Rao gets Bharat Ratna - The New Indian Express

Rao gets Bharat Ratna

Published: 17th November 2013 07:52 AM

Last Updated: 17th November 2013 07:52 AM

Prof C N R Rao, the authority on solid state chemistry just nominated for the Bharat Ratna, has received the highest number of citations for any contemporary Indian scientist.

He enjoys an H-index of more than 108, while most of his contemporaries have an H-index about 100. His papers have been cited 58,000 times.’H-index’ is short for the Hirsch index, described as “probably the most interesting measure provided in scientometrics in recent years, based on the number of papers and their citations.”

Rao recently told Express, “It is a new metrics that talks about the impact of a person on research.”

Rao is 80, but he is so active you can’t guess his age. Prof DD Sarma, chairman of the solid state and structural chemistry unit at the Indian Institute of Science, was delighted when he heard Rao had won the title.

“It is a fantastic achievement, and it should have come long ago. I completed my PhD under him, and he is the founder of our department,” he told Express. “Rao transformed IISc when he was its director.”

Promoting Nanoscience, Rao has been instrumental in making Bangalore Nano, an annual nanoscience event, a successful link between scientists, industry and academia.

On India’s Mars mission, Rao had said, “It is a matter of national pride. `450 crore is not a very big amount for India as we spend much more as a nation just buying crackers for Diwali.”

Rao has immense regard for poet Rabindranath Tagore, scientist JC Bose and students from Bengal. He was instrumental in inviting a group of faculty and students from Sangeet Bhaban, Viswa Bharati, Santi Niketan, to mark 100 years of the first Nobel Prize in Asia given to Tagore.

CNR Rao was born in Bangalore to Hanumantha Nagesa Rao and Nagamma Nagesa Rao. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Mysore University in 1951, and went on to do his master’s from the Indian Institute of Technology (Benaras Hindu University) two years later, and got his Ph D in 1958 from Purdue University.

Rao is currently the national research professor, Linus Pauling research professor, and honorary president of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore.

Rao was appointed chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister in January 2005, a position 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 at 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 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.

Rao was awarded the Dan David Prize in 2005, by the Dan David Foundation, Tel Aviv University, which he shared with George Whitesides and Robert Langer.

In 2005, he was conferred the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by France, awarded by the French government. He has also received the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan and the Karnataka Ratna awards.

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