Hari Narain earned his BSc (Hons), MSc (Physics) and DPhil (1950) from Allahabad University under the supervision of KS Krishnan, and the PhD (Geophysics) (1954) from Sydney University, and DSc from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad (1978). He worked as Superintending Geophysicist, Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Dehra Dun (1957-62), Director, Institute of Petroleum Exploration, ONGC (1962-64), Director, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) (1964-78; 1981-83), Concurrently he was Surveyor-General of India (1972-76), Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University (1978-81), Chief Coordinator, UNDP Project, NGRI (1983-86), Chairman, Board of Directors, National Institute of Technology, Warangal (2001-07), and Member, Advisory Council, Directorate General Hydrocarbons, Government of India (1993-2008).
Academic and Research Achievements:Hari Narain’s initial researches related to studies on crystals and organic molecules by Raman and IR methods. He carried out pioneering surveys on the eastern and central parts of Australia throwing new light on the tectonics and subsurface geological and crustal structures. As founder Director, NGRI, he established several new research groups on seismology, exploration geophysics, airborne magnetic surveys, geophysical instrumentation, rock mechanics, high-pressure physical properties of rocks and minerals, paleomagnetic laboratory, magnetic observatory, geochemistry, geochronology and geological studies. His work in seismology has established new criteria for reservoir associated earthquakes and has determined upper mantle structures in and around Indian subcontinent. He has prepared quantitative seismicity maps, and heat flow map of India. The research and development work in indigenous airborne surveys and results obtained in Mysore and Madhya Pradesh states has thrown new light on mineral exploration. His most exciting achievement was the finding of a new kimberlite (pipe-7) with maximum gem quality diamond production in Southern India. The methodology of stream sediments sampling was further handed over to GSI. He has published over 200 research papers and articles and supervised about 30 PhD students.
Other Contributions:As the first Director of the KD Malaviya Institute of Petroleum Exploration, ONGC, he established research facilities in petroleum, geology, basin studies, geophysical interpretation. Under his stewardship, the project team of UNDP brought out many publications on the mineral resources of Cudappa region of Andhra Pradesh.
Awards and Honours:Dr Hari Narain won many awards and honours, notably the National Lecturer Award in Earth Sciences by UGC (1973), Padma Shri (1974), Decennial Award by the Indian Geophysical Union (1976), Honorary Professorship by Andhra University (1977), Petrotech Life Time Achievement Award (1999), National Mineral Award of Excellence by Ministry of Mines, Government of India (2002), and General President Medal, Indian Science Congress (2007). He was elected President of the Geology and Geography Section, Indian Science Congress (1972), Indian Geophysical Union (1973-75), and Fellow, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1979-80).