Professor Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao, world-wide known as C. N. R. Rao, was born on June 30, 1934 in Bangalore, India. His academic and professional career has been undoubtedly shaped by numerous influences, though a few institutions stand out due to their deeper associations with him over the years. While he was already active in scientific research as a Masters student, his arrival on the global scientific stage can be traced to his stay at Purdue University as a PhD student followed by his stay at University of California, Berkeley, in the years 1954–1959. Since then, Prof. Rao has been working in India, first at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore from 1959 to 1963, followed by a position at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur from 1963 to 1976, afterwards he again went to the Indian Institute of Science. In 1989, he established the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. Renowned scientists from all over the world contribute to this Special Issue of ZAAC dedicated to Professor C. N. R. Rao on the Occasion of His 80th Birthday.