Satish Dhawan: The Father of Experimental Fluid Dynamics in India

It was in 1946 that Dhawan arrived at the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT, now Graduate Aerospace Laboratories), wanting to work with Hans Liepmann. But the Indian students Liepmann had worked with until then had given him the impression that “perhaps the select group that came to Caltech from India […]

A Centre Dedicated to the Jigsaw Puzzle of Hypersonic Research

In 2011, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) signed an MoU with BrahMos Aerospace to create a new centre for studying an exciting aspect of scientific research in today’s world: hypersonic flight. The Centre of Excellence for Hypersonics was inaugurated that year by APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India and eminent aerospace scientist. Although […]

‘No one can match our performance’: S Gopalakrishnan

An interview with the Chairperson of Aerospace Engineering Department on its 75th anniversary IISc’s Department of Aerospace Engineering has around 240 students and a faculty strength of 35. It runs multiple research centres, has close links with HAL, NAL, ISRO, DRDO and other government agencies as well as with the private sector, and works on […]

Satish Dhawan (left) and Roddam Narasimha (centre), with KR Narayanan (Photo courtesy: Roddam Narasimha)

‘Dhawan introduced a new personality to IISc’: Roddam Narasimha

Roddam Narasimha is the DST Year-of-Science Professor at the Engineering Mechanics Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. Narasimha, a former professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at IISc, was one of Satish Dhawan’s earliest students. In this excerpt from a wide-ranging interview, he shares his memories of Dhawan.   What was […]

How IISc Launched Aerospace Research in India

And how its alumni shaped it in the years that followed IISc set up its Department of Aeronautical Engineering in 1942 – bang in the middle of World War II. It was the year that the Nazis were to begin acting on their horrific plan for a “Final Solution”, that the Japanese military strengthened its […]

Shock Tunnels Test More than Just Spacecraft Models

One of the largest shock tunnels in a university setup, India’s first hypersonic shock tunnel (HST) was built in 1973 at IISc by NM Reddy, who had studied under Irvine Israel Glass and Satish Dhawan. After holding several positions abroad, Reddy returned to India in 1970 and introduced shock tubes and shock tunnels in India […]

‘The Aerospace Department, Like the Whole of IISc, Was a Quieter Place Then’: Rama Govindarajan

Rama Govindarajan is a renowned scientist whose work lies in the area of fluid dynamics. The recipient of several awards, in 2007 she received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for her “original contributions to the understanding of instabilities in shear and non-parallel flows, flow entrainment, turbulent transition and small-scale hydraulic jumps.” She remains the only […]

“I Have Much Pleasure in Declaring Open the New Wind Tunnel”

On 3 February 1959, the open-circuit wind tunnel at IISc was inaugurated by the Maharaja of Mysore, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar. Embedded in the old Aerospace Engineering building, this wind tunnel has been responsible for testing several aircraft, including the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, and is functional to this day. In his speech, given in the […]