms and molecules.

  • What are the big unresolved questions in your field?

Difficulty in understanding the complexity of life: How did simple non-living chemical compounds generate complex systems in a living organism?

  • What is the most important advice you got that you think has helped you in your career?

Be honest, work hard, never give up and try to be happy all the time.

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“IISc (particularly my department) gives me the freedom to think and work, and the opportunity to engage ourselves with multidisciplinary minds”
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  • If you had any women mentors or role models in science, who were they and what do you think you’ve learned most from them?

I did not have any women role models in my research field. But I got some inspiration from Prof. Renuka who was my organic chemistry professor during my undergraduate studies. I started enjoying chemistry from that point. I have learnt from her how to teach complicated problems in a simple way.

  • What is the most fulfilling thing about a life in science?

Always exciting to embrace new challenges and look for solutions.

  • What do you like most about working in IISc?

IISc (particularly my department) gives me the freedom to think and work, and the opportunity to engage ourselves with multidisciplinary minds. And, of course, the green campus – a heaven to live.

  • If there is one thing you’d like to change about IISc, what would it be?

We should reduce the movement of vehicles to keep the campus green and calm.

  • What would be your advice for aspiring women scientists?

It is too early for me to give some advice to aspiring women scientists, but the only thing I can say is that we need to learn how to balance professional and personal responsibilities.