StemINSPIRE

VENKATRAMAN RADHAKRISHNAN- THE SPACE SCIENTIST

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan was a space scientist who was born on 18th May 1929 in Tondaripet, Madras Presidency, British India and died on 3rd March 2011 in Bangalore, India.

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan- The Space Scientist

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan was a space scientist who was born on 18th May 1929 in Tondaripet, Madras Presidency, British India and died on 3rd March 2011 in Bangalore, India. He served as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has served as a Director of Raman Research Institute from 1972 to 1994.

CAREER AND WORK

His early life was spent in Madras before going to Mysore University for completing his graduation in B.Sc. Hons. He joined the Department of Physics at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for further studies. He married Mrs Francoise-Dominique Radhakrishnan with whom he had a son named Vivek Radhakrishnan. His wife and his son run a successful company Kynkyny which serves as an art galore for contemporary Indian art along with being a boutique for unique furniture and products for the home.

From 1981 to 1984, he was appointed as the Chairman of Radio Astronomy (Commission J) by the International Union of Radio Sciences. From 1988 to 1994, Professor Radhakrishnan served as the Vice President of the International Astronomical Unit. Owing to his association with the biggest radio telescopes in the world, he was respected amongst the category of Radio Astronomers.

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan was world famous for being an astrophysicist who made unique designs and fabrication of extremely light weighted sailboats and aircrafts. In Department of Physics, he served a research scholar to continue his research. During 1955 to 1958, he was a research assistant at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. After continuing research work, he joined Radiophysics field in Sydney’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan rebuilt the Raman Research Institute after his return to India in 1972. Under his directorship, the institute grew in fame and became world known in the fields of liquid crystals, research in Astronomy and pulsar astronomy. In 1996, he achieved the Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the University of Amsterdam.

THE ROLES Venkatraman Radhakrishnan SERVED

Ø  Chairman of Radio Astronomy (Commission J) by the International Union of Radio Sciences.

Ø  He served as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Ø  He has served as a Director of Raman Research Institute.

Ø  For Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy, he served as the member of Foreign Advisory Committee.

Ø  Served as a member of Steering Committee of the Australia Telescope National Facility in Australia

Ø  He became the Vice President of the International Astronomical Unit

Ø  He again served as a member of Advisory Committee that was for the Green Bank Radio Telescope which was in National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the USA.

Ø  Served as the member of Governing Council that worked for the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad

Ø  He was a part of the Advisory Committee for the Inter-University Centre for Astrophysics and Astronomy.

Ø  He was also the part of Indian National Committee for Astronomy from 1973 to 1981

Ø  He was a foreign fellow of National Science Academy in the US.

Ø  He also served as an Associate for the Royal Astronomical Society.

Ø  He was a part of Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore.

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan CONTRIBUTIONS

In 1955, in Chalmers Institute of Technology, Sweden, he carried out experiments. He used 21 cm line for understanding the neutral atomic hydrogen in the interstellar space. In 1958, he worked on studying the polarization of the radio waves and radio interferometer. He and his team could see the Jupiter’s magnetic field and the root cause of the anchoring.  He used the 21 cm line for understanding the atomic hydrogen and its physical conditions in the galaxy. He was the first one to study Zeeman Effect. At Parks Observatory, Australia, a new programme was launched which studied emission and absorption of the 21 cm line.

He is credited for providing insights into pulsars, structures of the galaxy, interstellar clouds, and mysteries regarding celestial bodies amongst others. His hard work and dedication towards Raman Research Institute were commendable and he made the institute reach heights in astronomy research.

He improved the atmosphere of the institute where there was the open working atmosphere, young talents were encouraged, and facilities were updated and available, friendly and open ambience. He tried to use experiments for understanding theory. The scientific and technical staff was appointed for making other members learn.

He was involved in the making of the 10.4-metre millimetre wave radio antenna. He was an enigma who worked hard for success. He is known to have written more than 80 papers in varied research journals. He didn’t like taking the credit. His work on making the ultralight sailboats, microlight aircraft and hang gliders didn’t go unnoticed by the Government of India. His work was acknowledged by Aeronautics Research Development Board (for aircrafts), ISRO (for sailboats) and Ministry of Defence (for hang gliders).