From Our Archives

Dr. Raja Ramanna

28 January 1925 - 24 September 2004

Piano Recitals
The first director of NIAS, Dr. Ramanna came on board before there was even a brick-and-mortar presence established, and over the course of a decade, from 1987 to 1997 led the charge to make JRD Tata’s dream a reality. Dr. Ramanna, an eminent scientist, was the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission before coming to NIAS. He was also Chairman, Governing Council, Indian Institute of Science, and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. He was made Union Minister of State for Defence by Mr. V.P. Singh’s Government for a short time of 11 months during which time Prof. C.N.R. Rao (then Director, Indian Institute of Science) consented to be NIAS’s Honorary Director. Dr. Ramanna was a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) from August 1997 to August 2003. He was also a member of the first National Security Advisory Board (NSAB). Dr. Ramanna’s published works include innumerable scientific papers in national and international journals


Dr. Ramanna’s work at NIAS included setting up the curriculum and overseeing the establishment of the NIAS campus at IISc. His efforts led to the first building coming up in 1990 and the auditorium in 1997 in keeping with JRD’s vision for the Institute. He ensured that the Institute offered both inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies and research that would benefit society. Along with Prof. Kapur, he planned and organised the first courses conducted by NIAS, which covered a wide spectrum of topics under the theme of ‘Integrated Approach to Knowledge and Information’. Inviting distinguished speakers from many fields to deliver talks, those early courses were held at different venues. Indeed, Dr. Ramanna was the reason that so many of distinguished speakers came to NIAS later on as both short-term and long-term visiting professors. His thinking and contributions to making NIAS what it is today are immeasurable. He wrote extensively on his special interests of philosophy and music. He was also an accomplished pianist. Even after retiring from his position as Director, he was a regular at NIAS providing valuable guidance until his passing away.


The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Memorial Award, the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan, the Meghnad Saha Medal, the Om Prakash Bhasin Award and the Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award for 1996-1997 instituted by the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of science.