Mushi Santappa was born on October 2, 1923 in Jonnagiri village in the then Madras Presidency and graduated in Chemistry from the University of Madras in 1943. After obtaining sis Master’s degree was from Banaras Hindu University in 1946, he secured a PhD from the University of London on a Government of India scholarship in 1949, and was mentored by R W West.
Staying back in the UK, he obtained another PhD in 1951 from Manchester University, working under the guidance of Meredith Gwynne Evans, a Fellow of the Royal Society--his thesis was based on the physical chemistry of high polymers.
Returning to India, Santappa joined the University of Madras as a Reader of Physical Chemistry in 1952 and in 1958 and after serving various posts, including as CLRI Director and as VC of Sri Venkateswara University, he returned to Chennai and became the VC of Madras University in 1981 and held the post till 1984.
While working as the UGC professor, he co-founded Avanti Leather Limited, a public limited company involved in the manufacture and export of leather products, in 1976.
Dr Santappa was known for his researches on the synthesis of graft copolymers, the properties of macromolecules, and osmotic techniques. He was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, one of the highest Indian Science Awards, in 1967, for his contributions to Chemical Sciences. He was also the recipient of the Sir JC Ghosh Memorial Medal numerous otehr awards.
Dr Santappa is an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, India, Royal Institute of Chemistry and New York Academy of Sciences, and a founder fellow of the Academy of Sciences, Chennai.