C. N. R. Rao
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao better known as C.N.R. Rao was born 30th June 1934, He is an Indian chemist whose work was mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He is currently serves as head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. He has authored around 1,500 research papers and 45 scientific books. He has got honorary doctorates from 60 universities from around the world. Rao is a member of all major scientific organisations, and recepient of most of the major scientific awards, The Government of India announced his selection for Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 2013, Making him the third scientist after C.V. Raman and A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to receive the award.
C.N.R. Rao was born in Bangalore in a Kannada family, He did not attend elementary school but was home-tutored by his mother, who was particularly skilled in arithmetic and Hindu literature. He excelled in hindi literature and learned English lessons from his father. Later he attended Acharya Patashala high school in Basavanagudi, which made a lasting influence on his interest in chemistry. His father enrolled him to a Kannada-medium course to encourage his mother tongue, but at home used English for all conversation. He completed secondary school leaving certificate in first class in 1947. He studied BSc at CentralCollege, Bangalore. Here he developed his communication skills in English and also learnt Sanskrit. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Mysore University in the year 1951 with first class at the age of seventeen. It was one of his teacher who persuaded him to join Banaras Hindu University. He obtained a master’s in chemistry from BHU two years later. In the year1953 he was granted a scholarship for PhD in IIT Kharagpur. Four foreign universities – MIT, Penn State, Columbia and Purdue offered him financial support, But he chose Purdue. His first research paper was published in the Agra University Journal of Research in year 1954. In 1958 he completed his PhD.
Rao returned to Bangalore in 1959 and joined IISC as a lecturer. He got a monthly salary of Rs 500. He started his own research with six PhD students. After three years he got permanent appointment in the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, There he was appointed as Head of the department. He worked there from 1963-’76. In 1964, C.V. Raman informed him that he was elected as a fellow of the IndianAcademy of Sciences. In 1976 he returned to IISc to set up a solid state and structural chemistry unit. He became Director of the IISc from 1984-’94. He has also been a visiting professor at PurdueUniversity, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and University of California, Santa Barbara. He was the Jawaharlal Nehru Professor at the University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow at the King’s College, Cambridge during 1983-’84.
Rao is currently the National Research Professor, Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore which he founded in the year 1989. He was appointed Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister in January 2005, a position which he had occupied earlier during 1985–’89. He is also the director of the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS). Rao is one of the world’s foremost solid state and materials chemists. He has contributed to the development of the field over five decades. His work on transition metal oxides has led to basic understanding of novel phenomena and the relationship between materials properties and the structural chemistry of these materials. Rao was one of the earliest to synthesize two-dimensional oxide materials such as La2CuO4. His work has led to a systematic study of compositionally controlled metal-insulator transitions. Such studies have had a profound impact in application fields such as colossal magneto resistance and high temperature superconductivity. Oxide semiconductors have unusual promise. He has made immense contributions to nanomaterials over the last two decades, besides his work on hybrid materials. Rao serves on the board of the Science Initiative Group.
Scientific Awards :
- DSc from MysoreUniversity in 1961
- Marlow Medal by the Faraday Society of England in 1967
- Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology in Chemical Science in 1968
- Yedanapalli Medal and Prize in 1973
- C. V. Raman Award in Physical Science by the University Grants Commission of India in 1975
- S. N. Bose Medal by the IndianNationalScienceAcademy in 1980
- Royal Society of Chemistry (London) Medal in 1981
Member of many of the world’s scientific associations, including the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society (London, 1982), Royal Society of Canada, French Academy, Japanese Academy, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Polish Academy of Sciences, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Serbian Academy of Sciences, Slovenian Academy of Sciences, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of Korea, African Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is also member of the PontificalAcademy and Foreign Member of Academia Europaea.
Honorary doctorates from several universities including Bordeaux, Caen, Colorado, Khartoum, Liverpool, Northwestern, Novosibirsk, Oxford, Purdue, Stellenbosch, Universite Joseph Fourier, Wales, Wroclaw, Notre Dame, Uppsala, Aligarh Muslim, Anna, AP, Banaras, Bengal Engineering, Bangalore, Burdwan, Bundelkhand, Delhi, Hyderabad, IGNOU, IIT Bombay, Kharagpur, Delhi, Patna, JNTU, Kalyani, Karnataka, Kolkata, Kuvempu, Lucknow, Mangalore, Manipur, Mysore, Osmania, Punjab, Roorkee, Sikkim Manipal, SRM, Tumkur, Sri Venkateswara, Vidyasagar, and Visveswaraya Technological University.
- Hevrovsky Gold Medal of the CzechoslovakAcademy of Sciences in 1989
- Meghnath Saha Medal of the IndianNationalScienceAcademy in 1990
- Einstein Gold Medal of UNESCO in 1996
- Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London in 2000
- Hughes Medal by the Royal Society in 2000
- Doctor of Science from University of Calcutta in 2004
- Somiya Award of the International Union of Materials Research in 2004
- India Science Award in 2004
- Dan David Prize from TelAvivUniversity in 2005 he shared with George Whitesides and Robert Langer.
- Foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
- Abdus Salam Medal by The WorldAcademy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2008
- Nikkei Asia Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation, by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc., Japan in 2008
- Royal Medal by the Royal Society in 2009
- August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann Medal by the German Chemical Society in 2010.
- Ernesto Illy Trieste Science Prize for materials research in 2011
- Award for International Scientific Cooperation from the ChineseAcademy of Sciences in 2013
- Elected honorary foreign member of ChineseAcademy of Sciences in 2013
- Distinguished Academician Award from IIT Patna in 2013.
Indian Governmental Honours :
- Padma Shri in 1974
- Padma Vibhushan in 1985
- Karnataka Ratna by the Karnataka State Government in 2001
- Bharat Ratna in 2014
Foreign Honours :
- Great Cross of the National Order of Scientific Merit from the President of Brazil in 2002
- Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour, France) in 2005
- Order of Friendship by the President of Russia in 2009.