Anna Mani, the meteorologist whose work helped kickstart weather forecasting in India, is honored in the latest Google Doodle.

Anna Mani was born in Peermade, Kerala, India, on August 23, 1918 — meaning today would have been her 104th birthday. Breaking from the traditional gender roles, Mani surrounded herself with literature, reading almost all of the books in her local library by the age of 12.

Her drive to learn carried Anna Mani through both high school and earning a degree from Presidency College, Madras. After this, Mani’s post-graduate studies initially focused on spectroscopy — the science of colors, spectrums of light, and waves — particularly as related to rubies and diamonds. Despite publishing five papers and completing a full dissertation, Anna Mani was denied a Ph.D. as she did not have a master’s degree in physics.

In 1945, Anna Mani moved to England to study at Imperial College, London. While she initially intended to continue pursuing physics, Mani ended up learning a great deal about meteorology and the specialty tools used to analyze and forecast the weather.

Anna Mani brought what she learned back to India in 1948 by working for the India Meteorological Department. There, she led the effort to simplify and standardize the designs of over 100 different tools/instruments used in weather analysis. Mani’s new designs were used to help India create its own meteorological tools instead of importing from England.

By 1953, Anna Mani had become the head of her division, rising above her male colleagues, and later rose to the rank of Deputy Director General of the India Meteorological Department. Throughout the decade, Mani’s interests expanded to include alternative energy, particularly wind and solar power generation. Related to this research, she also developed a tool to measure the level of ozone in the air.

Anna Mani remained dedicated to the sciences until her retirement in 1976. In recognition of her work, she was awarded the Indian government’s K. R. Ramanathan Medal in 1987. Anna Mani passed away on August 16, 2001.

To celebrate her many contributions to science and particularly the study of weather in India, Google is honoring Anna Mani’s 104th birthday with a homepage Doodle. The artwork for the doodle consists of five circular vignettes of Mani’s life and studies, along with the scientist herself dressed in green, all cleverly arranged to look like the usual Google logo.

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Kyle Bradshaw

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