Raja Ramanna obtained PhD (1948) from University of London, UK; DSc (hc) from several universities; and also Honorary Degree of Desikotama (DLitt) from Visva Bharati. He held key positions as Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (1972-78 and 1981-83); Scientific Adviser to Minister of Defence and Director-General, Defence Research and Development Organization, and Secretary, Government of India, for Defence Research (1978-81); Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Atomic Energy (1983-87); Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Campus, Bangalore (1987-90), and Chairman, Governing Council, IISc, Bangalore.
Academic and Research Achievements: Ramanna’s significant research achievements were in the field of design and commissioning of research reactors; experimental and theoretical investigations of neutron thermalization and neutron scattering; investigations on fission, including a stochastic theory of the fission process, a geometric theory of atomic and nuclear structure, nuclear exploration for civilian applications; planning accelerator programmes, fast-reactor development and defence-oriented research programmes. More specifically, he collaborated in the design, installation and commissioning of the research reactors Apsara and Cirus and the variable energy cyclotron at Kolkata and fast-breeder test reactor at Kalpakkam. He led the group which was responsible for the nuclear explosion (Pokharan, 1974) aimed at exploiting the atom for socio-economic uses. He has written the autobiography Years of Pilgrimage (1991), and also the book The Structure of Music in Raga and Western Systems (1993).
Other Contributions: Ramanna grappled with the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics and also pursued his lifelong interest in Music, exploring the structure of music. He was also Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet; and Scientific Advisory Committee, IAEA, Vienna; and of several other national and international scientific policy-making bodies.
Awards and Honours: Dr Ramanna was recipient of numerous awards, notably SS Bhatnagar Prize (1963); Meghnad Saha Medal by INSA (1984); Pandit Jawaharlal Medal by Madhya Pradesh Government (1983); Om Prakash Bhasin Award (1985); RD Birla Memorial Award by Indian Physics Association (1985-86); Rajoyotsava State Award by Karnataka Government; President, 30th General Conference, IAEA; Padma Shree (1968); Padma Bhushan (1973); and Padma Vibhushan (1975). Notable Lectureships won by him were: Meghnad Saha Memorial Lecture (1984) and Shri Ram Memorial Lecture by Shri Ram Institute for Industrial Research (1985). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (Vice President, 1977-78) and Indian Society of Engineers; President, Indian Physics Association; Honorary Fellow, IISc and TIFR; and President, INSA (1977-78). Being Rajya Sabha Member (1990-92), he was made Minister of State for Defence (1990).