Gem of a Scientist


The Indian government conferred its highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on eminent chemical scientist, C.N.R. Rao.

  • When and where was he born?
    Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao was born in Bangalore on June 30, 1934.
    From a young age, he became interested in science, especially after Nobel Laureate C.V. Raman visited his school. After reading The Nature of the Chemical Bond, a book written by Linus Pauling (founder of molecular biology and quantum chemistry), he decided that he would take up chemistry.
  • What is his area of research?
    Rao started with spectroscopy before becoming interested in materials sciences and superconductivity. Currently, he is concentrating on nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes and graphene being his key areas of research.
  • Which institutions is he associated with?
    In 1963, he returned from the US after completing his PhD and joined the faculty of IIT Kanpur. He later headed the Indian Institute of Science for ten years. Subsequently, he founded two institutions to promote scientific research – Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research and the International Centre for Materials Science. He is
    presently the Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council.
  • What books has he written?
    Rao has over 1500 research papers and 45 books to his credit. He has also authored popular books on chemistry and nanotechnology for children. His autobiography is titled Climbing the Limitless Ladder.
  • What are his other interests?
    He is avidly interested in Indian classical music and also dabbles in cooking.