Tanjore Ramachandra Anantharaman (25 November 1927 – 19 June 2009) was one of India’s pre-eminent metallurgists and materials scientists.
Anantharaman was born in Tamil Nadu, India, on 25 November 1927. He obtained his B.Sc. (Hons.) in chemistry from Madras University in 1947, D.I.I.Sc. in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) in 1950 and an M.Sc. degree in metallurgical chemistry from Madras University in 1951. After securing the first rank in all university examinations, he was awarded the only Indian Rhodes Scholarship of 1951 for his doctorate research in physical metallurgy at Oxford University (England). In 1954, he received a D.Phil. from Oxford and was in 1980 subsequently awarded the higher doctoral degree D.Sc. from the same university in recognition of his research output in many areas of metallurgy and materials science.
Starting with his two-month visit to Australia as Nuffield Scholar in extractive metallurgy in 1949, Anantharaman has traveled far and wide in the world during the last five decades. Apart from the three years (1951–1954) in England and two years (1954–1956) in Germany, he has been on many extended overseas visits on assignments ranging from a few weeks to several months, mostly as Visiting Scientist or Visiting Professor.
Anantharaman’s professional career spanning over four decades included the following assignments: Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany (1954–56), Assistant Professor of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (1956–62), Professor of Metallurgy, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi (BHU), Varanasi (1962–87). He served BHU as Head, Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology; Director, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, Member, Executive Council, Rector and Acting Vice-Chancellor. After retiring in 1987, he worked as Director, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (Deemed University), Patiala (1989–92) and also as CSIR Emeritus Scientist (1987–89, 1993–95) and INSA Senior’ Scientist (1995–2000), spending the 1993–2000 period at the National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi.
Anantharaman’s research accomplishments encompass a broad spectrum of topics in physical metallurgy and material science. However, his most creative efforts have centered round pioneering contributions on rapidly solidified alloys and metallic glasses. Along with his many gifted doctorate students he has innovated new techniques for rapid solidification and discovered a variety of metastable phases. He has directed major national projects on micro-structural characterization, metallic glasses and rapidly solidified iron alloys.
Anantharaman has over 250 scientific publications to his credit. He has edited along with his colleagues Proceedings of three International Conferences viz., Metal Sciences – the Emerging Frontiers (1978), Light Metals – Science & Technology (1985) & Advanced Techniques for Materials Characterization (1989). He edited a book Metallic Glasses in 1984 and co-authored Rapidly Solidified Metals: A Technological Overview in 1987, both books published by Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland. As part of his recent involvement in studies related to India’s scientific and technological heritage, he wrote a monograph entitled The Rustless Wonder: A Study of the Iron Pillar at Delhi, published by Vigyan Prasar, Government of India, in 1996. This monograph has been translated into Hindi and Tamil, its CD-ROM has proved popular and it has stimulated further researches and publications on India’s metallurgical heritage.