Prof. Chintamani Nagesa
Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as CNR Rao is a leading Indian
scientist in the field of solid state and materials chemistry. His
major area of research comprises transition metal oxides and other
extended inorganic solids, inorganic-organic hybrid
materials, nanomaterials and generation of hydrogen by
photocatalysis. His latest works include research on the new wonder
material graphene and artificial photosynthesis.
In the last thirty years or so,
the subject of solid state chemistry has been transformed into materials
chemistry by absorbing various features of modern chemical science. The
materials investigated by chemists are no longer limited to inorganic materials
but include a variety of organic materials. Synthesis has become a major aspect
of materials chemistry, with a variety of chemical strategies, soft chemical
approaches, in particular, being employed. Studies of structure, properties,
phenomena and relating structure to properties are important aspects of
Speaking to CSP, Prof Rao says that in basic nanoscience, India is
amongst the top four countries and there are a few individuals who have made significant
contributions in their areas of work and have gained a good reputation. While
he does say that he has become wary of rankings, he remarks IISc is ranked high
in India and JNCASR is ranked 7 in the world.
Rao is known to be forthright about his views on science funding and research.
He says, “it is not correct to say that a lot of funds have been provided for
research. Research of the kind we do in
educational institutions requires much more, if our infrastructure and
facilities have to be world-class. Do
not forget that we spend less than 1% of GDP on science. We have to work on
important problems and become more competitive.
We have to work hard. We have
to contribute very much more in terms of quantity and do much much better in terms of quality”
about youngsters going abroad to work and study and whether IISc has helped to
retain young talent in science, Prof Rao says “many young people are coming
back. We have to provide good places to
work. Also, we should create a better
environment for doing good science. Bangalore has the largest number of
well-known institutions and IISc is the oldest research institute of
India. It used to be a nice place to
live in. I cannot say that we offer anything special. The more important thing
is that we should work in our motherland and contribute to its growth and
Known for his vast publication
records, Prof. Rao has contributed 1600 research publications and
authored 51 books. He is the first Indian scientist to cross the
H index of 100 - an author-level metric that attempts to measure both
the productivity and citation impact of the publications of a
scientist. Prof. Rao is one of the few scientists across the world having
nearly 1 lakh citations for research publications.
In his research career of five decades, Prof. Rao had served at many national and international institutions in various capacities. In addition to receiving numerous national and international recognitions and awards, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna - the highest civilian award in India, in 2014.