Time and life of Prof. T R Anantharaman
Chronicle Editor @ Jun 04, 2009
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(Compiled from the following sources: Obituary in Indian Institute of metals; Metallo-2007 seminar bulletin; Wikipedia; IT-BHU Chronicle)

Professor Tanjore Ramachandra Anantharaman (Prof. TRA for short) needs no introduction. As a world renowned metallurgist, he was among the first to examine the famous Iron Pillar in New Delhi for its metallurgical composition. In 1951, he was the only one from India to study at Oxford University under Rhodes scholarship in that year (and the second from India till then). He taught metallurgy at many national colleges and universities including: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala; and Institute of Technology-Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. At IT-BHU, he was Head of Metallurgy department and served as Dean and Director of the institute.

Professor Tanjore Ramachandra Anantharaman (Prof. TRA for short) was born in Tamil Nadu, India, on November 25, 1927. He obtained his B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Chemistry from Madras University in 1947, D.IISc. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1950 and M.Sc. in Metallurgical Chemistry from Madras University in 1951. Following his brilliant educational career, wherein he secured the First Rank in all University examinations, he was awarded the only Indian Rhodes Scholarship of 1951 for his doctorate researches in Physical Metallurgy at Oxford University, England. He received the D.Phil. (Oxon) degree in 1954 and was awarded the D.Sc. (Oxon) degree in 1990 in recognition of his outstanding research output in many areas of Metallurgy and Materials Science.

Prof. TRA's professional career spanning over four decades included the following assignments: Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Metallurgical Research, Stuttgart, Germany (1954-56), Assistant Professor of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (1956-62) and Professor of Metallurgy, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi (1962-87). He served BHU as Head, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology; Director, Institute of Technology, Member, Executive Council, Rector and Acting Vice-Chancellor. After retiring in 1987, he worked as Director, Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology (Deemed University), Patiala (1989-92) and also as CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1987-89, 1993-95) and INSA Senior' Scientist (1995-2000), spending the 1993-2000 period at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.

Starting with his two-month visit to Australia as Nuffield Scholar in Extractive Metallurgy in 1949, Prof. TRA had traveled far and wide in the world during the last five decades. Apart from the three years (1951-54) in England and two years (1954-56) in Germany, he had been on many extended overseas visits on assignments ranging from a few weeks to several months, mostly as Visiting Scientist or Visiting Professor, viz., to Germany (1960, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1983, 1990, 1994 & 2000), USA (1965, 1987, 1993 & 1997), UK (1973, 1989 & 2004), Russia (1972 & 1986), Belgium (1973 & 1997), Japan (1981 & 1987), France (1986 & 1989), Switzerland (1984), China (1987), and the Czech Republic (1997).

Prof. TRA's research accomplishments encompassed a broad spectrum of topics in Physical Metallurgy and Material Science. However, his most creative efforts had centered round pioneering contributions on Rapidly Solidified Alloys and Metallic Glasses. Along with his many gifted doctorate students he innovated new techniques for rapid solidification and discovered a variety of metastable phases. He directed major National Projects on Micro-Structural Characterization, Metallic Glasses and Rapidly Solidified Iron Alloys.

Prof. TRA had over 250 scientific publications to his credit. He had edited along with his colleagues Proceedings of three International Conferences viz., Metal Sciences - the Emerging Frontiers (1978), Light Metals - Science & Technology (1985) & Advanced Techniques for Materials Characterization (1989). He edited a book on Metallic Glasses in 1984 and co-authored a book on Rapidly Solidified Metals: A Technological Overview in 1987, both books published by Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland. As part of his recent involvement in studies related to lndia's Scientific and Technological Heritage, he wrote a monograph entitled "The Rustless Wonder" A Study of the Iron Pillar at Delhi," published by Vigyan Prasar, Government of India, in 1996. This monograph has been translated into Hindi and Tamil, its CD-ROM has proved popular and it has stimulated further researches and publications on India's Metallurgical Heritage

Appreciation has come to Professor TRA, in the form of several National Awards:

1.       Kamani Gold Medal of the Indian Institute of Metals (UM) in 1960.

2.      National Metallurgists’ Day Award of the Union Ministry of Steel and Mines in1964.

3.      Shanti Swamp Bhatnagar Prize of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for Engineering Sciences in 1967.

