Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao — When eleven-year-old C. N. R. Rao and his classmates did very well in science, their teacher took them to meet the Noble prize winner, C. V. Raman. For three hours Raman talked to them on physics and he also showed them his laboratory and equipment.
This visit had a lasting impression on Rao. He felt that science was fascinating. Besides, his parents encouraged him to take up science. His father used to talk to the boy about great scientists and their discoveries. So from his early childhood Rao was keen to become a scientist and do research.
Even today the continues to do research in his laboratory at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. In recognition of his contributions to chemistry, he has received several honours and awards. In 1982, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao was born on June 30, 1934. He had his basic education in Bangalore before joining Banaras Hindu University for his M.Sc. He then went to Purdue University in the USA for his Ph.D. There he worked on various aspects of spectroscopy under Noble Laureate H. C. Brown.
His research work is mostly confined to “solid state chemistry”. Using various sophisticated tools of spectroscopy, Rao has tried to understand the inner structure of solids. These studies help in creating totally new types of solids with entirely new properties for use in industries. Besides, he has studied various phenomena occurring in solids at a microscopic level. For such studies he has built his own laboratory at the institute.
“Actually, doing science, rather than the results, is more exciting,” says Rao.