Anna Mani: 10 facts about the 'Weather Woman of India'

"Happy 104th birthday, Anna Mani! Your life's work inspired brighter days for this world," Google said.
Google doodle on Anna Modayil Mani
Google doodle on Anna Modayil ManiTwitter

CHENNAI: Google on Tuesday paid tribute to Indian physicist and meteorologist Anna Modayil Mani’s 104th birth anniversary with a colorful and whimsical doodle dedicated to her, who was one of India’s first female scientists and served as the Deputy Director General of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

"Happy 104th birthday, Anna Mani! Your life's work inspired brighter days for this world," Google said.

Here are a few facts about the 'Weather Woman of India':

  • Anna Modayil Mani was born on August 23 in 1918 in Peermade, Kerala (Travancore then) to a Syrian Christian family. She initially wanted to pursue dancing but opted for a career in physics because she was interested in the subject.

  • She was a voracious reader from childhood and had read almost every book at her local library by the early age of 12 years and broke out from her typical upper-class professional household. Even on her eighth birthday, she declined to accept her family's customary gift of a set of diamond earrings and opted instead for a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica.

World Meteorological Organization
  • In 1939, she graduated from the Presidency College in Chennai (then Madras), with a B.Sc Honors degree in physics and chemistry. Anna Mani taught at WCC for a year and won a scholarship for post-graduate studies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

  • Under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Sir CV Raman, she studied spectroscopy, specialising in diamonds and rubies, and between 1942 and 1945, Mani published five papers, completed her PhD. dissertation, and started a graduate program at Imperial College, London.

  • Impressed by Gandhi during Vaikom satyagraha and inspired by his nationalist movement, she took to wearing only khadi garments.

Anna Mani at the International radiosonde comparison in Payerne, Switzerland, 1956
Anna Mani at the International radiosonde comparison in Payerne, Switzerland, 1956World Meteorological Organization
  • In 1948, she returned to India and started working for the India Meteorological Department (IMD), where she helped the country design and manufacture its own weather instruments.

  • She was also an early advocate of alternative energy sources.

  • Throughout the 1950s, she established a network of solar radiation monitoring stations and published several papers on sustainable energy measurement, and in 1987, she won the INSA KR Ramanathan Medal for her remarkable contributions to science.

  • She also held important positions in the United Nations World Meteorological Organisation and after her retirement, she was appointed as a Trustee of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore.

  • On her 100th birth anniversary in 2018, in recognition of her legacy, the World Meteorological Organisation published her profile and interview in which, she said that she was fortunate to not experience professional discrimination in what was considered a man's world. She also stated that she did not feel either penalised or privileged for being female.

Anna Modayil Mani passed away on August 16, 2001, in Thiruvananthapuram, and her life's work as a physicist and meteorologist made it possible for Indian agencies to accurately predict the weather conditions of the country in the present day.

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