C. N. R. Rao bigraphy, stories - Chemists

C. N. R. Rao : biography

June 30, 1934 -

Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao, 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 is currently the National Research Professor and Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India. He is the founding President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. 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).

Earlier, he served as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur from 1963 to 1976 and as the Director of the Indian Institute of Science 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 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. He is the author of around 1500 research papers. He has authored and edited 45 books.

Rao serves on the board of the Science Initiative Group.

Early life and education

CNR Rao was born in Bangalore of father Hanumantha Nagesa Rao, and mother Nagamma Nagesa Rao. He obtained his bachelors degree from Mysore University in 1951, obtaining a masters from Banaras Hindu University two years later, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1958 from Purdue University. In 1961 he received DSc from Mysore University. He joined the faculty of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1963. He has received Honorary Doctorates from many Universities such as Bordeaux, Caen, Colorado, Khartoum, Liverpool, Northwestern, Novosibirsk, Oxford, Purdue, Stellenbosch, Universite Joseph Fourier, Wales, Wroclaw, Notre Dame, Uppsala, Aligarh Muslim, Anna, Andhra, Banaras, Bengal Engineering, Bangalore, Burdwan, Bundelkhand, Delhi, Hyderabad, IGNOU, IIT-Bombay, Kharagpur, and Delhi, JNTU, Kalyani, Karnataka, Kolkata, Kuvempu, Lucknow, Mangalore, Manipur, Mysore, Osmania, Punjab, Roorkee, Sikkim Manipal, SRM, Tumkur, Sri Venkateswara, Vidyasagar, and Visveswaraya Technological University.


He was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society in 2000, and he became the first recipient of the India Science Award, instituted by the Government of India, for his contributions to solid state chemistry and materials science, awarded in 2004.

He has won several international prizes and is a member of many of the world's scientific associations, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society (London; FRS, 1982), French Academy, Japanese Academy, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Pontifical Academy.

He was awarded Dan David Prize in 2005,. Hinduonnet.com (2005-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-03-13. by the Dan David Foundation, Tel Aviv University, which he shared with George Whitesides and Robert Langer. In 2005, he was conferred the title Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by France, awarded by the French Government. He had also been given the honours Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government and Karnataka Ratna by the Karnataka state government. He is a foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Calcutta in 2004.. Caluniv.ac.in. Retrieved on 2012-03-13.

Dr Rao has also been conferred with China's top science award for his important contributions in boosting Sino-India scientific cooperation. Retrieved on 2013-01-24 The award was given by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in January 2013, which is China's top academic and research institution for natural sciences.


He has been accused of indulging and allowing plagiarism. In December 2011, C. N. R. Rao apologized 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 Prof. 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 C.N.R. Rao offered to withdraw the article from the journal, but the editor let the publication stay as it is. C.N.R. Rao claimed to have never indulged in plagiarism. Later few more instances of plagiarism by Prof. Rao and his collaborators were reported. Prof Rao was criticised by an Indian scientist for these incidents and passing the responsibility to the junior scientists. It was argued that it was unethical from Prof Rao to claim correspondent authorship in an article in which according to Prof Rao himself, he has no significant role.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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