Atma Ram earned his DSc degree (1936) from the University of Allahabad; and DSc (hc) from the Lenin Soviet Technological Institute, USSR. His areas of specialization were photochemistry, glass and ceramic technology. He was Planning Officer (1945-49), Joint Director (1942-52), Director (1952-66), Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata; and Director-General, CSIR, and Secretary to the Government of India (1966).
Academic and Research Achievements: Atma Ram did extensive research on photochemical reactions. He was responsible for a comprehensive all-India survey of glass and ceramic raw materials, which established the then unknown sources of high-grade raw materials within the country for use in place of imported ones. Of the many industrially productive researches he and his colleagues carried out, mention may be made of the substitution of selenium (imported) by copper to produce ruby red glass, which goes into the production of bangles. Atma Ram established the technology and production of optical glass in the country, rated then as one of the landmark contributions of applied science in India. Another important contribution he made was the process for the production of highly homogeneous, optically clear and corrosion-resistant lead glass sheets, blocks and slabs for nuclear reactors.
Other Contributions: Atma Ram was largely responsible for indigenization of Indian industry, especially in relation to glass and ceramic products. He had an unwavering focus on the application of research results. He also served as Chairman, National Committee on Science & Technology and Principal Advisor to the Prime Minister and the Union Cabinet.
Awards and Honours: Atma Ram was the first recipient of SS Bhatnagar Medal of INSA (1959). He received All India Glass Manufacturers Federation's Plaque of Honour (1964) and was the President of Indian Science Congress (1967-68). He was a Fellow of Institution of Metals (sometime President); Indian Ceramic Society (sometime President); President, Institution of Chemists (India); and President of INSA (1969-70).