IIT Gandhinagar establishes Chair to invite distinguished international academics to the Institute

Gandhinagar: Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN) yesterday established Smt Amba & Sri V S Sastry Distinguished Visiting Chair at the institute to promote institutional excellence. Under this Chair, every year, an active distinguished academic of international stature from the field of science, engineering, or humanities, will be invited to spend at least a month at IITGN for lectures, interactions, and research collaborations. With creation of this new Chair position, IITGN will be able to further strengthen its Scholar-in-Residence program to bring distinguished visitors from India and abroad to add significant value to the Institute.

Prof Amrutur Anilkumar, an aerospace engineer and a faculty member at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA, has established this Chair in honor of his parents, Smt Amba and Sri V S Sastri.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Prof Amrutur Anilkumar recalled how two institutions have had a tremendous impact on him, the first being the high school he studied in, National High School, Bangalore, which was founded by Dr Annie Besant; and the second institute is IIT Gandhinagar, as he finds the same kind of vibration here. Prof Anilkumar emphasized the concept of finding light at the end of the tunnel through science and technology and gave an example of some blind men touching the elephant, to explain that there can be different problems for different people but we must act to come out of the self imposed blindness and see the reality. He said, “We need to come out of our blindness to see the reality. The sooner we come out of it the better.” He then recalled his eight years long association with IITGN by supporting the Roddam Narsimha distinguished lecture series at the Institute, which brings diverse range of scholars from across the world to IITGN.

Speaking at the function, Prof Amit Prashant, Officiating Director, IITGN, thanked Prof Amrutur Anilkumar and his family for their continuous support for the Roddam Narsimha distinguished lecture series at the Institute and establishing Smt Amba & Sri V S Sastry Distinguished Visiting Chair. He said that, “IITGN has an outward looking policy, to interact with people from outside the Institute, bring them here, learn from them and build collaborations. Such a chair becomes engine for the vision that IITGN aspires to establish.”

Prof Amrutur Anilkumar has worked as a NASA investigator of microgravity fluid flow phenomenon on space shuttle flights and on the International Space Station. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras and a masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology. Dr Anilkumar has won several educational awards from NASA, AIAA and Vanderbilt University.