Barri Ramachandra Rao received DSc in 1949 and also DSc (hc) (1970) from Andhra University. He remained Professor, Department of Physics, Andhra University, Waltair (1958-78); Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission, New Delhi (1978-82); and Chairman (part-time), National Fisheries Advisory Board, Ministry of Agriculture (1989).
Academic and Research Achievements: Rao was an authority in ultrasonics, space physics and electronics. He motivated his researchers to build their own apparatus for their work. As a result, a large number of instruments for ionospheric and ultrasonic research — pulse oscillographs, high-power pulse transmitters, pulse receivers, satellite signal-recording equipment, ultrasonic measuring instruments, and seismic sounders — were developed. He and his team also developed a high-power droppler meteor radar which could detect, measure and track individual meteor trails in the atmosphere during day and night. These instruments were adopted and used by several industrial complexes.
Other Contributions: Professor Rao established a school of Ionospheric and Space Research at Waltair. As UGC Vice-Chairman, he introduced several imaginative and innovative educational plans. He edited three books: Physics of the Solid State (Academic Press), Bhagavantam Volume (Bangalore Press), and Science, Technology and Education for Prosperity. He was Member (1972-74) and Treasurer (1977-80) of the INSA Council. He was also Member of the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the parliament) (1982-88), CSIR Society and Governing Body (1977-89), Science and Engineering Council, DST (1977-81), Indian National Committee of IUPAP and High-Power Committee on Tropo-Communication Network; Chairman, Indian National Committee of URSI; and Honorary Consultant to DRDO.
Awards and Honours: Professor Rao was recipient of SS Bhatnagar Prize (1965). He was also President, Indian Science Congress (1983); Founder Fellow, Andhra Pradesh Academy of Sciences (President, 1975-76); Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (President, 1981-82), Astronomical Society of India, Indian Physics Association and Acoustical Society of India (President, 1980-82); and Vice President, Asian Physical Society. Lectureships received by him were: Professor S Bhagavantam 60th Birthday Commemoration Lecture (1977); Sir CV Raman Endowment Lecture by Madurai Kamaraj University (1981); and GP Chatterjee Fellowship Lecture by Bengal Engineering College (1982).