Patcha Ramachandra Rao obtained BSc and MSc degrees in Physics from Osmania University, Hyderabad and the BE (Metallurgy) from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Rao then obtained MSc and PhD degrees in Metallurgical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University (BHU). He joined the Faculty at BHU while he was a PhD student and taught metallurgy and materials science for close to three decades. While at the University, he visited the universities of Cambridge and Sussex on a Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship for postdoctoral work. From BHU, he moved as Director to the National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), Jamshedpur. Rao was recalled to BHU as its Vice-Chancellor in 2002. On completion of his assignment at BHU, he moved to DRDO with the task of converting the Institute of Armament Technology, Pune into a deemed university and establishing appropriate infrastructure there. He is currently Raja Ramanna Fellow of the Department of Atomic Energy.
Academic and Research Achievements: Rao has been keenly interested in the area of rapid solidification of metals and alloys. His pioneering studies resulted in the discovery of many novel metastable intermediate phases, metallic glasses and solid solutions. He not only discovered new phases but also provided thermodynamic basis for their occurrence. The models developed by him and his colleagues, for the description of undercooled metallic liquids, are well known. He was also responsible for the prediction and synthesis of a quasi crystalline compound in Al-Zn-Mg alloys. During the last decade or so, Rao has initiated research in the novel and rapidly growing area of biomimetics. Several nanocrystalline metals and inorganic compounds have been synthesized by this route. While working in NML, Rao took active interest in environmental issues and headed the group involved in the development of environmental foundry technologies. Rao holds more than 20 patents and has authored nearly 240 publications besides editing books. He also led the group of scientists who designed and dveloped the first materials science experiment, performed in collaboration with Soviet scientists by squadron leader Rakesh Sharma on board the Mir Space Station.
Other Contributions: Ramachandra Rao was the first Professor of Materials Science at BHU and was instrumental in building the School of Materials Science and Technology. Rao was Member of the Council of Indo-French Centre (CEFIPRA) and of the Indo-Sri Lankan S&T delegation.
Awards and Honours: Ramachandra Rao is a receipient of the Materials Science Prize (1997) and SS Bhatnagar Medal (2005) of INSA. He also won the SS Bhatnagar prize for Engineering Sciences, the National Metallurgist Day (1979) and National Metallurgist (2004) awards of the Ministry of Steel, FICCI, VASVIK, Om Prakash Bhasin awards. He received the MRSI-ICSC prize and senior awards. He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad, Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, London, Institution of Engineers and an Honorary Member of the Indian Institute of Metals. He was President of the Indian Institute of Metals, Vice President of the Materials Research Society of India (MRSI) and Chairman of the Asia Pacific Academy of Materials, India Chapter.