While the entire nation was engulfed in the hullabaloo of one Bharat Ratna Awardee, another eminent figure was given due recognition for 50 year of perseverance and struggle to thrive and take the nation to the pinnacles of success in the field of science.
Meet Prof. Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao also known as C.N.R. Rao, born in Bangalore in the year 1934. He is one of the foremost scientists of our era who has worked eminently in the fields of solid state and structural chemistry being only the third scientist after Nobel Laureate and Physicist Sir C V Raman and missile scientist and technologist Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
Already a Padma Shri (1974) and Padma Vibhushan (1985) as well as the Karnataka Ratna , Prof. Rao was in Trivandrum when he was conferred the news of Bharat Ratna and he showed mild surprise and confirmed the news when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh congratulated him in person.
His pioneering work in Chemistry
His work includes prolific research in the fields of nanotechnology and material science. The development in nanotechnology holds immense possibilities for all future devices. CNT (Carbon nanotubes) and Graphene are a key area of his research work. The impact that his research in graphene and CNT has on devices could catapult in near future. Graphene could find applications in a huge range of areas; from biology to energy storage. Such studies have had a profound impact in application fields such as colossal magneto resistance and high temperature superconductivity. All these contributions definitely brand him the colossus in the field of chemistry.
Besides his research exploits it a widely known fact that Prof .CNR Rao is easily the most decorated scientist of our generation being awarded with as many as 60 doctorates from Indian as well as international universities. Currently he heads the scientific advisory committee of India. In addition he holds multiple posts currently being 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.
Authoring about 1500 research papers, co-authored 45 books. Rao has made significant contributions in the field of chemistry. Besides research he also gives equal importance to teaching. Even at the age of 79 he focuses on the basic research in his chosen fields; physical and structural chemistry, and material science and engages his students in his lab and classrooms, guides PhD students, and publishes research papers in international journals.
What sets him apart from his contemporaries is that he has chosen to stay away from the temptation of becoming a science-bureaucrat in Delhi like many other scientists. And instead focused on research and teaching. “Hogging the limelight is not always what makes you big, it’s hard work and perseverance that will take you to the pinnacles of success.”
Prof. Rao is an inspiration to all the budding scientists in India and the highest civilian award vested on him is surely the fire that will ignite many more scientists who will propel their limits to pursue their dreams and make their nation proud.
Mahesh Yadav adds;
According to the official website, Prof Rao has achieved about dozens of national and international awards which includes a “Chemical Pioneer” award by the American Institute of Chemists in 2005. Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao has worked mainly on Structural and Solid State Chemistry which deals with materials having a definite shape and volume connecting it to lattice arrangement structures and other beautiful concepts on organic chemistry. He used his knowledge of chemistry to teach students at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur during the years of 1967 and currently he is the Head of Scientific Advisory council to the Prime Minister of India.
Prof Rao’s work on transition metal oxides has provided better understanding of relationship between the properties and structural chemistry of materials. His scientific acumen has been acknowledged by the Royal Society conferring upon him the post nominal title “FRS”. Hiding behind the curtains of science, this man has earned so much respect in the scientific community that an award like the Bharat Ratna can only open our eyes to his achievements.
Science is beyond the understanding of common people in India. Not many would know about his findings in synthesis of two dimensional oxides or his study of compositionally controlled metal-insulator transitions. Which makes a career in science harder in India, and excellence in scientific field so deserving of the Bharat Ratna. What Prof Rao has done is to make science attractive to the younger generation of Indians.
The Bharat Ratna might just add up to his stack of awards, engraving his name in the history of Indian Science as the third scientist since CV Raman to be honoured with Bharat Ratna, the second being A.P.J Abdul Kalam for his work on missile technology but it’s clearly justified. Prof Rao would be most deserved human being on the Indian Land and people should know about him.