Who Is Anna Mani? Education, Early life & Family

In memory of Anna Mani, a renowned Indian physicist and meteorologist, Google has created a doodle in her honor to commemorate the 104th anniversary of her birth. However, what is her identity and what are a few of her most notable achievements?

Anna Mani, one of the pioneering women scientists in the country, embodies the phrase “Persist until you succeed.”

Her commitment and research, which earned her the nickname “Weather Woman of India,” facilitated India in developing accurate weather forecasts and laying the groundwork for sustainable energy utilization in the country.

Moreover, she is acknowledged as the “Weather Woman of India.” Due to her groundbreaking contribution, India can now alleviate the effects of climate change.

Background and Family Life of Anna Mani

Anna Modayil Mani was born in Peermade, a part of Travancore and now a part of Kerala, India, to a family of Syrian Christians. Her father, an atheist, worked as a civil engineer.

She was the seventh of eight children in her family and was an enthusiastic reader. Moved by Gandhi’s involvement in the Vaikom Satyagraha and inspired by the nationalist struggle he led, she resolved to exclusively wear khadi garments going forward.

Anna Mani spent most of her childhood immersed in literature, having read nearly every book in Malayalam available in her local library. Instead of accepting the conventional pair of diamond earrings she would have received from her family on her eighth birthday, she requested a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Her life was shaped and influenced by the world of literature, exposing her to new ideas and instilling a strong belief in social justice.

Education of Anna Mani

Mani aspired to become a dance specialist but ended up pursuing a major in physics due to her greater interest in the subject. In 1939, she graduated with honors from Pachaiyappas College in Chennai (formerly known as Madras) with a degree in physics and chemistry.

In 1940, she received a research scholarship from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. In 1945, she embarked on a doctorate in physics at Imperial College in London to specialize in meteorological instruments.

Professional Life of Anna Mani

Upon returning to India in 1948, Anna Mani began her career as a meteorologist with the India Meteorological Department. During her tenure at the Department, she played a pivotal role in developing and manufacturing its weather instruments.

Her exceptional performance led to her appointment as head of the division in 1953, under which her guidance streamlined and standardized over a hundred different weather instrument designs for production.

Anna Mani was among the earliest proponents of alternative energy sources.

In the 1950s, she spearheaded the establishment of a network of solar radiation monitoring stations and authored several publications on renewable energy measurement.

Later in her career, she ascended to the position of Deputy Director General of the India Meteorological Department, holding various crucial roles in the United Nations World Meteorological Organization.

In recognition of her substantial contributions to the field of science, Mani was honored with the INSA K Ramanathan Medal in 1987.

After her retirement, she was appointed as a Trustee at the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore. Additionally, she founded a company specializing in solar and wind power.

M. Venkaiah Naidu, the former Vice President and later President, commended the pioneering work of scientists like her and their efforts in breaking barriers. In 2020, the Government of India announced the establishment of 11 chairs named after eminent Indian women scientists in various fields, aiming to inspire and empower women while giving due recognition to young women researchers excelling in diverse fields. Dr. Anna Mani, an Indian meteorology pioneer, was honored with one such chair.

Moreover, the government presents the Anna Mani Award to a deserving female scientist.

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