The following article is a speech by R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government of India, delivered at the inaugural session of the 13th Annual General Meeting of the Materials Research Society-India (MRS-I) at Hyderabad on February 7, 2002. Slight modifications and an update were provided by the author. This article is reprinted with permission from the MRS-I Newsletter, Volume B 02, Number 2, April 2002.
R. Chidambaram is the principal scientific advisor to the government of India and is past president of the Materials Research Society-India. He joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in 1962, became its director in 1990, and is currently the Department of Atomic Energy Homi Bhabha Chair Professor. He served as chair of the Atomic Energy Commission and secretary to the government of India in the Department of Atomic Energy from February 1993 to November 2000. Chidambaram is a fellow of all of the major science academies in India and also of the Third World Academy of Sciences in Trieste, Italy. He chaired the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during 1994–1995. Until recently, he was vice president of the International Union of Crystallography. Chidambaram is currently chair of the council and the governing body of the Technology Information, Forecasting, and Assessment Council (TIFAC). He received his PhD and DSc degrees from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and holds honorary DSc degrees from several Indian universities.