Roddam goes down memory lane in IISc

Special Correspondent (Laiqh A Khan)

BANGALORE: Distinguished scientist Roddam Narasimha went down memory lane to recall the early days of Aeronautical Engineering Department of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore when unlettered mechanics contributed to the efforts of scientists in the evolution of aeronautical enterprise at the Institute.

Delivering the plenary talk as part of the inauguration of IISc Centenary International Conference and Exhibition on Aerospace Engineering at J N Tata Auditorium here on Tuesday, Prof Narasimha, who enrolled for a diploma course in Aeronautics at IISc in 1953, said the contraptions made out of ancient machine tools by unlettered mechanics had made an extraordinary contribution to the research at Aeronautical Engineering Department of IISc when funding was difficult to come by.

“They made an extraordinary contribution. We should not forget them on this occasion”, said Prof Narasimha while speaking on “Fluid Dynamics Research at IISc Aero: Reminiscences over four decades” during the plenary session.

Prof Narasimha, who is now a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, said Aeronautical Engineering Department was established at IISc during the time of the Second World War in 1942. During the course of his hour-long talk, Prof Narasimha recollected the contributions made to the Fluid Dynamics by the heads of IISc’s Aeronautical Engineering Department beginning with Dr Vishnu Madhav Ghatge and later moving to Oskar Tietgens.

Prof Narasimha laid particular emphasis to the contribution of late rocket scientist Satish Dhawan to the field of aeronautics when the latter headed the Department. “Beginning with a modest programme, research in fluid dynamics, usually with a strong aeronautical flavour, became a major activity in the Department with the advent of Satish Dhawan in the 1950s”, he said before adding that the first decade was largely spent in building basic facilities like wind tunnels.

Earlier, IISc Director Prof P Balaram said the credit for Bangalore’s emergence as the centre for aerospace research in India should go to the Department of Aerospace at IISc as a large number of engineers and scientists working in various R and D institutes were alumni of the Department.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Department of Aerospace Engineering Prof B N Raghunandan said the Department was originally set up as Aeronautics Engineering Department to meet the manpower requirements of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, established during Second World War. In the following decades, the Department was expanded to include research and teaching in all sub-disciplines covering aeronautics and space technology. ===EoM===

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