Arcot Ramachandran obtained his MS and PhD from Purdue University and joined Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1950 as Faculty Member in the newly established Department of Power Engineering. He was Research Engineer (1954-55) in Babcock & Wilcox R&D Centre in Renfrew, Scotland, and postdoctoral Fellow (1955-56) in Columbia and Purdue universities. He also participated in the Summer Session on Advances in Heat Transfer in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On his return to IISc, he became Head of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering (1957), and Industrial Management (1965). Thereafter, he was invited to become the Director of IIT Madras in 1967. He also received Honorary Doctorates in Engineering from USA, Germany, Italy, and several Indian universities..
Academic and Research Achievements: During his tenure at IIT Madras, the Institute attained reputation as a Center of Excellence. In 1973, he was invited to be Secretary to Government of India in the newly established Department of Science and Technology. He implemented the first Science and Technology Plan prepared by NCST. He also set up the National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad. He was then transferred to Department of Space; Ocean Science and Technology Agency (OSTA) (now the Department of Ocean Development); Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC); Environmental Planning Coordination and Research (now Ministry of Environment and Forests); New and Non-conventional Sources of Energy) (now Ministry of New and Renewable Energy); National Information System for Science and Technology; and the Asia Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (UN-APCTT) in Bangalore (now relocated at Delhi). He is recognized as architect of the National Programme for Research and Development in Renewable Sources of Energy. A collection of selected articles and lectures delivered by him was published in two books: (i) The Urban Challenge in 2003, and (ii) Technology, Environment and Sustainable Development in 2005. .
Other Contributions: Dr Ramachandran was elected Chairman of the Preparatory Committee of UN Conference on Science and Technology (1977) and also appointed Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the newly established United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (1978). During his tenure, United Nations approved many of his initiatives like observance of World Habitat Day on the first Monday of October every year, the international year of Shelter for the Homeless and the Global Strategy for Shelter with adequate shelter for all (1987). In 1990, he launched the Sustainable Cities Programme in 12 cities. He also established a school of research in heat and mass transfer, and initiated a number of postgraduates programs in mechanical engineering at IISc..
Awards and Honours: Dr Ramachandran was recipient of many awards, notably Heat Transfer Memorial Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1986), World Habitat Award by the Building and Social Foundation of UK (1994), SS Bhatnagar Gold Medal for Science and Technology (1998), INAE Award (2000), Sir M Visvesvaraya Award for Lifetime Achievement in Engineering (2002), Padma Bhushan (2003), and World Federation of Engineering Organizations Award for Excellence in Engineering (2005). He was elected Honorary Fellow of the Indian Institute of Science, Institution of Engineers (India), Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, etc. He has been Chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi and Honorary Visiting Professor in the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. .