Vedharaman Rajamani earned his BSc (1966) from Madras University and MSc (1969) in Applied Geology from IIT, Bombay. He then moved to the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he earned his MS (1972) and PhD (1974) in Geochemistry. His PhD research, carried out under the guidance of Professor CT Prewitt, was on 'chemical bonding and crystal chemistry of transition metals bearing sulphide and silicate minerals'. Subsequently, he worked with Professor AJ Naldrett at the University of Toronto on 'experimentally modeling the geochemistry of magmatic sulphide deposits associated with ultramafic and mafic igneous rocks'. Rajamani joined Faculty of the School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1977 and developed postgraduate teaching programs in environmental sciences for the School.
Academic and Research Achievements: Rajamani undertook an integrated geological research in the area around the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), and showed that Plate Tectonic processes started operating on earth right from 2700 Ma as KGF represents a suture between discrete continental terrains. This finding, published in Science journal, caught the attention of international geological community for whom a field trip around KGF was organized in 1988. He also came up with the interesting suggestion through geochemical modeling that ultramafic melts could be generated by very low percentages of partial melting of a fertile mantle and that melt addition before melt extraction is a common mantle process. After 1998, he shifted his research to understand farmland forming denudational processes taking the Cauvery River basin as an example. His research showed that fertile sediments of floodplains and deltas are produced in river catchments by rapid erosion of physically disintegrated rocks and that the presence of mafic lithology in the catchment accelerates the denudational process. He also guided 20 students for their PhD.
Other Contributions: To bring out the seminal importance of the shallow subsurface in development and in sustenance of life system on earth, Professor Rajamani initiated research activities involving multidisciplinary and multi-institutional groups to study alluvial plains and deltas in India (the DST's SSS program). Possible geological and ecological consequences of the proposed gigaproject of "interlinking of Indian Rivers" were brought to the knowledge of general public and scientists by his articles.
Awards and Honours: Professor Rajamani was awarded by Mineralogical Society of America (1974) and Geological Society of India (1990 and 1996). He was also elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1990).