Anna Mani

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Anna Mani
അന്ന മാണി
Anna Mani.jpg
Anna Mani
Born23 August 1918
Died16 August 2001(2001-08-16) (aged 82)
Scientific career
FieldsMeteorology, Physics
InstitutionsIndian Meteorological Department, Pune and Raman Research Institute, Bangalore

Anna Mani (23 August 1918 – 16 August 2001) was an Indian physicist and meteorologist.[1] She retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department and further served as a visiting professor at the Raman Research Institute.[1] She made several contributions to the field of meteorological instrumentation, conducted research and published numerous papers on solar radiation, ozone and wind energy measurements.[2]

Early life[edit]

Anna Modayil Mani was born in 1918 at Peermade, Kerala to an ancient Syrian Christian family.[1][3] Her father was a civil engineer and an agnostic.[1] She was the seventh of eight children in her family. During her childhood, she was a voracious reader.[1] She was impressed by the activities of Gandhi during Vaikom satyagraha. Inspired by the nationalist movement, she took to wearing only khadi garments.

The Mani family was a typical upper-class professional household where from childhood the male children were groomed for high-level careers, whereas the daughters were primed for marriage. But Anna Mani would have none of it. Her formative years were spent engrossed in books. By the age of eight, she had read almost all the books in Malayalam at her public library and, by the time she was twelve, all the books in English. On her eighth birthday she declined to accept her family's customary gift of a set of diamond earrings, opting instead for a set of Encyclopædia Britannica. The world of books opened her to new ideas and imbued in her a deep sense of social justice which informed and shaped her life.


She wanted to pursue dancing, but she decided in favour of physics because she liked the subject. In 1939, she graduated from the Pachaiyappas College in Chennai (then Madras), with a B.Sc Honors degree in physics and chemistry. In 1940, she won a scholarship for research in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In 1945, she went to Imperial College, London to pursue graduate studies in Physics. However, she ended up specialising in meteorological instruments.[4]


After graduating from the Pachai college, she worked under Prof. C V Raman, researching the optical properties of ruby and diamond.[2][5] She authored five research papers and submitted her PhD dissertation, but she was not granted a PhD degree because she did not have a master's degree in physics. After returning to India in 1948, she joined the Meteorological department in Pune. She published numerous research papers on meteorological instrumentation. She was mostly responsible for arranging for meteorological instruments, imported from Britain. By 1953, she had become the head of the division with a 121 men working for her.[6]

Anna Mani wished to make India independent in weather instruments. She standardised the drawings of close to 100 different weather instruments. From 1957-58, she set up a network of stations to measure solar radiation. In Bangalore, she set up a small workshop that manufactured instruments for the purpose of measuring wind speed and solar energy. She worked on the development of an apparatus to measure the ozone. She was made a member of the International Ozone Association. She set up a meteorological observatory and an instrumentation tower at the Thumba rocket launching facility.[4][7]

Deeply dedicated to her work, Anna Mani never married. She was associated with many scientific organizations such as the Indian National Science Academy, American Meteorological Society, International Solar Energy Society, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, etc. In 1987, she was a recipient of the INSA K. R. Ramanathan Medal.

She was transferred to Delhi in 1969 as the Deputy Director General. In 1975, she served as a WMO consultant in Egypt. She retired as the deputy director general of the Indian Meteorological department in 1976.[7]

In 1994 she suffered from a stroke, and died on 16 August 2001 in Thiruvananthapuram.[1]

The World Meteorological Organization remembered her on 100 birth anniversary and published her life profile along with Anna interview. [8]


  • 1992. Wind Energy Resource Survey in India, vv. 2. xi + 22 pp. Ed. Allied Publ. ISBN 8170233585, ISBN 9788170233589
  • 1981. Solar Radiation over India x + 548 pp.[2]
  • 1980. The Handbook for Solar Radiation data for India


  1. ^ a b c d e f Sur, Abha (14 October 2001). "The Life and Times of a Pioneer". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Sur, Abha (2007). Lilavati's daughters: The women scientists of India. Indian Academy of Science. pp. 23–25.
  3. ^ |work=Platinum Jubilee Publishing of INSA|publisher=Indian National science academy|accessdate=7 October 2012}}
  4. ^ a b Gupta, Aravind. "Anna Mani" (PDF). Platinum Jubilee Publishing of INSA. Indian National science academy. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Anna Mani | The Best of Indian Science". Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  6. ^ Ashford, Oliver. "Anna Modayil Mani - A Tribute" (PDF). Indian Institute of Science.
  7. ^ a b "Anna Mani Is One of India's Greatest Woman Scientists. Yet You Probably Haven't Heard Her Story". The Better India. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ Deepshikha, Singh. "WMO Remembers Indian meteorologist Anna Mani". No. Online. ABC Live. Retrieved 25 August 2018.