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Prof Rajaram Nityanada

Prof. Rajaram Nityananda (19th February 1948), joined the Theoretical Physics group at the Raman Research Institute on July 1, 1975. He served as a Professor and Dean of RRI and was associated with the  Astronomy & Astrophysics and lab activities as well as the Joint Astronomy programme, till the year 2000.

Early Years and Education

Prof. Rajaram Nityananda was born to Sri R.Nityananda & Smt. Sarasvati Nityananda on 19th February 1948 in Mumbai. He started his school education in Calcutta and completed high school in Madras (now Chennai) in 1962, his graduation in Physics from Vivekananda College, Madras in 1967 and his Masters Degree in Physics in 1969 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He acquired his Ph.D from Bangalore University, Bangalore in 1977.


Prof. Rajaram Nityananda entered the Materials Science Division, National Aeronautical Laboratory, Bangalore in 1969 to work for his PhD degree. He joined RRI as a member of scientific staff in 1975 and he became Professor in the year 1995 and served as  Dean during 1994-96. In the year 2000, he moved to Pune to take up an invitation to serve as the Centre Director, NCRA-TIFR, Pune, a position which he held till February 2010.

Prof. Nityananda served as a Council Member of the Indian Academy of Sciences during 1989-91.  He was visiting Professor at Dept. of Physics, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore from April 1989- April 1995. He has been Editor of Pramana - Journal of Physics, and Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy, and served on the editorial board of Resonance and Current Science. He was a member of the international steering committee of the Australia Telescope National Facility.

His extended academic visits (more than a month) were to Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University (1983); Institute of Theoretical physics, University of California. Santa Barbara and   Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge,(1987),Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics (1994) and (2009) and Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (1998)

Scientific Work

Prof. Rajaram Nityananda developed the theory of light propagation in cholesteric liquid crystals, predicting the optical analogue of the Borrmann effect. He was also involved in identifying Berry's geometric phase as a case of the Pancharatnam phase for polarised light, thereby opening up the possibility of many new experiments. In the area of condensed matter physics he has worked on the theory of resistivity of binary liquid mixtures, predicted the rapid rotation of neutron polarisation in helical magnetic structures. He also collaborated with others to find the forces between defects in elastically anisotropic nematic liquid crystals. He applied the maximum entropy method to the crystallographic "phase-problem" and for image reconstruction in astronomy. He has worked on gravitational lenses, galaxy dynamics, and structure formation. Statistical methods were developed for detecting and removing radio frequency interference, and correcting for the effect of polarization imperfections in radio telescopes.


Prof. Nityananda is a fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (1998),  Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences during 2000 and also The Indian Academy of Sciences 1986.

Awards & Distinctions

Prof. Nityananda is a recipient of  " The Kariamanikkam Srinivasa Krishnan Memorial Lecture Award,  from  INSA in 2004.


Prof. Nityananda's hobbies include hiking, cycling, swimming, railway travel, film music, sampling different kinds of books and authors, comparing languages and scripts

Born 19th February 1948
Mumbai, India
Field: Liquid Crystals
Institutions National Aeronautical Laboratory, Bangalore
Raman Research Institute, Bangalore
Alma mater IIT Madras
Awards The Kariamanikkam Srinivasa Krishnan Memorial Lecture Award,  from  INSA (2004)

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