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Dr. Varanasi Rama Murthy(1933 – 2012)

Dr. Varanasi Rama Murthy passed away on October 12, 2012, in San Clemente, CA, under the loving care of his daughter, V. Katyayini Murthy, his son, V. Aanand Murthy, and three of his younger brothers.
Dr Varanasi Rama Murthy was born on July 2, 1933, to late V. Ramabrahmam and V. Yasoda in Andhra Pradesh, India. Rama graduated with honors from Indian School of Mines in 1954. He was the first member of the Varanasi family to arrive in USA on a scholarship to Yale University. He earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1957 in Geology and Geophysics.
Rama joined University of Minnesota in 1965 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech and assistant professor at Scripps Institute in La Jolla specializing in Isotope research in Geochemistry. From 1965 to 2006 Rama achieved high distinction in research, teaching and administration during his tenure at the University of Minnesota where he rose to the ranks of Distinguished Professor emeritus, Dean of Institute of Technology to Vice President and Vice Provost. During this period, he garnered many honors such as being selected to study rocks from the Apollo mission to the Moon in 1969. He was elected as a Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU) in recognition of his exceptional scientific contributions and eminence in the Earth and space sciences.
Since 2007 Rama was a Research Professor with Institute of Meteoritics at the University of New Mexico and continued to study application of Isotope Geochemistry and trace-element systematics to understand a variety of geological and planetary science problems.
Rama leaves a legacy of his extraordinary scientific contributions, his exceptional teaching and mentoring of young scientists in his field, his active and valuable involvement with AGU, American Association of University Professors, and many committees.
Above all, Rama is remembered by his family and friends as a charming, fun loving, approachable, gracious and gentle but sharp witted man whose skills as a negotiator and storyteller were legendary. He was much loved and admired by the younger generations of family and friends who were quietly mentored by Rama. He leaves a great void in the lives of his loving family in USA and India, especially his grandson Valen. He will be deeply missed by friends and family alike.
His children request any donations or gifts be given toward an earth and environmental scholarship in honor of V. Rama Murthy made to: University of Minnesota for the Department of Earth Sciences, College of Science & Engineering, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 624-1333 or American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20009, (202) 462-6900.
Published in La Jolla Light on Nov. 8, 2012
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