Professor R. Narasimha, FRS
Member of the Governing Council
DST Year-of-Science Professor
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
Jakkur P. O.,Bengaluru - 560 064
Dr RoddamNarasimha is presently a DST Year-of-Science Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
He was educated at the University College of Engineering and at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and obtained his PhD at the California Institute of Technology, USA, in 1961. He joined the Indian Institute of Science in 1962 and was associated with the Department of Aerospace Engineering in various capacities from that date till 1999. In 1982 he founded the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences (now Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences), which he headed till 1989. During 1984 to 1993 he was Director of the National Aerospace Laboratories. For many years since 1982 he held a visiting position at Caltech, as Clark B Millikan Professor or Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar. During 1989-90 he was Jawaharlal Nehru Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University in England. He has also held visiting positions at NASA Langley, Strathclyde, University of Brussels, Adelaide University etc. From 1990 to 1994 he was INSA Golden Jubilee Research Professor, and from 1994 to 1999 the ISRO K R Ramanathan Distinguished Professor, at IISc/JNCASR. He was Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies during 1997-2004.
Prof Narasimha’s research has been chiefly concerned with aerospace and atmospheric fluid dynamics. He is internationally known for his extensive studies of transitions between laminar and turbulent flow (going in either direction), the structure of shock waves, various characteristics of fully developed turbulent flow (e.g. their memory, the bursting phenomenon in boundary layers), the fluid dynamics of clouds, near-surface temperature distributions and eddy fluxes in tropical atmospheric boundary layers. His recent laboratory studies on cloud flows, carried out with colleagues and students, have been called 'amazing', resulting in 'groundbreaking research' on an important scientific problem rellevant to global climate change and the Indian monsoons.
He has been closely associated with aerospace technology development in India at both technical and policy-making levels. During 1977-79, he was the Chief Project Coordinator in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and led a joint HAL-NAL-IISc team carrying out early conceptual studies of the LCA. As Director of NAL he initiated and oversaw several major technology programmes, including the development of carbon composite wings and flight control systems for the LCA. Under his leadership NAL made the first parallel computer in the country in 1986, and fabricated and flew the first fibre glass aircraft in the country. He served on the Board of Directors of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for several years. As a member of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Scientific Advisory Council he was instrumental in establishing a major parallel computing initiative in the country. He was President of the Indian Academy of Sciences during 1992-94 and spear-headed a new programme on university education in science, leading to the establishment of the journal Resonance and other Academy programmes involving teachers and students. He has served three terms on the National Security Advisory Board.
Currently he is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. He has been a member of the Space Commission since 1989. He led conceptual studies of the Indo-French atmospheric research satellite Megha-Tropiques, and continues to be Co-Chairman the Joint Scientific Working Group for the satellite.
As Director of NIAS Prof Narasimha initiated a series of major dialogues on international security issues with the US National Academy of Sciences and other bodies, and pursued his interests in the history of science and technology and the philosophy underlying Indic ratinalism.
He has been widely honoured for his research work as well as his scientific leadership. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Foreign Associate of both the US National Academy of Engineering and the US National Academy of Sciences. He is also an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was awarded the Trieste Science Prize for Engineering Sciences in 2008 for 'his distinctive and original contributions to fluid dynamics and its applications in aerospace technology and atmospheric dynamics'. In 2000 he won the Fluid Dynamics Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astonautics. In India his distinctions include the Bhatnagar Prize, the GujarmalModi Award, the Ramanujan Award, the AryabhataAeard, and the Padma Bhushan, among many others. He is a Fellow of all the national academies of science and engineering, and an Honorary Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Caltech and was conferred the Honorary Fellowhsipof IISc as part of its centenary celebrations. He has delivered invited lectures at the International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, the Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, the American Institute of Aeronautics and astronautics, and various other national and international meetings. He was also the LSG Kavasznay Lecturer at the University of Texas at Houston and the Sixth YunchuanAisinjioro-Soo Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been conferred honorary dectoral degrees by Roorkee, Banaras and Gulbarga Universtites, and the Desikottama award by Shantiniketan. His books include Verses for the Brave; he has edited or co-edited The Dynamics of Technology, An Encyclopaedia of classical Indian Sciences, Nature and Culture and 15 other books on fluid dynamics and related subjects.
He is the author of more than 250 research publications, mostly in fluid mechanics, aerospace science and atmospheric dynamics.