Roddam Narasimha received PhD from the California Institute of Technology. From 1962 to 1999, he held various positions at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, including Chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He founded the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IISc in 1982 and headed it till 1989. He was Director of the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) (1984-93), and of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore (1997-2004). He was also Millikan Professor and Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at Caltech, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor at Cambridge and ISRO K R Ramanathan Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (1995-2000). He is currently Honorary Professor at NIAS.
Academic and Research Achievements: Narasimha's research mainly dealt with aerospace fluid dynamics and various flow problems in atmospheric dynamics. He has made 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 atmospheric boundary layers, and the nonlinear vibration of elastic strings. He has been closely associated with aerospace technology development in India at both technical and policy-making levels. As Director, NAL, he initiated and oversaw several major technology programmes. He taught Fluid Dynamics and Turbulent Flows (among several other subjects) at the IISc and also mentored more than 200 students.
Other Contributions: As Member of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Scientific Advisory Council, Narasimha was instrumental in establishing a major parallel computing initiative in the country. He served on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, Space Commission, Earth Commission, and the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in various capacities. He was co-founder of the Asian Fluid Mechanics Congress and served on the Asian Fluid Mechanics Committee also. As President, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1992-94), he spearheaded a new programme on university education in science leading to the establishment of the journal Resonance. At NIAS, he initiated a series of major dialogues on international security issues with the US National Academy of Sciences. He was co-Editor of The Dynamics of Technology (Sage, 2003) and The Encyclopaedia of Classical Indian Sciences (Universities Press, 2007).
Awards and Honours: Professor Narasimha was conferred the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1985), Padma Bhushan (1987), Gujarmal Modi Award (1990), S Ramanujan Medal, Indian Science Congress (1998). Fluid Dynamics Award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (2000), and Trieste Science Prize (2008). He is Distinguished Alumnus of both Caltech and IISc. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (1992), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1993); Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Engineering (1989), US National Academy of Sciences (2000); Honorary Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999); Honorary Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India; and Fellow of all the national academies of science and engineering.