Chintamani Nagesa Ramchandra Rao received MSc from Banaras Hindu University, PhD from Purdue University, and DSc from Mysore University. He has received the Doctorate (honoris causa) from 46 universities including Purdue, Bordeaux, Banaras, Delhi, Mysore, IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Novosibirsk, Oxford, Stellenbosch, Uppsala, Wales, Wroclaw, Caen, Khartoum, Calcutta, Sri Venkateswara University and Desikottama from Visva-Bharati. A renowned scientist, in addition to holding numerous Visiting/Honorary/Research professorships, he has been Professor of Chemistry, IIT Kanpur (Head of Department and later Dean of Research of the Institute also) (1963-76); Jawaharlal Nehru Professor, University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow, King's College, Cambridge (1983-84); Founder Chairman, Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit and Materials Research Laboratory, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore (1977-84); Director, IISc (1984-94); and President, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) (1989-99). He is the National Research Professor as well as Honorary President and Linus Pauling Research Professor at JNCASR; and Honorary Professor, IISc.
Academic and Research Achievements: Although Rao started his career working on spectra and structure of molecules, his research interests have slowly moved almost entirely to solid-state and materials chemistry, surface science and related areas. In solid-state and materials chemistry, his present interests are mainly in phenomena and properties exhibited by transition metal oxide systems, including high temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance and metal-insulation transitions. Synthesis and characterization of designer solids with novel structures and properties is another important area of interest. Efforts to make nanoparticles and nanoparticle assemblies, open framework structures and porous solids are underway. Structural tools, specially those involving various spectroscopies and X-ray crystallography, are heavily employed. Interests in surface spectroscopy include study of model surfaces, metal clusters and so on. The research group of Professor Rao has around 20 members, besides several colleagues with whom he collaborates. He is an author of over 1400 research papers and 41 books.
Other Contributions: Professor Rao has been Member of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and Chairman, Indo-Japan Science Council. He is Founder-President of both the Chemical Research Society of India and the Materials Research Society of India. He was President INSA (1985-86), Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1989-91), International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (1985-97), Indian Science Congress Association (1987-88), and Chairman, CSIR Advisory Board. He has been Chairman, Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, immediate past President of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and Albert Einstein Research Professor (1995-99). He has been on the Editorial boards of several leading professional journals.
Awards and Honours: Among the various medals, honours and awards received by him, mention must be made of the Marlow Medal of the Faraday Society (1967), Bhatnagar Prize (1968), Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1973), Padma Shri (1974), Centennial Foreign Fellowship of the American Chemical Society (1976), SN Bose Medal (1980), Royal Society of Chemistry (London) Medal (1981), Padma Vibhushan (1985), Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London (1989), Hevrovsky Gold Medal of the Czechoslovak Academy (1989), Blackett Lectureship of the Royal Society (1991), Einstein Gold Medal of Unesco (1996), Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London (2000), Hughes Medal of the Royal Society, London for Original Discovery in Physical Sciences (2000), Karnataka Ratna by the Karnataka Government (2001), Gauss Professorship of Germany (2003) and the Somiya Award of the International Union of Materials Research (2004). He is the first recipient of the India Science Award by the Government of India (2005) and received the Dan David Prize for science in the future dimension for his research in Materials Science. He received the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics, London (2006) and Honorary Fellowship of St Catherine's College, Oxford (2007). He received the Nikkei Asia Prize for Science, Technology and Innovation (2008 replica watches) and he is also Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley. Professor Rao is a member of all the major science academies in the world including the Royal Society, London, the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the Russian Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, Japan Academy as well as the Polish, Czechoslovakian, Serbian, Slovenian, Brazil, Spanish, Korean and African Academies and the American Philosophical Society. He is a Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Foreign Member of Academia Europaea and Foreign Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.