4.      Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Award for individual Initiative in Science and Technology in 1972.

5.      Homi J. Bhabha Award for Applied Sciences by the University Grants Commission (DGC) and Hari Om Trust in 1974.

6.      VASVIK Award in Materials Science in 1978.

7.      Nehru Fellowship of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (JNMF) during 1979-8 I.

8.     Election as President of the Indian Institute of Metals (IIM) in 1979.

9.     Bhatnagar Medal of the Indian National Science Academy (INS A) in 1982.

10.    Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) In 1982.

11.    Tata Gold Medal of the Indian Institute of Metals (IIM) in 1983.

12.   Materials Science Prize of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in 1987.

13.    Eminent Teacher of Metallurgy Award on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Department of Metallurgy, Bengal Engineering College, Howrah in 1990.

14.     Outstanding Teacher of an Engineering Institution - National A ward conferred by Indian Society of Technical Education (ISTE) and Uttar Pradesh Government in 1991.

15.     IIM Platinum Medal, the highest conferment of the Indian Institute of Metals, in 1996.

16.    Professor G.P. Chatterji Memorial Award of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) in 1997.

17.   Distinguished Services Award of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, BHU, Varanasi, on the occasion of its Platinum Jubilee in 1998.

18.    Dr. B.C. Roy National Award for "Eminence in Philosophy" in 2001.

10.    First-Ever "Lifetime Achievement Award in Metallurgy," instituted by Union Ministry of Steel and Mines in 2004.

20.  Honoured for his immense contribution to the field of metallurgy during the celebration of his eightieth birthday in December 2007 at Metallo-2007 seminar at IIT-Kanpur.

In recognition of his numerous contributions to the Science of Metals as teacher and researcher, Prof. TRA was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1964), the Indian National Science Academy (1972), the Institution of Metallurgists, London (1968), Indian National Academy of Engineering (1987 - its Foundation Year) and the American Society of Materials (1990). He is Honorary Member of the Indian Institute of Metals, Ehrenmitgleid Honorary Member) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Metallkunde (German Society for Metals) and Corresponding Member of the Royal Belgian Academy of Overseas Sciences. In 1989 he became the first Afro-Asian to be conferred the highly coveted Sorby Award of the International Metallographic Society for his life-long contributions to metallography.

To quote from a citation of his Alma Mater at Bangalore in 1982, "Through his distinguished contributions to metallurgical education and research, by nurturing the Centre for Advanced Study in Physical and Mechanical Metallurgy at Varanasi and by inspiring generations of students, Professor Anantharaman has had profound influence on the growth of metallurgy in independent India. The primary credit for the outstanding profile of present-day Indian metallurgical research rightly belongs to him".

Another important dimension of Prof. TRA's personality related to Spirituality, Philosophy and Religion, particularly of the Vedic and Yogic traditions of India going back to over 4000 years. During the sixties and seventies, he participated in several programs of the Gandhian Sarvodaya Movement and drew inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi's spiritual heir Acharya Vinoba Bhave, the Initiator of Bhoodaan (Land Gifts) Movement. In 1974, he took steps to establish the Yoga Sadhana Kendra (Centre for Yoga) as an interdisciplinary academic unit of BHU and directed its activities for four years. This Centre is still active and popular in the BHU Campus. He also took steps to launch the Indian Academy of Yoga as a Learned Society in 1981. He was Founder-President of the Academy during 1981-83 and has since been elected President for the 1984-86, 1987-89, 1997-99, 2002-04 and 2005-2007 triennia.

