Meet scientist Nallathamby Kalaiselvi, India's first woman to head CSIR
Senior scientist Nallathamby Kalaiselvi has become the first woman to head India's top scientific body, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). She has been appointed as the director general of CSIR on Saturday. Kalaiselvi is well-known for her work on lithium-ion batteries. Previously, she was the director of CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. Here are more details on Kalaiselvi.
Kalaiselvi takes over the CSIR post from Shekhar Mande, who superannuated in April. Following Mande's retirement, Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, was given the additional charge of CSIR. Meanwhile, Kalaiselvi will also serve as secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). She will keep the position for at least two years or until further orders.
Dr N Kalaiselvi has been appointed as the DG, CSIR Secretary, DSIR.— CSIR (@CSIR_IND) August 6, 2022
Hearty congratulations to Dr Kalaiselvi from the CSIR Family.@PMOIndia @DrJitendraSingh @PIB_India @DDNewslive pic.twitter.com/oHIZr9uoMG
This is not the first time Kalaiselvi has created history. In February 2019, she rose through the ranks of the CSIR to become the first woman scientist to lead the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI), breaking the proverbial glass ceiling in Tamil Nadu. She began her research career as an entry-level scientist at the same institute.
Kalaiselvi was brought up in Ambasamudhram, a small village in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district. She attended a Tamil medium school, which she says helped her understand science topics in college. Her research work, spanning over 25 years, has mostly been focused on electrochemical power systems, including the creation of electrode materials and the electrochemical assessment of in-house developed electrode materials.
Kalaiselvi's research interests include lithium and lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, and waste-to-wealth electrodes and electrolytes for energy storage and electrocatalytic applications. She is now working on the development of sodium-ion/lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors that are commercially feasible. Kalaiselvi was also instrumental in advancing the National Mission for Electric Mobility. She is the author of more than 125 research papers and has six patents.
The Government of India founded the CSIR as an autonomous entity in September 1942. It has grown to become India's largest research and development institution. It operates 38 laboratories or institutions, 39 outreach centers, three innovation centres, and five units around the country, employing about 14,000 people, including 4,600 scientists and 8,000 technical and support professionals.