Sir KS Krishnan obtained his DSc degree from the University of Madras with specialization in Physics. He was Reader in physics (1929-33), University of Dacca (now in Bangladesh), Mahendra Lal Sircar Professor of Physics, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science; Professor of Physics (1942), University of Allahabad; and Director, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.
Academic and Research Achievements: Krishnan contributed largely to the areas of scattering of light in a large number of liquids and its theoretical interpretation, magnetic anisotropy of gaseous molecules and crystals, examination of the changes in frequency and polarization of light, wave mechanics, etc. He studied the magnetic properties of the salts of the rare measurements on the crystalline electric fields with the theoretical conclusion of Van Vleck, Penney and Schlapp. He found that the scattering of electrons could be wholly attributed to local thermal fluctuations in the density of the type studied by Somoluchowski and Einstein. His study of temperature distribution along a thin rod or wire electrically heated in vaccuo led to several applications in electrical technology.
Other Contributions: A philosopher-physicist, Krishnan build up the National Physical Laboratory to the stature of its counterpart in Teddington, UK. He was Vice-President, IUCr; Member, IUC; Chairman, Board of Research in Nuclear Science (Government of India); Member, Atomic Energy Commission. Krishnan contributed to the growth of Indian science through various boards/committees of DAE, CSIR and UGC of which he was chairman or member. As member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Scientific Industrial Research, he contributed to its growth.
Awards and Honours: Krishnan received the Liege University Medal (1937). He was knighted in 1946 and was President of Indian Science Congress Association (1949). He was recipient of Padma Bhushan (1954) and SS Bhatnagar Prize (1961), and was a National Professor (1961). He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London; the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; and the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (sometime President); and also a Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences (USA). Krishnan was President of INSA (1953-54).
The Indian National Science Academy has instituted the 'Kariamanikkam Srinivasa Krishnan Memorial Lecture' in his memory.