About Dr. K. V. Rao

Dr. K. V. Rao was born in Pithapuram in the State of Andhra Pradesh on 21st March 1920. He had his Bachelors education at Government Arts College, Rajahmundry. He did his post-graduation in Chemistry and research for his D.Sc. degree at the Banaras Hindu University under Prof. S. S. Joshi. He was awarded Doctorate in the year 1947. He carried out investigations on a new light effect (Joshi effect) and the nature of “Active Nitrogen”, an intermediary in the synthesis of Ammonia.

Dr Rao's active Scientific career started in 1947. He worked in the Department of Mines and Geology in the erst while Nizam State (1947 – 1952) and in the Geological Survey of India (1952-1978). He organized the Chemical Laboratory of the Department of Mines and Geology, Hyderabad into a full-fledged unit capable of handling diverse modes of analysis. He planned and developed the Regional labs of Geological Survey of India in its Southern and Western Regions. His major role was in planning and developing regional labs and supervision. He organized field and mobile units for rapid analysis at numerous places. His research interests included studies in geochemistry and archeological chemistry and developing rapid methods of geo-chemical analysis.

Dr Rao's work in the Department of Mines in the Nizam State and later in the GSI related to the chemical analysis of diverse Geological materials and the Geochemistry of rocks, ores, water, etc.

Dr Rao was deputed briefly at the US Geological Survey in 1958 under the scientific exchange program between the Govt of India and USA.

Dr. Rao's research contributions are many and are on various subjects. Thus, throughout his scientific career, Dr. Rao's work was splendid by any measure. Some of his major works are mentioned in the following paragraphs.

Most important of them was his work on fluoride bearing waters in A.P., Rajasthan and Gujarat and the work related to incidence of fluorosis, defluoridation of natural waters by Serpentine (a naturally occurring mineral rejected as waste in asbestos mines), designing community defluoridation plants and portable family kits in fluorosis endemic villages. It was found that serpentine was capable of taking up large quantities of fluoride in aqueous solutions.

He realized that defluoridation properties of Serpentine had the potential to treat fluorosis and he engaged with a cross section of scientists and medical professionals to have an inter disciplinary approach to the problem. His defluoridation work influenced medical specialists to successfully use serpentine as a medicine for the treatment of human fluorosis for which no medicine was known till then. Dr. K. J. R. Murthy is one of those pioneering physicians who did this work. Under Dr. Rao's influence, work on fluorosis has been carried out in many scientific departments leading to the organisation of a multidisciplinary International “Symposium on Fluorosis” in 1974.

His other works include:

Geochemical mapping of Godavari river from its origin in Nasik to point of confluence with the Bay of Bengal at Antarvedi in Andhra Pradesh. The focus of the investigation on the Geochemistry of the Godavari river basin to locate the mineralisation sources. This study led to many other studies on quality of river basins and confined areas in subsequent years. Another Geochemical study was done on the Lonar Lake deposits in Buldhana district of Maharashtra to find out the cause of its high salinity.

His research included investigations on the up take and release of trace elements by plants from stand point of their capacity to selectively enrich certain elements and also act as scavengers. The extraordinary capacity of water hyacinth not only to act as a scavenger for some metals but also to take up fluoride in large quantities was recorded.

After retirement from GSI on superannuation, Dr. Rao joined Birla group on invitation from them to start and establish the Birla Archeological and Cultural Research Institute (BACRI) in 1978. His works involved preservation of old / heritage monuments. After seven years of active research, he retired in 1985.

Dr Rao's work in Birla Archeological and Cultural Research Institute was stupendous. He started a research lab from scratch for chemical analysis of complex archeological materials. His studies covered many archeological materials such as stone sculptures, wooden carvings & frames, temple bells, palm leaf books, metallic coins, dating the period of archeological excavations using bone ash obtained from archeological excavations. He studied the effect of SO2 and NOx on marble environmental pollution on Taj Mahal, Charminar, etc. and weathering profiles and preservation of monuments. Gomateswara Statue at Sravana Belgola (Karnataka), Buddhist monuments in Sankaram, Madhukeswara Temple at Mukhalingam, Thousand Pillar Temple at Hanumakonda, the famous Ramappa Temple near Warangal are some such monuments studied. His old Geologist friends collaborated with him in these later studies.

