Meteorologist and Physicist, Honored With a Google Doodle on Her 104th Birthday
A meteorologist and physicist, Anna Modayil Mani retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department. She also held various positions in the Raman Research Institute. She has authored many books and articles on various subjects. In addition, she was a visiting professor at the institute. Her achievements made her a highly sought-after speaker in India. She is remembered for her contributions to science and technology.
Anna Modayil Mani
Distinguished meteorologist and former Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department, Anna Modayil Mani is honored with a Google Doodle on her 104th birthday. She made a remarkable contribution in the fields of solar radiation, ozone, and wind energy instrumentation. She was born and raised in Travancore, a town in Kerala, and her father owned vast cardamom estates.
The seventh child of eight children, Anna Modayil Mani had ambitions to become a dancer but chose to pursue science instead. As a teenager, she refused a gift of diamond earrings to study physics. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in physics from Presidency College in Chennai, then obtained a scholarship to Imperial College in London where she finished her post-graduate work. She specialised in meteorological instruments and won the first place in her class.
The first stage of Anna Mani’s educational life was a brief period at a convent school in Kerala. She was the seventh child in her family and loved to read and write since childhood. Her father was an engineer and her mother a homemaker. The education system in Kerala was very conservative and girls were rarely educated. However, Anna Mani’s mother encouraged her to study and she ended up getting a B.Sc. degree in physics from the Women’s Christian College in Madras in 1939. From here, she devoted a year to research at Imperial College in London, where she became a demonstrator in physics.
During her education, Anna Mani was initially attracted to socialist ideas and politics. She was especially inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Vaikom in Kerala. Later on, she became a committed nationalist, wearing khadi, a symbol of her nationalist sympathies. But despite her conservative upbringing, Anna Mani continued to champion her homeland. Even after retiring, she devoted her life to meaningful advancements in India.
Despite being 82 years old, Anna Mani did not marry. She joined the Meteorological Department at Pune in 1948 and became a research scientist. While she was there, she published several papers and arranged meteorological instruments imported from Britain. She was a member of the International Ozone Association and was a member of the International Union of Meteorology. In 1951, she was appointed head of the department and was responsible for a wide range of projects. She wanted to make India self-sufficient in weather instruments, and she became the first Indian to do so. She helped standardise over 100 different weather instruments and set up solar radiation stations in India. She was also a part of the Indian army, where she was in charge of a unit of 121 soldiers in the 1950s.
After graduating from Pachaiyappas College in Madras, Anna Mani won a scholarship to pursue further studies in the United Kingdom at the Imperial College, London. She went on to become one of the first scientists in India to pursue studies on renewable energy. She later founded a company that produced instruments for using solar energy. Her work on meteorological instruments was widely published and she was awarded a PhD. She also taught physics at the Imperial College in London for a year and a half.
The extraordinary meteorologist and physicist Anna Mani was the subject of a recent Google Doodle. The doodle features Anna Mani working in front of weather images on Google’s home page. The doodle was released on Anna Mani’s 104th birthday and quickly became a trending topic on Google. The renowned Indian scientist devoted her life to her career and earned the nickname “Weather Woman” for her dedication to the subject. Her work has made it possible for the country of India to make accurate weather forecasts.
As a child, Anna Mani spent hours immersed in books. By age twelve, she had read every book at the local library. Her passion for books would serve her well later on in life. She also enjoyed reading foreign languages. She even spent time studying Russian, Japanese, and Greek. This love of books was evident in her professional and personal life. While Anna Mani’s parents tried to train her for a higher level of education, Anna Mani’s love of books kept her occupied.
Anna Mani was born in 1922 in Bengaluru and graduated from Delhi University. She subsequently worked for several organizations, including the World Meteorological Organisation. She became a distinguished meteorologist and was honoured with the K. R. Ramanathan Medal, given by the World Meteorological Organization. She remained committed to her work until her death on 16 August 2001 in Thiruvananthapuram.
Anna Mani was very dedicated to her profession and had been associated with several bodies, including the Indian National Science Academy, the American Meteorological Society, the International Solar Energy Society, and the World Meteorological Organization. In 1975, she was elected an advisor to Egypt, and retired as the World Meteorological Organization’s Deputy Director General in 1976. Anna Mani also loved reading books and devoted much of her time to science. She never married, due to the high demands of her work.