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 […]

Structures in Turbulence: An interview with Garry Brown

Garry Brown is professor emeritus at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University. He is a distinguished fluid dynamicist, well-known for his work with Anatol Roshko where they found unexpected order within turbulent flow. He was at IISc in late 2017, teaching a course on shear turbulence with his friend Roddam Narasimha. Excerpts […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

Hans Liepmann with his wife Dietlind (Photo courtesy: Roddam Narasimha)

Hans Liepmann: The Teacher Who Had a Lasting Influence on Satish Dhawan and Roddam Narasimha

In 1964, Hans Liepmann from Caltech arrived at IISc for a term. SM Deshpande, then doing his ME in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, remembers the “glorious combination” that resulted. “Liepmann taught our batch,” says Deshpande, now at the Engineering Mechanics Unit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. “We were very lucky. […]

A piece of wreckage being placed on the deck of Kreuzturm (Photo courtesy: V Ramachandran)

Kanishka Crash, 1985: How Metallurgy Helped Expose a Terrorist Attack

Former IISc metallurgist V Ramachandran helped establish that a mid-air explosion brought down the plane   V Ramachandran recognised the fragment from a stantion, one of the structural elements used to support the fuselage of the aeroplane. But it didn’t look normal: the aluminium tube had fractured and curled inwards by almost a full circle. […]

Helaine Selin on Happiness Across Cultures

Helaine Selin, a retired science librarian from Hampshire College, Massachusetts, USA, is an  author and an editor of several books, such as Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, Astronomy Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Astronomy, and Childbirth Across Cultures: Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum. […]