Apart from over 50 articles on Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, Prof. TRA., authored two books in German, one on the Bhagavad-Gita (1961) published by Guenther Verlag, Stuttgart, and the other on Erkenntis durch Meditation (Knowledge through Meditation) published in 1977 by the Deutsch-Indische Gesellschaft, Stuttgart. His monograph entitled Ancient Yoga and Modern Science was brought out in 1997 by PHISPC, the National Project on History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture. His two condensed versions of the original Bhagavad-Gita of 700 slokas (verses) viz., Gita-Samgrah (The Gita Abridged) of 350 slokas and Gita-Sarah (Essence of the Gita) of 140 slokas (to facilitate reciting 20 slokas on every day of the week) had been in private circulation for some years now and had often been used for his discourses on the Gita in India and abroad. In recognition of his Sanskrit scholarship the Kashi Pandita Sabha (Scholars Guild of Varanasi) conferred on him in 1980 the title Vidya-Vachaspati, this conferment being equivalent to a Doctorate degree in Philosophy and Religion. In 2001, he was conferred the Dr. B. C. Roy National Award for "Eminence in Philosophy", the third person and the first scientist to receive it during the last four decades.

Prof. TRA functioned as Kula Acharya (Chancellor) of Ashram, Atmadeep Research Institute for the Seculo-Spiritual Heritage of India (RISHI) & Headquarters of a Unique Movement for the Third Millennium to rejuvenate the Human Family through Secular Spirituality and Scientific Yoga. The Ashram is located just south of Delhi, along the Aravalli Ridge bordering on Phase-I, DLF City, Gurgaon 122 002, Haryana, India. Gurgaon was earlier known as Guru-Gram, having been the abode of Dronacharya and other Gurus of the Mahabharata period, i.e., around 1500 B. c., as per latest scientific findings.

Ashram Atmadeep was given accreditation in 2004 as a Research Centre for Yoga and Allied Subjects by the Department of AYUSH, Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The Ashram is also presently publishing a quarterly journal entitled "Spiritual India Calling". The Ashram welcomes support and interaction from like-minded individuals and institutions.

TRA's family

Prof. TRA is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter. The elder son, Satya Prakash (Thomas) got IIT-JEE All India Rank # 2 and did his B. Tech, electronics engineering at IT-BHU in 1982. Later on he joined IBM's 3-member team which designed Deep-Blue, world's first supercomputer which defeated Gary Kasparov in chess tournament. Currently he is working at a private research firm in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

The other son, Prem Prakash (Martin) joined IT-BHU for mechanical engineering. He then left the institute and completed his study of mechanical engineering at Duisburg University, Germany with 1st rank. He did his PhD in mechanical engineering (with distinction) at the same university. Currently he is working at Delphi (an automobile components manufacturing company) at Stuttgart, Germany.

His daughter Karuna is currently studying at Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA. His wife Priyamvada lives at Gurgaon, India.

Prof. T R Anantharaman passed away on Friday, June 19, 2009 at the residence of his son (Thomas) in Wisconsin state, USA.


Additional Links

1) Obituary of Prof. T R Anantharaman in Indian Institute of Metals website


2) TRA interview with chronicle in October 2007 issue


3) About Prof. T R Anantharaman

TRA in Wikipedia


Prof. TRA Rhodes Scholar in 1951


4) About Prof. T R Anantharaman at Metallo-2007 seminar at IIT-Kanpur

Photographs of life of Prof. TRA


Recollection of Prof. TRA by various speakers


Biography of Prof. TRA


5) About Thomas Anantharaman, son of Prof. TRA




Some rare photos of Prof. T R Anantharaman

(For more photos: http://www.iitk.ac.in/infocell/announce/metallo/collection.htm)


The Vice-Chancellor, Dr. K.L. Shrimali inviting Prof. T.R. Anantharaman (left), Head of the Metallurgical Engineering Department, during the Gandhi memorial lecture at Arts College Auditorium, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Metallurgical Engineering Department. (Dec. 17-21, 1973)


With Wife and children  in Erlangen, Germany, 1975


Receiving D.Sc from Oxford University in the year, 1990



Receiving (TRA in middle) Lifetime Achievement Award from Ministry of Steel, Govt. of India, on National Metallurgist's Day Celebrations organized by Indian Institute of Metals, at Thiruvananthapuram (Nov. 16 2004 )



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