The Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, has established the Amba & VS Sastry Distinguished Visiting Chair at the institute to promote institutional excellence.
Professor Amrutur Anilkumar, an aerospace engineer and a faculty member at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, established the chair in honor of his parents, Amba and V S Sastri. Prof. Anilkumar currently directs the Vanderbilt Aerospace Design Laboratory that is at the forefront of the design of novel, rocket-flyable, payload systems that highlight major challenges in space exploration and energy conversion.
Under the chair, every academic 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, according to a news release.
With the creation of the 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, it said.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Anilkumar recalled how two institutions have had a tremendous impact on him, the first being the high school where he studied, National High School in Bangalore, which was founded by Dr Annie Besant; and the second institute is IIT Gandhinagar, as he finds the same kind of vibration at the institute, the release said.
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, the release added.
"We need to come out of our blindness to see the reality," Anilkumar said in a statement. "The sooner we come out of it the better.”
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 doctorate in mechanical engineering and aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology. Anilkumar has won several educational awards from NASA, AIAA and Vanderbilt University.