Ajit Ram Verma (1921-2009) was an Indian physicist. For his work in crystallography, he was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 1964. He was Director of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) for almost seventeen years (1965-1982).
Ajit Ram Verma was born on 20 September 1921 at Dalmau near Lucknow to Hans Raj Verma, a Railway official, and Devi Rani. After early education at several places including Allahabad and Meerut, he enrolled in Allahabad University, where he took his B.Sc. (1940) and M.Sc. (1942) degrees.
Verma taught briefly at Delhi University before moving to the University of London, where he earned his Ph.D. working on unimolecular growth spirals on the surfaces of crystals. On his return to India, he served as Reader in Physics at Delhi University for four years (1955-1959). In 1959 he moved to BHU, Varanasi, as Professor and Head of Department. In 1965, he was appointed as Director, NPL where he remained until 1982, making him the longest-serving Director of NPL. Subsequently, for three years, he served as Visiting Professor at IIT Delhi. Later, he was Emeritus Scientist of CSIR and INSA Senior Scientist at NPL.
Verma's early work on spiral growth of crystals has been featured on the Nature physics portal under the Looking Back section.
Verma was one of the founding members of the Society for Scientific Values (SSV), a voluntary body set up to emphasise "the need to promote integrity, objectivity and ethical values in the pursuit of science". The first meeting of SSV was held in June 1984, and it was formally registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act (1860) on 18 August 1986. P. N. Tiwari, the founder Secretary of SSV, writes, "Dr. Verma, not only expressed his clear and certain views about the ethical and spiritual values that one has to have for doing genuine and good science but he also expressed his equally certain, frank and strong views about the kind of action that should be taken against a scientist who is found guilty of misconduct in research and publication."