Prof. Amulya Kumar N Reddy
Amulya has played many roles -- cricketer,
electrochemist, energy analyst, practitioner of rural energy, pioneer in
appropriate technology, spokesman for sustainable development, campaigner
against nuclear energy for power and/or weapons and respected teacher.
In 1973, at the age of 43, after an
18-year-long career in electrochemistry (when he could start
from "zero" and derive any one equation in the two volumes of
the text-book “Modern Electrochemistry”), Amulya decided to quit
the subject. He decided to burn his bridges with electrochemistry and set
up the center called Application of Science & Technology to Rural
Areas (ASTRA) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
was a dual society with ... islands of elite affluence amidst vast oceans
of poverty of the masses ...", this poverty was primarily due to
inadequate income-generating employment in the rural countryside and
employment would not come from capital-intensive industrialization.
I attacked Indian science and technology for firmly allying itself
with the elitist pattern of industrialization and demanded that it should
devote itself to the generation of an alternative pattern of
capital-saving labour-intensive technologies of relevance to the rural
From ‘Choice of Alternative Technologies’, Amulya 1973)
Looking back over 32 years, one sees that
Amulya has played a key role in innovative initiatives, which have
far-reaching impact and high potential.
that Science & Technology must be focused on local development needs.
flesh and blood to rural energy systems.
an alternative paradigm that suited “Technology for Sustainable
the DEFENDUS paradigm to areas like power sector planning, rural energy
systems, demand side management and transport.
gender issues in energy.
importantly, catalysing and sustaining a network of researchers from
developing countries to address their own issues.
Two autobiographical articles by Amulya
provide an insight into his life till 2001. They can be accessed at: (The making of a
socially-concerned scientist: personal reflections of a maverick
making of an energy analyst: some personal reflections.) A brief
outline is given below.
Amulya was born on October 21, 1930, at
Bangalore, India. He developed a passion for Chemistry at St. Joseph’s
School, Bangalore. The school’s motto:
Faith and Toil.
He did his BSc (Honours) and MSc in Physical Chemistry from Central
College, Bangalore. Amulya was at Imperial College, London, during
1955-58, where he took his PhD in Applied Physical Chemistry.
Scientific Officer, Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI),
Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu.
Post-doctoral fellow at John Harrison Laboratory,
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.
1991: Indian Institute of Science (IISc),
Joined IISc as Assistant Professor in the
Department of Inorganic & Physical Chemistry. Then he became:
Convenor, Cell for the Application of
Science & Technology to Rural Areas (ASTRA) and finally Chairman,
Department of Management Studies.
Sabbatical at Nairobi, Kenya on the United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP).
Sabbatical at Center for Energy and Environmental
Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
Set up the International Energy Initiative (IEI) at
Bangalore and was its founder president. IEI is a Southern-conceived,
Southern-led, Southern-located South-North partnership. IEI is a small,
independent, non-governmental, public-purpose, international organization,
which networks existing energy-related institutions and groups,
particularly those functioning in the developing countries.
Retired as president of IEI.
Currently at Bangalore, involved with IEI
as the publisher of its quarterly journal Energy
for Sustainable Development.
Amulya has written extensively in various
Indian and international journals, has traveled widely, and spoken on many
platforms. He has over 290 publications in the areas of Technology, Energy
and Ethics. These include research papers, popular articles, reports and
for Sustainable Development, the book he wrote with Goldemberg,
Johansson and Williams, is an articulation of the new energy paradigm that
was recognised by the Volvo Award for the year 2000. During his electrochemistry career, Amulya co-authored the
two-volume text-book Modern
Electrochemistry by Bockris and Reddy. This has been called the Bible
of Electrochemistry. This site houses his non-electrochemistry papers,
articles, presentations and other short pieces.