Padma Vibhushan Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao, Linus Pauling Research Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research at the Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, holds the unique distinction of being a Fellow or Member of all the major science academies of the world, including The Royal Society of London, National Academy of Sciences, US, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pontificial Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Sciences. Rao started his career working on spectra and structure of molecules, but his research interests have moved on to solid state and materials chemistry and surface science. His current research on nanoparticles and nanoparticle assemblies has the potential to transform the nascent discipline of nanotechnology.
As a University of California, Santa Barbara, profile puts it, Rao's "contributions to the field of solid state chemistry and materials science are remarkable for their enormous diversity, originality...". His ex-students at IIT, Kanpur, many of whom are today internationally renowned, remember Rao as the best teacher they ever had.