After his retirement from BACRI he was interested in the environmental problems in and around Hyderabad and devoted all his time in trying to find solutions for them.

He was a member of many societies and organisations which include American Chemical Society, Indian Geoscience Association, Indian Society of Engineering, Indian Science Congress, Hyderabad Science Association and Ceramics Research Committee. He was the editor of Geology Section of Telugu Encyclopedia.He participated in many National and International Conferences and was joint convener of International Symposium on Fluorosis. He not only published papers in Indian and International journals of repute but started publication of a bulletin and later journal of Archeological Chemistry.

He started a news-letter titled “Hyderabad Science News-letter” to create awareness about the latest trends in Science and discuss some of the latest research topics. This newsletter was circulated on a monthly basis for nearly a decade in the 1960s.

His parents migrated from Pithapuram in Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad. Dr Rao’s father was man of strong aspirations and he ensured that all siblings were educated and well settled before he himself took study of Law and started his practice. Being the only son, he had to take up family responsibilities and clear the family debts when he started his career. He had to ensure his work and personal life balance was maintained. His issues at home were never reflected in his work / research. He worked with passion and commitment and with absolute honesty. He was stickler for rules and highly disciplined and humane in his approach to his colleagues and staff.

Apart from his scientific research he had deep interest in philosophy, English and Telugu literature and Astrology.

He was attracted to the teachings of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurthi. He attended some talks by Jiddu Krishnamurti in January 1974 and his interest in JK's teachings made him start a club by name “Listener’s Club” with the objectives to provide a forum/avenue for the interested citizens of twin cities to hear his talks and his discussions with the well-known scientists and intellectuals.

He had a great understanding & knowledge of Astrology and used to have an intuitive spirit and analysis of the calculations. However, he confined his study to some relatives and friends only and never used as a commercial process even though he had the divine gift to predict accurately and correctly.

He had immense liking for English and Telugu literature and his passion for reading reflected in his humorous ways to communicate depending upon the situation – quoting the sayings of great writers, He had faith in the divine / almighty and extremely positive about any situation. His philosophical interests perhaps helped to have a positive and optimistic view of life. His personal life has been a very simple one and with down-to-earth thought process. He ensured all his seven children got the best of education. His wife has been an immense support to him, even though she hailed from a rich family she managed with the meagre resources at home.

As a person he was highly respected among all his colleagues, relatives and friends. Many of them used to meet him for his sound advice. His knowledge and interest in varied subjects enabled many to have fruitful discussions on various issues.
Dr. K. V. Rao left for heavenly abode on 27th January 2002 one year after the formation of Dr. K.V. Rao Scientific Society.


Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Synthesis of Ammonia from Active Nitrogen, Proc. Ind. Acad. Sci, 1945, 22.239.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Light Effect in Bromine, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con.1945, Part III. Chem Sec. P.123.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Light Effect in Chlorine Bromine Mixture, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con.1945, Part I Chem. Sec. I.123.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao and K S N Swamy, Oxidation of Hydrogen Chloride by Air Under Electrical Activation, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con.,1945, Part Chem. Sec. pp 12.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Studies of Striations in the Positive Column in the D.C. and A.C. Discharges, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con., 1945, Part III.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, The Electro-synthesis of Potassium Permanganate at Reduced Pressure, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con..1944, Part II Chem. Sec.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Joshi Effect in Air; the Role of Sorbed Chlorine, Proc. Ind. Acad. Sc., 1948, 27.72.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Light Absorption by Iodine Vapour Under Conditions Productive of Joshi Effect, Proc. Ind. Acad. Sc.1949.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Joshi effect in Iodine, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con., 1946, Part III Phys. Sec.P.3.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao and K Narayana Swamy, Influence of X-rays on the After-glow of Active Nitrogen, Proc, Ind. Sc. Con., 1946, Part III Phys. sec. P.34.

