Nitishsay features breaking science news about the latest discoveries in science, space, the environment, technology, and more -- from leading universities, scientific journals, and research organizations.

About Birbal Sahni Indian Scientist

Birbal Sahni

Birbal Sahni (14 November 1891-10 April 1949) was in Indian paleobotanist. He studied the fossil of the Indian subcontinent and founded what is now the Birbal sahni institute of palaeobotany at Lucknow in 1946. His major contributions were in the study of the Fossil plants of India and in plant evolution and also involved in the establishment of Indian science education and served as the President of the national academy of sciences, India and as president of the international botanical Congress, Stockholm.

Birbal Sahni
Bust of Birbal Sahni (Birla Industrial & Technological Museum).jpg
Bust of Birbal Sahni at Birla Industrial Technological Museum
Bhera, Shahpur District, British India - Presently in Pakistan
Alma materGovernment College University, Lahore,
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Known forBennettitales, Pentoxylales, Homoxylon rajmahalense
Spouse(s)Savitri Suri
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorAlbert Charles Seward
Other academic advisorsGoebel


He joined professor Seward to work on a Revision of Indian gondwana plants during his stint in England. In 1919 he worked in which with the German plant morphologist Karl Ritter von goebel. He also served as professor of botany at Banaras Hindu University and Punjab University for about a year. In Lucknow university appointed as the first professor and head of botany department and opposition he retained until his death. He awarded by the University of Cambridge for the degree of Sc.D. 1929. He maintained close relation with researchers around the globe, being a friend of Chester A. Arnold, noted, American Palaeobotanical who later served his year in residence from 1958 – 9059 at the institute. He was the founder of The paleobotanical society which established the institute of palaeobotany on 10 September 1946 which initially function in the botany department of Lucknow University but later move to its present premises at 53 University road, Lucknow in 1949. On 3 April 1949 the prime Minister of India jawaharlal nehru laid the foundation stone of the new building of the institute. A week later, on 10 April 1949, Sahni scccumbed to a heart attack.


He worked on living plant species including Nephrolepsis, Niphobolus, Texus, Psilotum, Tmesipteris And Acmopyle examining evolutionary trends and geographical distribution. He apply theory to observation and make hypothesis based on observation were specially influential on his students because of his ability. He recorded foreign pollen in the ovules of living ginkgo biloba noted in the new Phytologist, the problem with assuming that fossil pollen ine ovules belonged to a single species. He identified Torreyites, a close relative of Torreya, which extended the range of the texels into gondwanaland. He also studied the Fossil plants of the Deccan intertrappean beds. He suggested that the lower narmada area around nagpur and chhindwara was coastal on the basis of fossil that showed a similarity to estuarine palms of the Genus Nipa. Based on the ecology of plants and the altitude of the Fossil finds, he also attempted to estimate rates of uplift of the Himalayas.

Other interests

He was interested in music and could play the sitar and the violin. And was also interested in clay modelling and in playing chess and tennis. Other interest included geology, photography, archaeology and numismatics.

Early life

He was born in bhera shahpur district in today's Pakistani Punjab, on 14 November 1891. His mother was Ishwar Devi and his father was the Indian metrologist and scientist lala Ruchi ram sahni who lived in Lahore. Birbal sahni received his early education in India at the mission and Central model School Lahore, government college University, Lahore and Punjab University. He followed his brothers to England and graduated from Emmanuel college, Cambridge in 1914. he later study under Albert Charles Seward, and was awarded the D.Sc. degree of the University of London in 1919.

Post a comment