Anna Mani: Pioneering Indian Meteorologist | AtomsTalk

Anna Mani (Anna Modayil Mani) was an Indian physicist and a prominent meteorologist. She was one of India's Pioneering Women Scientists.

Mani was the former Deputy Director General of Indian Meteorological Department and further served as Visiting Professor at the Raman Research Institute.

She earned by making several contributions in the field solar radiation, meteorological instrumentation, wind energy measurements.

Early life

Anna Mani was born on 23 August 1918 in Peermade, Kerala in an old Syrian Christian family. She grew up in Travancore, a former princely state in southern India, now part of the state of Kerala.

She was seventh of eight siblings. Anna Mani's father was a civil engineer who owned large cardamom estates in the region.

Mani came from a prosperous family where the male children were groomed for high-level careers, while the daughters were groomed for marriage. But Mani was different from her upbringing; she was a voracious reader.

She had access to a local public library and by the age of eight she had read almost all the books in Malayalam and by the time she was twelve she had read almost all the English books.

Mahatma Gandhi inspired Mani deeply and she was impressed by Gandhi's activities during his Vaikom Satyagraha. To support Gandhi's initiative, she started wearing only khadi garments.

In her family there was a ritual of a customary gift when a girl reaches the age of eight. She was offered a set of diamond earrings and she refused to take it, opting instead for a set with Encyclopædia Britannica.

Young Mani surrounded by books opened her mind and gave her new ideas to think outside the box. Books imbued her with a deep sense of social justice that informed and shaped her life.

By her actions, she proved the quote:

All Readers are not Leaders But all Leaders are Readers Click To Tweet


Anna Mani completed all the books from her local library by her teenage self and taught herself quite a few things.

Anna Mani
(Photo source: RRI Digital Repository)

It was the first source of vast knowledge that gave her thought process a direction.

In 1939 she graduated from Pachaiyappa's College in Madras obtains a bachelor's degree. degree in physics.

She was also awarded a scholarship in 1940 for research at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

[1945wentto[1945gickhontillImperial College, London to study physics but ended up specializing in meteorological instruments.


Anna Mani began her research career under the guidance of a distinguished scientist and Nobel laureate SIR CV Raman at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Mani worked very hard on the spectroscopy of diamonds and rubies and ended up publishing five research articles and to receive a doctoral thesis.

Because she did not have a master's degree, she was refused a doctorate even though she had plenty of research work.

After completing her research, she left India and pursued a specialization in meteorological instruments at Imperial College, London.

After returning to India, she joined the Indian Meteorology Department (IMD).

At IMD, she standardized drawings of more than a hundred weather-related instruments for production.

She helped our nation to utilize solar energy by setting up monitoring stations across the country to monitor solar radiation.

She also contributed to design and manufacture of many solar instruments. Today, as India takes the lead in setting up solar and wind farms across the country, some of the credit goes to Anna Mani.

Anna Mani also published various articles on everything from atmospheric ozone to the need for international instrument comparisons and national standardization.

In 1960, Anna Mani understood the importance of the ozone layer and began to study it much before anyone else in the entire world.

She is the designer of Ozone probe, an instrument for measuring atmospheric ozone. She also set up a meteorological observatory at the Thumba rocket launch facility.

Her books on “Solar heating system” are highly appreciated all over the world.

Her second book “The Solar Radiation Data Handbook for India” (1980), which have become standard reference guides for solar engineers worldwide.

I should be most unhappy to wake up with no prospect of anything to do, but when I have done that I enjoy reading and listening to music.” she said in a 1991 interview.


In 1987, Anna Mani was a recipient of INSA KR Ramanathan Medal.

In 1975 she served as a WMO consultant in Egypt.

She retired as Deputy Director General at the Indian Meteorological Department in 1976.

Anna Mani at her farewell ceremony at RRI
Anna Mani at her farewell ceremony at RRI (Photo Source: RRI Digital Repository)


IN 1994, she suffered a severe stroke that left her immobile for the rest of her life. She went away August 16, 2001, in Thiruvananthapuram.

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