Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Growing Up With C&EN

by A. Maureen Rouhi
June 17, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 24

Credit: Courtesy of Swapnil B. Ambade


Credit: Courtesy of Swapnil B. Ambade


The Ambades: Balasaheb (from left), Rohan, and Swapnil.

How old were you when you first became aware of C&EN? I must have been in my junior year of college when I first noticed the magazine. Amazingly, some people grew up with C&EN, their lives deeply influenced by the magazine in a way editors-in-chief can only dream about.

Swapnil B. and Rohan B. Ambade are brothers whom I met last April at an ACS On Campus event in South Korea. The two are Ph.D. students studying optoelectronic materials in Chonbuk National University. When I introduced myself to them, they were beyond delighted. As they explained, they have known C&EN since they were children. And as their father, Balasaheb, wrote to me, C&EN has been a major influence in their family.

Balasaheb H. Ambade is a chemical engineer who in 1984 built a chemical manufacturing business in Maharashtra, India. In a letter, he told me that he came across C&EN when he was a young man “trying to figure out career options.” The first copy he read was the Dec. 13, 1971, issue. The guest editorial, “Trading Our Future For Profit,” caught his attention, he recalled. And reading through the magazine, he “was somehow mesmerized to take up chemical engineering.”

I wondered if Balasaheb received C&EN as an ACS member. In fact, he obtained C&EN in bundles from sellers of used books. He has been reading C&EN since the 1980s until last year, when unfortunately he became hemiplegic after a stroke.

Using his chemical engineering training, Balasaheb built Kamal Chemicals, a manufacturing facility that produces a sulfonated castor oil for use as a surfactant in the sugar and textile industries. Since his stroke, Swapnil and Rohan have been managing the business from South Korea.

Swapnil recalls looking at copies of C&EN when he was nine years old. He and Rohan grew up surrounded by the chemical engineering their father practiced and by C&EN. Both later pursued the same degree as their father. “I was surprised,” Balasaheb wrote. When he asked his sons about their career selections, he recalled, “they replied in common that they were probably driven to take up chemical engineering as they grew up seeing more C&EN magazines than reading Tintin [comics]. … When most of their peers want to be on [the society page of Indian tabloids], my sons are more inclined to be in the news for all good reasons, especially [regarding] social responsibilities.”

When a family owns a business, the pressure on children to join it is immense. Yet, “my father never told us that we had to be chemical engineers,” Swapnil tells me. “But we saw how he worked so passionately.”

“As parents it is our responsibility to invest in the future of our children, in the best possible way,” Balasaheb wrote. “Today, as a father, I feel proud that I invested rightly on my children. The choices they made today were simply an influence of what they saw and probably had read over the years. To this end, I owe [a debt of gratitude] to C&EN.”

The father’s investment is paying off. When I asked the sons about social responsibility, they told me in an e-mail that clean and sustainable energy is close to their hearts and perhaps the main reason they decided to study solar cells. They believe it is their responsibility to help provide society with sustainable energy sources in the future.

C&EN can’t take a lot of credit for the upbringing of the Swapnil and Rohan, but it sure feels good to know that this magazine touches people’s lives in surprisingly profound ways.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Sushil Bagde (June 17, 2013 4:43 AM)
This article is so well written.

Indeed, its a worthy gift from these two sons to their father on father's day.
Its very rare case where both father & his both sons are belonging to same educational background. Or in more precise way one can say they are following the footprints of their father.

