Dr Raghunath Mashelkar
A patriotic scientist who created a network of scientific research institutes and emphasized the need for patenting in the country
Birth: 1 January 1943.
Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar is one of India’s leading scientists who attempted to tackle fundamental national issues by intelligent management of intellectual property. He has played a significant role in initiating various government policies on science and technology and gave them a proper shape and direction.
He was born in Mashel, Goa, on 1st Jan 1943. He lost his father when he was just a child. Through adverse conditions, his mother encouraged him in his studies with great determination. Determinedly studying under streetlights in Girgaon Choupatti (beach in Mumbai), he managed to earn many scholarships. In 1966, he graduated as a Chemical Engineer from Mumbai University. Then, for a brief period of time, he worked as a lecturer in the University of Salford, London.
Later, while working as a professor at the Delaware University in America, he was appointed as the Director of National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) at Pune. During his tenure there, Dr. Mashelkar raised the stature of NCL as a globally competitive institute. It is through his efforts that scientific break-through by Indian scientists are being exported to Europe and America today.
As the Director of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), he laid great emphasis on national progress through the medium of research. He helped in establishing many branches of CSIR, thus creating a platform developing innumerable researchers who received training under his guidance and supervision. He has made a significant contribution in formulating governmental policies on intellectual property rights. His motto has been Patent or Perish. He fought for the patents on turmeric, Basmati rice and Neem (Azadirachta indica) and succeeded in winning patents for them from America.
He diligently pursued the principle of industrial research. His belief that knowledge is wealth and that knowledge creates wealth, and his efforts towards providing legal protection to knowledge and research has proved important for the nation.
Mashelkar has made some path-breaking contributions in transport phenomena and thermodynamics of swelling, superswelling and shrinking polymers, modeling of polymerisation reactors, and engineering analysis of Non-Newtonian flows. Mashelkar's studies on lifetime of a dissolving polymeric particle are pioneering.
Dr Mashelkar has been the recipient of more than fifty national and international awards; Padmabhushan, Padmashri, Shantiswaroop Bhatnagar Medal, Material Scientist of the Year, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Award, Lifetime Achievement Award by Indian Science Congress Association, Priyadarshini Global Award, being some of them. He also earned the world famous Fellowship of the Royal Society of London in 1998.
Dr. Mashelkar faced adverse times with a lot of hard work and determination. Even today, he continues to successfully hold the highest positions in the field of science and technology, with the same capacity for hard work, discipline, intelligence, attitude for research, leadership, and palpable patriotism.