Anna was India’s pioneering female scientist who made significant contributions in the field of solar radiation, ozone and wind energy instrumentation.
She made significant contributions in the field of meteorological instrumentation. She conducted research and published numerous papers on solar radiation, ozone and wind energy measurements.
Anna Mani was born in Travancore. By the age of 8, she had read almost all the books in Malayalam at her public library and, by the time she was 12, all the books in English. She later wanted to pursue medicine, but she decided in favour of physics because she liked the subject. In 1939, she graduated from the Presidency College in Madras, with a B.Sc Honors degree in physics and chemistry.
She authored five research papers, but she was not granted a PhD because she did not have a master’s degree in physics. Then she moved to Britain to study pursue physics, but she ended up studying meteorological instruments at Imperial College London.
After returning to India in 1948, she joined the Meteorological department in Pune. In 1960, Mani started her work on measuring atmospheric ozone, before the world even understood the ozone layer’s functions. She designed an instrument – ozonesonde – to measure atmospheric ozone. She also set up a meteorological observatory at the Thumba rocket launching facility. She published numerous research papers on meteorological instrumentation.
My being a woman had absolutely no bearing on what I chose to do with my life.
She retired as the deputy director-general of the Indian Meteorological department in 1976.