Raja V. Ramani, Emeritus Professor of Mining and Geo Environmental Engineering, has been awarded the Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur for October 2014 to February 2015. The Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Programme awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Programme.
A graduate of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, Ramani went to Penn State, USA, in 1966 after six years of engineering and managerial experience in underground coal mines in India. At Penn State, he was the chair of the Mineral Engineering Management programme from 1974 to 2001, Head of the Department of Mineral Engineering from 1987 to 1998, and Director of the Miner Training Programme from 1992 to 2001. He co-directed the Generic Mineral Technology Centre on Respirable Dust from 1983 to 1998 and the Standard Oil Centre of Excellence from 1983 to 1989.
Ramani has taught undergraduate, graduate and continuing education courses in mining engineering and mineral management. He has directed 80 graduate students to advanced degrees in mineral engineering and has authored more than 200 research papers and more than 50 research reports. Ramani has a wide range of research interests covering the health, safety, production, environmental and management aspects of mining operations. His research activities have involved theoretical and practical aspects, mathematical and computer modeling, and experimental work in the laboratory and mines.
With funding from the US Bureau of Mines, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Science Foundation, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Surface Mining, and other federal and state agencies and industry, Ramani has done extensive work in such areas as ventilation, airborne respirable dust control, mining methods, mine systems engineering, resource assessment, investment evaluation, cost control, human resource development, environmental engineering and mineral management.
Ramani has served as consultant for national and international agencies (United Nations, World Bank, National Safety Council etc.) and mining companies worldwide on health, safety, productivity and environmental issues. He has been appointed to technical and advisory panels by the US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Interior and US Department of Labour. In 2002, he chaired the PA Governor’s Commission on Abandoned Mine Voids and Mine Safety that was set up immediately following the Quecreek Mine inundation incident and rescue. He has chaired two committees for the National Research Council and has been a member of five more.
Ramani was named a distinguished alumnus of the Indian School of Mines in 1978, and in 1997, was awarded the doctor of science degree (honoris causa) by the school. In 1988, he was elected distinguished member of SME. In 1989, he was awarded a senior Fulbright Fellow Award to the Soviet Union and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the International Council for APCOM. He is the recipient of the Eavenson (1991), Stefanko (1993) and Hartman (1996) awards from SME, the Environmental Conservation (1990), Mineral Industry Education (1999) and Erskine Ramsay (2005) awards from AIME, and the Percy Nichols Joint Society Award (1992) from AIME-ASME.
The first recipient (1986) of the Educational Excellence Award of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America in 2013, Raja V. Ramani received its Donald Kingery Memorial Award for his contributions to the health and safety of the miners. In 2013, he also received the Prof. S.K. Bose Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching Mining Engineering from the Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India.