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Prof. V. Radhakrishnan

Venkatraman Radhakrishnan (18 May 1929 - 3 March 2011), was an internationally renowned Radio Astronomer and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He was Professor Emeritus of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, India, where he had been Director from 1972 to 1994.

Early Years and Education

Prof. Radhakrishnan was born in Tondaripet, a suburb of Madras to Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, and Lokasundari Ammal. He was the youngest son to his parents. Professor Radhakrishnan did his schooling in Madras. He graduated in physics at the Central College, Bangalore of the Mysore University in 1950.


Prof. Radhakrishnan started his career as Research scholar at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1951. He joined British Acoustic films in 1953. He joined Chalmers University of Technology as Research Assistant during 1955-58. He was Senior Research Fellow during 1959-64 at California Institute of Technology, USA. Radhakrishnan next moved to the CSIRO Division of Radio physics in Australia in 1965 as Principal Research Scientist and was there up to 1971. He was with Meudon Observatory, France during 1971-72. Prof. Radhakrishnan accepted an invitation from the RRI Trust to return to India and head Raman Research Institute which was undergoing a revival after C.V. Raman’s death in 1970. Under his overall leadership, RRI grew from essentially zero strength to establishing successful programmes in radio astronomy and liquid crystals. He retired in 1994 from RRI. He was Prof. Emeritus from 1994 until his demise in 2011.

Scientific Work

Prof. Radhakrishnan collaborated with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, in building and using two low-frequency radio observatories at Gauribidanur and Mauritius. A 10.4 meter dish and receivers, working up to the carbon monoxide line at 115 GHz was a major achievement of the laboratory. He worked with the Ooty radio telescope, and strongly supported TIFR’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope project with some critical front ends and back ends being built at RRI in the 1990s. Radhakrishnan with his students and colleagues, worked on many aspects of pulsars and the interstellar medium such as 'A survey of lowfrequency recombination lines', the proposal of 'recycled pulsars', and a model for the 'X-ray nebula around the Vela pulsar'. He has contributed in the fields of planetary radiation, interstellar hydrogen, radio source polarization and observations and interpretations of pulsar radiation. He also spent many years on the design, fabrication and testing of ultralight aircraft and sailing vessels.


Prof. Radhakrishnan was the member of the Foreign Advisory Committee for the Netherlands Foundation for Radio Astronomy, Steering Committee of the Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, Australia, Advisory Committee for the Green Bank Radio Telescope, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, USA. He was also the Member of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. During the period of 1973–1981 he was a member of the Indian National Committee for Astronomy.

Prof. Radhakrishnan served on various committees in various capacities. He was the Vice President of the International Astronomical Union during 1988-1994. He served as the Chairman of Commission J ( Radio Astronomy) of the International Union of Radio Sciences (1981–1984).


Radhakrishnan was selected to various scientific bodies, both national and international. He was a Foreign Fellow of both the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Science Academy. He was an Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society, Fellow of International Union of Radio Science, Fellow of International Astronomical Union (IAU), and a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore

Awards & Distinctions

He was the recipient of several awards like Gujarmal Modi Award (2003), M P Birla Memorial Award (2005), Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award, Amsterdam Univ. Dsc (hc).


Sailing, flying and ham radio were his hobbies.

Born 18 May 1929
Tondaripet, Madras, India
Died 3 March 2011
Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Field: Astronomy; Astrophysics; Aeronautics
Institutions Indian Institute of Science (1950-51)
British Acoustic Films (1953-55)
Chalmers Univ of Technol (1955-58)
California Inst of Technol (1959-64)
Radio Physics Dn of CSIRO (1965-71)
Meudon Observatory (1971-72)
Raman Reseach Institute (1972-2011)
Alma mater Mysore University
Awards Gujarmal Modi Award (2003)
M P Birla Memorial Award (2005)
Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award
Amsterdam Univ. Dsc (hc)
Publications link from NASA-ADS

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