C. N. R. Rao
30 June 1934 |
Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore, British India
|Institutions||Indian Space Research Organization
Indian Institute of Science
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
University of California, Santa Barbara
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
|Alma mater||Mysore University
Banaras Hindu University
|Known for||Solid-state chemistry
|Notable awards||Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology (1969)
Hughes Medal (2000)
India Science Award (2004)
Abdus Salam Medal (2008)
Dan David Prize (2005)
Legion of Honor (2005)
Royal Medal (2009)
Padma Shri (1974)
Padma Vibhushan (1985)
Bharat Ratna (2013)
Order of the Rising Sun (2015)
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao FRS, also known as C.N.R. Rao (born 30 June 1934), is an Indian chemist who has worked mainly in solid-state and structural chemistry. He currently serves as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. Rao has honorary doctorates from 60 universities from around the world. He has authored around 1,500 research papers and 45 scientific books.
On 16 November 2013, the Government of India announced his selection for Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, making him the third scientist after C.V. Raman and A. P. J. Abdul Kalam to receive the award. He was conferred the award on 4 February 2014 by President Pranab Mukherjee in a special ceremony in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Early life and education
C.N.R. Rao was born in Bangalore in a Kannada-based Deshastha Brahmin family family to Hanumantha Nagesa Rao and Nagamma Nagesa Rao. He was an only child, and his learned parents made an academic environment. He was well versed in Hindu literature from his mother and in English from his father at an early age. He did not attend elementary school but was home-tutored by his mother, who was particularly skilled in arithmetic and Hindu literature. He entered middle school in 1940, at age six. Although he was the youngest in his class, he used to tutor his classmates in mathematics and English. He passed lower secondary examination (class VII) in first class in 1944. He was ten years old, and his father rewarded him with four annas (twenty-five paisa). 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 Central College, Bangalore. Here he developed his communication skills in English and also learnt Sanskrit. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Mysore University in 1951, in first class, and only at the age of seventeen. He initially thought of joining Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for a diploma or a postgraduate degree in chemical engineering, but a teacher persuaded him to attend Banaras Hindu University. He obtained a master's in chemistry from BHU two years later. In 1953 he was granted a scholarship for PhD in IIT Kharagpur. But four foreign universities, MIT, Penn State, Columbia and Purdue also offered him financial support. He chose Purdue. His first research paper was published in the Agra University Journal of Research in 1954. He completed PhD in 1958, only after two years and nine months, at age twenty-four.
Rao returned to Bangalore in 1959 to join 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. The Director P.K. Kelkar directly appointed him as Head of the department. He worked there from 1963 to 1976. In 1964, C.V. Raman informed him that he was elected as a fellow of the Indian Academy 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 to 1994. He has also been a visiting professor at Purdue University, 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 1983–1984.
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 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.
Awards and recognition
- DSc from Mysore University 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 Indian National Science Academy 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 Pontifical Academy 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 Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1989
- Meghnath Saha Medal of the Indian National Science Academy 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 Tel Aviv University in 2005 shared with George Whitesides and Robert Langer.
- Foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
- Abdus Salam Medal by The World Academy 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
- 2012 Award for International Scientific Cooperation from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013
- Elected honorary foreign member of Chinese Academy 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
- 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
- Order of the Rising Sun (Gold and Silver Star) of Japan in 2015
Rao is married to Indumati Rao in 1960. They have two children, Sanjay and Suchitra. His son Sanjay Rao is engaged in popularising science in Bangalore's schools. His daughter Suchitra is married to K.M. Ganesh, the director of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Pune, Maharashtra. Rao is quite technophobic. He removed computers from his tables and never checks his email by himself. He also said that he uses the mobile phone only to talk to his wife.
Rao has been accused of indulging and allowing plagiarism. In December 2011, C. N. R. Rao apologised to Advanced Materials – a peer-reviewed journal, for reproducing text of other scientists in his research paper. His collaborator and the other senior author of the paper S. B. Krupanidhi accused a co-author PhD student at IISc for the mistake, "These sentences were part of the introduction of the paper, which was written by our student, that neither of us (namely, the senior authors, Rao and Krupanidhi) paid attention to".
The PhD student took the responsibility for the incident and issued an apology. Later Rao offered to withdraw the article from the journal, but the editor let the publication stay as it is. Rao claimed to have never indulged in plagiarism. Later few more instances of plagiarism by Rao and his collaborators were reported. Rao was criticised by an Indian scientist for these incidents and passing the responsibility to the junior scientists.
On 17 November 2013, at a press conference following the announcement of his Bharat Ratna, he called the Indian politicians "idiots" that caused a national outrage. He said, "Why the hell have these idiots [politicians] given so little to us despite what we have done. For the money that the government has given us we [scientists] have done much more." In his defence Rao insisted that he merely talked about the "idiotic" way the politicians ignore investments for research funding in science.
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- "Sachin, eminent scientist CNR Rao get Bharat Ratna". The Times of India. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Sachin first sportsperson to win country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Bharat Ratna for Prof CNR Rao and Sachin Tendulkar". Prime Minister's Office. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Sachin Tendulkar and CNR Rao conferred Bharat Ratna". The Times of India. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
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- "RAO, Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra". Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
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- Honoris Causa. Caluniv.ac.in. Retrieved 13 March 2012
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- "Dan David Prize". Retrieved 6 May 2008.
- "Abdus Salam Medal". The World Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
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- China's top science award for Dr.C.N. R. Rao. Retrieved 24 January 2013
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- Padma Awards: Yearly Lists of Recipients
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- Pallava Bagla (16 November 2013). "Bharat Ratna awardee CNR Rao: the scientist who finds computers 'distracting'". NDTV. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Basant Chitara, L. S. Panchakarla, S. B. Krupanidhi, C. N. R. Rao (2011). "Infrared Photodetectors Based on Reduced Graphene Oxide and Graphene Nanoribbons". Advanced Materials 23 (45): 5419–5424. doi:10.1002/adma.201101414.
- Basant Chitara, L. S. Panchakarla, S. B. Krupanidhi, C. N. R. Rao (2011). "Apology: Infrared Photodetectors Based on Reduced Graphene Oxide and Graphene Nanoribbons". Advanced Materials 23 (45): 5339. doi:10.1002/adma.201190182.
- "Plagiarism cloud over CNR Rao". Daily News and Analysis. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- K.S. Jayaraman (2012). "Indian science adviser caught up in plagiarism row". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10102.
- "Plagiarism row: Charges shocking,unfair,says Rao". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- "More cases of plagiarism come to light". The Hindu. 11 March 2012.
- "No Science in cut and paste". The Hindu. 9 March 2012.
- "All you need to know about Bharat Ratna awardee CNR Rao". Firstpost.India. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "CNR Rao does damage control after outbursts; Jaipal Reddy agrees with Rao's views on funding". The Times of India. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- C.N.R. Rao (2010). Climbing the Limitless Ladder: A Life in Chemistry. World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., Singapore. ISBN 9814307866
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