Narasinga Rao: A Living History in Crystallography and Philanthropy

Crystallography Luminary: The Academic Odyssey of S. Narasinga Rao

S. Narasinga Rao, born in 1938 in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India, is an academic luminary whose life story serves as an emblem of excellence, resilience, and visionary leadership.

Educational Odyssey of Narasinga Rao: A Foundation of Excellence

Rao’s educational odyssey began at Board High School, Krishnagiri, where he completed his higher secondary education in 1954. His quest for knowledge led him to St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore, where he pursued his Intermediate studies.

The academic trajectory continued as he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with physics as his major from Madras Christian College in 1958.

The pursuit of excellence took him to McMaster University in Canada, where he obtained a second Master of Science degree in 1969, followed by a PhD in biophysics in 1973 from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Mentored by eminent figures such as Dr. Herbert Hauptman and Sir John Eccles, Rao’s academic journey was marked by groundbreaking contributions to crystallography.

Pioneering Contributions in Crystallography

During his graduate studies at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rao determined the crystal and molecular structures of nitrates of amino acids and peptides, showcasing his prowess in X-Ray diffraction techniques.

His post-doctoral tenure at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation further solidified his reputation, where he isolated, purified, characterized, and crystallized Human Plasma Albumin and Porcine Pepsinogen, leading to multiple publications in esteemed scientific journals.

Distinguished Career in Academia

Narasinga Rao‘s illustrious career unfolded as a junior research scientist at the Center for Crystallographic Research at Roswell Park and a senior research scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. In 1983, he joined the University of Central Oklahoma as an assistant professor.

His ascent continued as he served as Assistant Dean of the Graduate College and Dean of Research, eventually becoming the dean of Jackson College of Graduate Studies and Research from 1996 to 2006.

Leadership Beyond Academia

Narasinga Rao’s leadership extended beyond the confines of academia. He chaired the Regents Council on Research for regional universities, served on the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, and played pivotal roles in the American Crystallographic Association.

Notably, he initiated programs on Sanskrit, Hindu philosophy, and Hindu humanities at the University of Central Oklahoma, leaving an indelible mark on the institution.

Global Impact and Philanthropy

Post-retirement in 2008, Narasinga Rao’s commitment to globalization persisted. Collaborating with universities in the USA and India, he facilitated research internships and higher studies opportunities.

His philanthropic endeavors, including the Wish Foundation, underscore his dedication to community welfare, providing eyeglasses and academic scholarships to children in need.

Recognition and Legacy

Narasinga Rao’s legacy is etched in the annals of academia. Recognized as the “Grandfather of Undergraduate Research in Oklahoma,” he received accolades from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

His numerous publications, including those in religious magazines, showcase a multifaceted individual passionate about bridging the realms of science and spirituality.

Living History and Continued Impact

Elected as a FELLOW of the American Crystallographic Association, Rao’s contributions continue to reverberate. His involvement in special symposiums, articles, and organizational roles reflects a commitment to preserving and shaping the history of crystallography. As he retired from his role as CFO of ACA in 2020, Rao’s impact remains a testament to a career dedicated to excellence.

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