Sekharipuram Padmanabhier Venkiteshwaran did his MA from University of Madras, Chennai. He worked as Assistant Meteorologist (1930-43), Meteorologist (1943-53), Director (1953-59) and Deputy-Director General of Observatories (1959-60), India Meteorological Department; Assistant Director, National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore; and Technical Advisor, Radio Refractive Index Project, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai.
Academic and Research Achievements:Venkiteshwaran’s research covered a wide spectrum, from agricultural meteorology to cloud physics, and from climatology to atmospheric electricity, although the thread linking his different fields of interest was instruments and methods of observation. In addition to the design and development of a variety of meteorological instruments, Venkiteshwaran carried out upper atmospheric research. He pioneered the study of atmospheric electricity in the free atmosphere and developed the potential gradient sonde and the conductivity sondes in the early fifties. He also made important contributions to radar studies of rain, for the first time in the country.
Other Contributions:Venkiteshwaran was responsible for the design and development of atmospheric electricity sondes for the measurement of the electric field and electrical conductivity of air and for the first ever measurement of electrical conductivity in the atmosphere using radiosondes. Mr Venkiteshwaran’s lasting achievement is thus the transformation of the instruments repair shop at Pune into a full-fledged meteorological instruments manufacturing and calibrating facility, making India truly independent in all areas of meteorological instrumentation and the traning of persons who could take over from him. Many instruments were also supplied to meteorological services abroad. He served as Member, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (India) and Aeronautical Society of India. He was a member of the national sub-committees on Wind Power, Planning of Crop Schemes and Agriculture Meteorology. He was also Chairman of the Working Group in Agricultural Meteorological Observations of RA-II of WMO.
Awards and Honours:Dr Venkiteshwaran was conferred Meghnad Saha Award (1972) and SK Mitra Award by Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, India (1972). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.