Dr. K Venkateswara Rao, Physico-chemical Properties of Clays, Hyderabad Geological Series. Bull No.7, 1950, pp.16-52.

K Venkateswara Rao and G Jhingran, Lonar lake and its Salinity, Rec. Geol. Survey. India.1962, Vol. 85, pt.3 p.

K Venkateswara Rao, A Note on the Abundance of Elements, Rec. Geol. Survey. India.1962, Vol. 87, pt.3 p.651.

K Venkateswara Rao and K Venkaji, Heavy Metals in Waters, Misc. Publication of Geol. Survey. India No.14,1969,0-13 p.144.

K Venkateswara Rao, Hydrothermal Alterations of Anorthite, Res. Geol. Survey.Ind.1963, Vol.93 pt 2 p.249.

K Venkateswara Rao and M S Balasundaram, Average Value of Trace elements in the Principal Rock Formation in the Godavari River Basin, India, Proc. Int. Geol.Cong.1965 Part, XVI, P.424-28.

K Venkateswara Rao and A K Khandekar, Eichborinis as an Indicator Plant for Cu, Pb, Zn, Misc. Publication of Geol. Survey. India. No 16, Base Metals (Part II),1972, pp731-37.

K Venkateswara Rao and M S Balasundaram, Chemical Quality of Godavari River Water, Presented at the symposium held by Indian Geo. Science Assn.1966.

K Venkateswara Rao, I Purushottam, A K Khandekar, D Vidyanatham and P Francis, Defluoridation of Natural Waters by Serpentine, Curr.Sci.1972,41 p 241.

K Venkateswara Rao, A K Khandekar and D Vaidyanatham, Uptake of Fluoride by Water Hyacinth, Ind. Jour. Expt. Biol.1973, Vol II pp 68-69.

K Venkateswara Rao, On the Possible Role of Defluoridation Agents on Treatment of Fluorosis, Proc. Sym. Fluorosis Hyderabad 1974, 471-475.

K Venkateswara Rao, D Raja Reddy, K Satyanarayana, S A Khader, P Pentaiah and G Narasimha Rao, Trial of Intravenous Magnesium Hydroxide in Fluorosis, Neurology. India.1974, 12, 39-41.

K Venkateswara Rao, D Purushottam and DVaidyanadham, Uptake of Fluoride by Serpentine, Geochimca Acta, Cosmochimca Acta, 1975,39 pp 1403-11.

K Venkateswara Rao and B V S R Murty, Gallium in Some of the Sedimentary Rocks in Andhra Pradesh, Mysore and Kerala States, Presented at the symposium held by Proc. Indian. Geo Sc. Acad (1975).

K Venkateswara Rao, Uptake of Fluoride by Magnesium Trisilicate, Fluoride, 13, 75-80.

K Venkateswara Rao, On Weathering and Preservation of Granite Statue-Part I, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 1,1979, pp 1-12.

K Venkateswara Rao, On Weathering and Preservation of Granite Statue-Part II, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 2,1980, pp 1-6.

K Venkateswara Rao and G Babu Rao, Effect of Sulphur Dioxide Pollution on Marble, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 2,1980, pp 1-15.

K Venkateswara Rao and V Janaki, Incidence of Some Trace Elements in the Weathered and Unweathered Zones of Stone Sculptures, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 2, 1981, pp.17-26.

K Venkateswara Rao, D V V Rao and D C Reddy, On Indian Temple Bells of 11th Century A.D, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 2,1981, pp-27-35.

K Venkateswara Rao and K Annapoorna, On Dating Bones by their Fluorine Content, Birla Archeol. Cult. Res. Bull, 2, 1981, pp-37-45.