Prof. C.N.R. Rao is the National Research Professor as well as Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. He is also an Honorary Professor at the Indian Institute of Science. His main research interests are in solid state and materials chemistry, surface phenomena, spectroscopy and molecular structure. He is an author of over 1600 research papers and 50 books. He received the M.Sc. degree from Banaras, Ph.D. from Purdue, D.Sc. from Mysore universities and has received Honoris Causa doctorate degrees from 62 universities.

He is a member of many science academies. He was President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and also President of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Prof. Rao is a Fellow of 25 science academies which include the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, London, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Japan Academy as well as the American Philosophical Society.

He was the Director of the Indian Institute of Science (1984-94), Chairman of the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1985-89) and Chairman, Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet (1997-98). He is the Chairman of the National Nano Initiative. He is currently the Chairman of the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.

He is on the editorial boards of over 15 leading professional journals.

Among the various medals, honours and awards received by him, mention must be made of the Marlow Medal of the Faraday Society (1967), Bhatnagar Prize (1968), Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship (1973), Padma Shri (1974), Sir C.V. Raman Award (1975), Padma Vibhushan (1985), Centenary Fellowship of the American Chemical Society, Hevrovsky Gold Medal of the Czechoslovak Academy (1989), Einstein Gold Medal of UNESCO (1996), Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London (2000), the Hughes Medal for original discovery in physical sciences (2000) as well as the Royal Medal (2009) of the Royal Society, (London). and the Karnataka Ratna (2001) by the Karnataka Government. He is the first recipient of the India Science Prize, the highest scientific award recently instituted by the Government of India, and the Dan David International Prize for Science (2005). He was awarded the highest civilian award of France (2005). He was also named the `Chemical Pioneer of 2005’ by the American Institute of chemists, USA. He was named `National Research professor’ in 2006. He received THE ROYAL MEDAL (THE QUEEN’S MEDAL), by the Royal Society, London, U.K (2009). Most recently Prof. Rao is the recipient of the August-Wilhelm-von-Hoffmann Medal (2010) of the German Chemical Society, A.D. LITTLE LECTURER IN CHEMISTRY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2010) & the DHIRUBHAI AMBANI LIFE-ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR INNOVATION (2011).Recently, Prof. Rao has been conferred the H.K. Firodia Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 for Excellence in S & T and awarded the Ernesto-IIly Trieste Science Prize, 2011 for his contributions to Chemistry of Materials for over 50 years. He has been conferred the International Scientific Cooperation Award 2012 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and was the Albert Einstein Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Recently he has been elected as Honorary Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Honorable President Shri. Pranab Mukherjee conferring the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award on Prof. CNR Rao (February 4, 2014)

On February 4, 2014, the Govt. of India conferred the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award on Prof. CNR Rao.

Prof. Rao has completed over sixty years of research in Solid state and materials chemistry and structural chemistry.