Satish Dhawan- Father of Experimental fluid dynamics research

Satish Dhawan

Guys!! Do you know there was a man who taught leadership to the Bharat Ratna APJ Abdul Kalam? He was the father of experimental fluid dynamics research in India- Satish Dhawan. 

Today, we are going to read about the journey of a great leader.

Satish Dhawan

Satish Dhawan

Satish Dhawan was regarded as the father of experimental fluid dynamics research in India. He was a great mathematician and aerospace engineer. He was a great leader from which APJ Abdul Kalam learned about leadership. In an interview APJ Abdul Kalam talked about how he learned the meaning of a true leader. He said “ When the failure occurred, the leader took it up, When the success came he gave it to his team”. 

Personal life and Education

Born on 25 September 1920 in a Saraiki Hindu Family at Srinagar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. His father’s name was Devi Dayal who came from Dera Ismail Khan. He grew up in Lahore and Kashmir. Satish Dhawan was married to Nallini Dhawan who was a Cytogeneticist. The couple had a daughter named Jyotsana Dhawan who is a serving Senior Principal Scientist in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.   

Dhawan was a graduate of the University of the Punjab in Lahore (now in Pakistan). In 1947, he completed a Master Of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Minneapolis. He also had an aeronautical engineering degree from the California Institute of Technology. He was a double PhD holder in mathematics and aerospace engineering under the supervision of his advisor Hans W. Liepmann in 1951.

Professional Life of Satish Dhawan

In 1951, Dhawan joined as faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and became its director in 1962. He devoted substantial efforts towards boundary layer research, even though he was the head of the Indian Space Programme. The most crucial contributions of Satish Dhawan are presented in the seminal book Boundary Layer Theory by Hermann Schlichting. He set-up India’s first Supersonic Wind Tunnel at IISc.

Dhawan carried out pioneering experiments in rural education, remote sensing and satellite communication. His efforts led to operational systems like INSAT, a telecommunications satellite; IRS, the Indian Remote Sensing satellite; and the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), that placed India in the league of space faring nations. 

Awards of Satish Dhawan

Satish Dhawan was awarded many prestigious awards including Padma Vibhushan (India’s second highest civilian honor) in 1981, Padma Bhushan (India’s third highest civilian honor) in 1971, Indira Gandhi award for National Integration in 1999, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Science and Distinguished Alumnus Award from California Institute of Technology in 1969.