Photo: Basavaraj S Bommai/Twitter
Photo: Basavaraj S Bommai/Twitter

Well known scientist and Padma Vibhushan Awardee, Roddam Narasimha passed away on Monday at the age of 87. Narasimha had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was shifted to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Bengaluru on December 8. The scientist, who served at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc), breathed his last at 8.30 pm.

Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday morning took to Twitter stating that he was "pained" by the news. "Roddam Narasimha personified the best of India’s tradition of knowledge and enquiry. He was an outstanding scientist, passionate about leveraging the power of science and innovation for India’s progress," the PM wrote.

Born on July 20, 1933, Prof Narasimha made a mark in the field of aerospace and as a fluid dynamicist. He taught Aerospace Engineering at the IISc from 1962 to 1999. He also served as the director of the National Aerospace Laboratories from 1984 to 1993. He was the chairperson of the Engineering Mechanics unit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru from 2000 to 2014.

Considering his contribution, the central government bestowed on him Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India, in 2013. Prior to this, he had been awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1987. Prof Narasimha was also the recipient of the Bhatnagar Prize, and the 2008 Trieste Science Prize.

The first student of Sathish Dhawan, Narasimha has contributed to some of India's major scientific programmes, including Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). He obtained the equivalent of an ME in 1955 and an MSc by research in 1957 from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and his PhD from Caltech in 1961. He was a member of the Indian Space Commission, and according to his family friends, Narasimha was in the league of the Missile Man of India and former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

Incidentally, the two had authored a book together - "Developments In Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology". He was also a good friend of eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee Dr C N R Rao. He was the student of Indian rocket scientist Prof Satish Dhawan.

PM Modi is not alone.

Since early on Tuesday morning, condolences have poured in online. "Padma Vibhushan and renowned aero space scientist Roddam Narasimha no more. Humility personified and a man of immense knowledge and humility, a great loss to the Indian scientific community. RIP," wrote Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

"Heartfelt condolences at the passing away of eminent aerospace scientist and fluid dynamicist Padma Vibhushan Prof. Roddam Narasimha. His contribution as a scientist, teacher and author was immense. May the Almighty give strength to his family members and may his soul RIP," tweeted Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

"In the passing away of Padma Vibhushan Prof Roddam Narasimha, India's scientific community has lost a stalwart. His path-breaking work in aerospace and nurturing scientific institutions of national importance will be remembered. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues,"' wrote Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

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