This lecture series was instituted by Prof. C.N.R. Rao. The objective of Prof. C.N. R. Rao Lecture Series is to honor one such faculty member of IIT Kanpur each year to deliver a lecture to the Institute academic community. Prof. C.N.R Rao completed his M.Sc. from Banaras Hindu University in 1953 and then went on to pursue his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1958. He joined IISc, Bangalore in 1959 on lecturing position and then joined Department of Chemistry IIT Kanpur in 1963. He returned to IISc in 1976 to establish a solid state and structural chemistry unit and became director of the IISc from 1984 to 1994. He has been working as the National Research Professor holding the positions Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, which he founded in 1989. He had served as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister for two terms, from 1985 to 1989 and from 2005 to 2014. He is also the director of the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS), which he founded in 2008.
Prof. Rao is the recipient of many prestigious national and international awards and honors, such as Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of Indian National Science Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society, Founding Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Proze, Royal Medal by the Royal Society, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Bharat Ratna, Einstein Gold Medal of UNESCO to name a few.