Maureen Rouhi (June 19, 2013 3:50 PM)
Hi, Sushil. I'm glad you noticed that I timed the piece for Father's Day.
Dr. Priyesh Vilas More (June 17, 2013 5:32 AM)
Amazing story !
All the best to my friends Rohan and Swapneil for their bright future.
Swapnil B. Ambade (November 14, 2013 8:33 PM)
Thank You Dr. Priyesh!
swathi jadhav (June 17, 2013 5:56 AM)
One of the best article that dr.ambades family by this reached a gud position and this article improves the reputation of dr.ambades family which gives a hapiness to me
Swapnil B. Ambade (November 14, 2013 8:35 PM)
Thanks Swathi. Life is all about getting better and better as an human everyday.
Maria (June 17, 2013 7:12 AM)
Heart touching and inspiring to read. Best wishes to Swapnil B. and Rohan B. Ambade. Keep up the good work n keep rocking! cheers***
Swapnil B. Ambade (November 14, 2013 8:36 PM)
Thank you for your inspiring words Dr. Maria!
Rajaram S. Mane (June 17, 2013 8:48 AM)
It is proud to note that Ambade brothers got an inspiration from their father, Balasahebji, who intentionally invested science in them through Chemical and Engineering News and feel lucky for having corroboration with both brothers since 2003.
Swapnil B. Ambade (November 14, 2013 8:39 PM)
Dr. Rajaram S. Mane, We are so blessed to have a mentor like you. You are a source of constant inspiration to us. Can't really thank you enough.
Anjira Ambade (June 17, 2013 12:19 PM)
Hello Dr.Maureen,

This article is really classy.

It is so well composed and it majorly reflects the fact that
no matter how mechanised we become (under the pretext of modernization),
ultimately its all about human beings.

This article presents a story of two generations and it certainly
is an inspiration for the next generation of our daughter Sara.

Thank you ACS and C&EN for Writing such inspirational stories.

Undoubtedly,High impact!!
Maureen Rouhi (June 19, 2013 3:49 PM)
Thank you for your comments, Anjira. It was my great pleasure to meet Swapnil and Rowhan. And I have a picture of your daughter Sara, too.

With best wishes,
Abhijeet Tamhane (June 19, 2013 3:24 AM)
Dear Dr.Moureen,

I am delighted to read this article especially because, having studied along with Swapniel during Engineering I have seen him reach the lowest possible point to this level of being recognized by an esteemed magazine.

Nevertheless he still has a long way to go and he will get there and beyond all expectations.

Thanks for spotting and highlighting this gem of a person to the world..
Maureen Rouhi (June 20, 2013 8:36 AM)
Dear Abhijeet,

My work gives me many opportunities to meet people with interesting stories to tell. I was fortunate to encounter Swapnil and Rohan.

Dr Jirimali (June 19, 2013 3:57 AM)
Article is really inspiring ...Swapnil and Rohal boths are passionate about science they are doing excellent in their research and proving that they have a great background ...thay will definitely make some history,.. All the Best Ambade Bandhu
Amol Mhetre (June 19, 2013 4:45 AM)
Really getting inspiration !!!
All the best my dear friends Swapnil & Rohan .

Vinayak R Marathe (June 19, 2013 7:14 AM)
I am college mate of Balasaheb Ambade. I recall the efforts Balasaheb had taken to first time publish college magzine "LOTUS". He had strived hard to ensure this magzine will have all high quality technical articles.
He is a passionate reader and has lot of interest in technno social activities.
I am happy to see that his both son are in the same profession and have inherited all great qualities from Balasaheb.
I am very proud to see the recognition to the family for their efforts in C&EN
I wish speedy recovery to Balasaheb!
Maureen Rouhi (June 20, 2013 8:37 AM)
Indeed, we wish Balasaheb speedy recovery.
Deepak J Tanna (June 19, 2013 12:09 PM)
Credit Goes to all Father and both the Son . Good Tuning , Harmony and Bonding . It is proud and inspiration moment for all generation .

Go-Woon Lee (June 19, 2013 10:01 PM)
This story made a deep impression. This article helps me to understand how can be a man with an inquiring mind and intellectual prowess, just like this brothers. I have lots of things to learn. Proud of Swapnil B. and very happy to be his friend. I wish their happiness from my heart.
Aditee Joshi (June 20, 2013 12:26 PM)
Inspiring story! Congrats and best wishes to the Ambade family
Swapnil B. Ambade (June 21, 2013 1:11 AM)
This article is so well written, courtesy, editor-in-chief, Dr. Maureen Rouhi. She is one of the finest human beings I ever have come across.

