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Professor C N R Rao

When Prof. C N R Rao received the prestigious 2005 Dan David Prize for material science on May 23, 2005, he made India proud. This is the highest honour an Indian scientist has received in the last 70 years since C V Raman’s Nobel Prize. The Dan David Foundation, Tel Aviv University annually recognizes achievements that impact the world. Prof. Rao received this award for materials science in the Future Time Dimensions. He shares the million dollar award with Robert Langer of MIT and George Whitesides of Harvard University.

Coming from a humble background, Prof. Rao has over fifty years of research behind him and awards galore. He has been awarded Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan by the President of India (in 1974 and 1985 respectively) recognizing his overall contributions to science. Karnataka Ratna, the highest honour of the State of Karnataka was conferred upon him in 2001.

He got his M.Sc. degree in 1953 from the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Thereafter, he worked in the reputed laboratories in the U.S. (Purdue and Berkeley), obtaining a Ph.D. in just two years and nine months (1957).

“He borrowed money to buy a new suit for his Ph.D. interview at Purdue University and today, his books are studied by students worldwide.” R V Hosur, Chairman, Chemical Sciences Department, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

Prof. Rao has published over 1200 research papers and 37 books. He is a Member of the Editorial Boards of several International journals dealing with Chemical Physics, Spectroscopy and Solid State Chemistry.

He is the first one to enter his lab at Futuristic materials science laboratories, there are no weekends, no holidays only dedication to his work. “I’ll continue to work as long as I can. No retirement,” says the 71 year old scientist.

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