Rao, priest of pure science, detests Bangalore’s 'IT Craze' - The New Indian Express

Rao, priest of pure science, detests Bangalore’s 'IT Craze'

Published: 17th November 2013 07:52 AM

Last Updated: 17th November 2013 07:52 AM

Though Prof CNR Rao, the world-renowned chemist, and Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketing legend, were nominated for the Bharat Ratna on the same day, they share little in common.

A press release from the Government of India describes Rao as an eminent scientist and Sachin as an eminent sportsperson, a banal description of both the geniuses.

Scientists don’t retire like cricketers. Sachin got the country’s highest civilian honour the day he retired. Rao is active at 80. Once a scientist, always a scientist!

Science is not flamboyant like cricket. Scientists spend most of their life in unglamorous environments, away from the limelight and cheering crowds.

After engineering genius Sir M Visvesvaraya and maestro Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Rao is the third Kannada speaker to be conferred the Bharat Ratna. Sachin is the sixth Maharashtrian to win the honour.

Rao is a star among scientists. His pathbreaking work in nanoscience is known widely, as is his aversion to Information Technology .

Rao is an admirer of Bangalore’s science environment. He feels ‘undue’ importance given to IT has killed other forms of science, especially pure science.

Rao had little regard for Bangalore’s IT heroes. Rao said, “Our society has created a bunch of icons and role models who are distorting not just the future of this city but of all India and of our sense of values. Money and commerce has taken over.”

Rao has been pushing for more funding for scientific research in India. Even at 80, he attends seminars and symposiums. According to the people close to him, he works for 16 hours a day.

Born in Bangalore in 1934, Rao has received more than 40 honorary doctorates from various universities across the world. A world authority on structural chemistry, Rao has taught at IIT-Kanpur, IISc, Oxford, Cambridge and the University of California.

He is also among the foremost solid state and materials chemists in the world.  His name has been nominated for the Nobel Award in chemistry several times.  Undoubtedly, Rao is one of the greatest scientists of our times.

(The author is Senior Editor, CNN-IBN).

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