What makes ACS so unique is the fact that it not only presents wonderful science but touches people's lives in many ways. Today it touched mine and I am sure they continue to do it for infinite number of humans, almost every moment.

Thank you ACS and kudos to C&EN. The love affair with ACS only intensifies with this.....

Dedicated to every DAD in the world.
Vivek Yelmame (June 22, 2013 8:32 AM)
Fantastic!!!may god give you more strength & courage to follow the route your father shown. Being Swapnil's fellow mate I had an opportunity to meet Mr Ambade. Always been a great personality. Good work both of you brothers.
Kiran chug (June 22, 2013 1:22 PM)
Congratz!!!! God bless u hard working ppl :) All d best!!!!
Prakash Bachchuwar (June 24, 2013 5:12 AM)
I am a class mate of Balasaheb Ambade in Chemical Engineering at LIT, Nagpur. I remember him in helping others during that days and always smiling. I am sure that his both Sons will take up this Family Business to next level of success. I wish Balasaheb for his Speedy Recovery and all the best to his family members.
Dr. Pranabesh Dutta (June 30, 2013 11:10 PM)
I appreciate Dr. Maureen for publishing such a wonderful and inspirational article in C&EN. Being closely associated with Ambade brothers over the years, I was quite fortunate to hear personally how their parents have always motivated them to become distinguished Engineers. Today, it gives me immense pleasure to read the same through C&EN and I strongly believe this article will definitely motivate others to follow. So, thanks once again to Dr. Maureen for covering lives of Ambade family in magazine like C&EN, which has high repute.
Maureen Rouhi (July 3, 2013 12:27 AM)
It was a privilege for me to write about the Ambades.
Clera Mascsrenhas (July 1, 2013 1:43 AM)
It is truly an inspiring story. All the best for the future....
Sulakshana Doiphode (July 1, 2013 5:12 AM)
Dear Swapneil & Rohan, great to see Kaka and both of you on such reputed C&EN magazine..Really feel proud of you both.
Dr. Anil Ghule (July 5, 2013 1:30 AM)
Dear Swapneil and Rohan..good article. I know your potentials and you guys will certainly make it. Best wishes from our family.
sukanya (July 13, 2013 7:24 AM)
U both have proved that great hopes make great men!
Shveta Mahale (July 18, 2013 2:03 PM)
Like a crystal clear diamond there is no doubt that ...the
Ambade family members will always be touching new heights.
Feels proud that we are also the part of such a great family.
Thanks to god for introducing a family that has proven an asset
to the country....cngrats 4rm all of us,....LUV U ALL....^^^
Dhanwantari Kadam (August 8, 2013 2:43 AM)
Hearty Congrats dear Swapnil and Rohan. Wishes to uncle too.
We are really proud of you both. You have proved that you are the gems.
This is not only the honour for you but for we all too.
Keep up the good work.
All the very best for your future.
Pramod Nehul (October 22, 2013 9:51 AM)
we really proud of you duo; keep it up! best wishes for Future.
Swapnil B. Ambade (November 14, 2013 8:32 PM)
Thank you Pramod Ji.
Malarvizhi Gurusamy (December 4, 2014 2:34 AM)
inspiring one,very nice!!!!!!!!!!. All the very best.
Anjali Bangal Mane (January 29, 2016 3:53 AM)
Very motivational! Great job done by Rohan and swapnil.Keep it up.
Dr. Swapnil B. Ambade (March 17, 2016 5:35 AM)
Thank you for your encouraging words Mrs. Anjali. I am so glad that you followed this article even after 3 years of its publishing.
Shivraj Nile (June 23, 2017 5:45 AM)
Scientifically sound and informative work by Rohan and Swapnil.. many congratulations.. keep going for development of good research for society.
Dr. Bhavana Joshi (June 23, 2017 8:12 AM)
Really amazing to know.... its really inspiring family.... may god bless uncle with speedy recovery... and Best wishes to Ambade brothers... god bless you with all success in life and science....
The article is so well written. Nice to know about such inspirational articles from ACS....

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment