Rajeshwari Chatterjee

Rajeshwari Chatterjee
Rajeshwari Chatterjee
Mysore, Karnataka in India
Death date
Associated organizations
Indian Institute of Science in the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering
Fields of study
Physics, Microwave Emissions, Antennas
Mountbatten Prize, J.C. Bose Memorial Prize, Ramlal Wadhwa Award, The Meghnad Saha Award


Rajeshwari Chatterjee was an Indian scientist and academic, and the first woman engineer from Karnataka. She contributed to the scientific and engineering communities, and served as a venerable educator. She became the Chairmen for the Department of Electro-communication Engineering at the Indian Institute of Sciences. [1] [2]

Madam Rajeshwari was born January 24th, 1922 to a upper class family in Nanjanagud near Mysore, Karnataka in India. During this time period in India's history, it was rare for women to receive an education. Women often weren't given the opportunity to pursue their own desires, and were forced to abide by cultural norms.[3] However, she belonged to a wealthy family, and was able to pursue her educational interests in the "Special English School" set up by her grandmother Kamalamma Dasappa, who was a social reformer for women in India.

After receiving her education in the "Special English School", Rajeshwari went on to attend the Central College in Bangalore, and in 1939 she received her B.S (Hons) and M.S.c degrees in Mathematics and Physics, receiving both with first rank from the Mysore University in 1942. [4] As a post graduate she attended an interview at the Indian Institute of Science for a project fellowship. There was a heavy debate on whether or not to accept her, as she was the first woman candidate to attend the interview. After hesitation, Sir C V Raman, the director at the time, accepted her for the post of project fellow.

After India received its independence on August 15th, 1947, the Government of India invited applications for scholarships to pursue higher studies aboard, with the condition to serve the nation for three years after completing one's education. Rajeshwari took the opportunity to study at the University of Michigan with a scholarship to complete her Masters in Electrical Engineering, receiving her Ph.D in 1954. She arrived back to India to serve her time in the Indian Institute of Science as faculty in Electrical Engineering. [5]

In 1953, Rajeshwari came to be known as Mrs. Chatterjee after marrying to Sisir Kumar Chatterjee, a fellow scientist and engineer. They went on to join the Department of Communication Engineering in the Indian Institute of Sciences. Working there, she published seven technical books and mentored various students, and developed the first microwave research lab within India. [6]

Chatterjee became a professor and received the position of Chairman in the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering. Teaching electromagnetic theory, and experimenting on electron tube circuits and microwave technology, she guided 20 Ph.D students while publishing over 100 research papers and seven books on Microwave Engineering and Antennas. She had won numerous awards for her contributions, and retired in 1982. After retirement she started working within social programs, mainly with the Indian Association for Women's Studies, addressing many issues on caste segregation, gender discrimination, and peoples who suffer from poor financial backgrounds.[7] She passed away on September 3rd, 2010.