Stint in US opened up opportunities: CNR

Stint in US opened up opportunities: CNR

“Science has given me much. I wonder if I have given as much to science.”

This concluding quote of a well-received felicitation speech of CNR Rao on Sunday at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was one of the many memorable lines that lingered on in the hearts and minds of all those present at the ceremony — professors, students and well-wishers. 

Throughout the half an hour that Rao spoke, he highlighted various concerns and talked about a number of observations that he had made in his 62 years as a practitioner and propagator of science.

Rao highlighted the sad state of affairs of science in the country at the time he found his “real feet” in science. That was when he went to Purdue University in the United States.

“In the United States, I had the freedom and opportunity to develop myself. H C Brown taught me to be independent. They encouraged me to publish a number of papers during this time. This, however, would not have happened in India,” said Rao.

Taking the example of J C Bose who, according to him, was the “first potential Nobel laureate” from the country, he spoke of his admiration of scientists who tirelessly pursue their work till their last breath.

“Those who pursue science, don’t care for recognition. Recognitions come, they accept it and forget it as well,” said Rao.

He highlighted his concerns about the youth and how there was a need to do much for them and their future.

While asking those who pursue science not to compromise their single-mindedness and doggedness in pursuing their fields, he advised them to also imbibe a sense of humour. “If everything is said too seriously, people will tend to take it the wrong way,” said Rao.

A galaxy of scientists and eminent science luminaries who know Rao shared a number of anecdotes and their experiences with him.

Describing Rao as a “dynamo”, Prof Roddam Narasimha, director, NAL, talked about how despite having been schoolmates at Acharya Pathashala, Basavanagudi, they were not “chaddi buddies”. He, however, highlighted the common inspiration they found in their chemistry teacher to pursue science.

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