Prof. N.G.Ramakanth Iyengar

(02 October 1940 – January 01, 2016)

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur


It is with profound grief and regret, that the Institute mourns the sad demise of Professor N.G.Ramakanth. Iyengar, a former faculty member at Department of Aerospace Engineering. He breathed his last on the evening of January 01, 2016 in Bangalore.

Professor Iyengar was born on October 2nd, 1940. He obtained his Bachelor in Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering, from Sagar University in 1962 and an ME in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 1965. His specialization was Structures. He joined the Aeronautical Engineering Department at IIT Kanpur in August 1966 as a Senior Research Assistant. He was selected as a Lecturer in the same Department in November, 1967. He was also pursuing a PhD programme alongside and was awarded his Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1971. Professor Iyengar was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the same Department in April 1972. He was elevated to the position of a Professor in November 1977. Prof Iyengar superannuated in 2002 and served the Institute till June 2005 as Emeritus Professor. Since his joining the Institute, Prof. Iyengar stayed at IIT Kanpur except for two stints. One was for two years as a visiting professor at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Univ of Arizona, U.S.A. during Aug 1984 to Aug 86. The other was in the Summer of 1988 where Prof. Iyengar visited the Aleppo University, Syria for two weeks to deliver lectures for graduate students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. After his stay at IIT Kanpur, Professor Iyengar moved to Bangalore. He mentored the Aerospace Engineering Department at the Jain University and was also their Pro Vice Chancellor.

Prof. Iyengar's main interest was in Strutural Analysis, with main emphasis on Composites, Vibrations, Optimization and Stability. He taught several graduate and undergraduate courses in various areas related to Structural Analysis during his stay at IIT Kanpur. He was a very active researcher. During his stay at Kanpur, he supervisoed 35 Masters' and 8 Ph.D. Students. Most of them have been very successful, professionally. Some of Prof. Iyengar's students are serving as faculty members, including the IIT's. Prof. Iyengar authored several books and edited many volumes. Some of his books, such as the "Structural Stability of Columns and Plates" is used as a text book at several Universities and Institutions. Prof. Iyengar encouraged all his colleagues and students to publish their work. He has contributed immensely to the community in terms of research papers and conference proceedings. Prof Iyengar was the Consulting Editor for the Journal of Institution of Engineers(India), Aerospace Division. He was also a member of the editorial board of the Advanced Composite Material: Journal of Japan Society of Composite Materials

Prof Iyengar was very well recognized. He was a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, The Institution of Engineers (India), and the Aeronautical Society of India. He was a member of several societies. He was Chairman of the Aerospace Division of the Institution of Engineers(India) for the years 1993, 1994 & 1997 and the Vice-President of the Aeronautical Society of India (1996, 1997 & 1998). He was decorated with several awards. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, Bangalore. He is also the recipient of the Excellence in Aerospace Education Award- Awarded by the Aeronautical Society of India. In 1996 he received the Distinguished Professor award in Aerospace Engineering from the Aeronautical Society of India. Several of his papers received the best paper award.

In addition to his teaching and research, Prof. Iyengar made enormous contributions to the Institute in various capacities. He was the Warden and Warden-in-charge Hall of Residence for 4 years. He was the Member and Chairman House Allotment Committee for 3 years. He was the Dean of Students Affairs during the period Dec. 1981 to August 1984. He served three terms as the Head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering: Nov. 1983 to August 1984 and then two terms starting Jan. 1996. He served as the Professor In-charge (Planning & Coordination) during August 1986 to June 1990. In this period he also discharged the responsibility of Secretary, B.O.G., Secretary, Finance Committee. He also chaired several committees that dealt with promotions, staff matters etc. He also served as the Chairman,Technical and Management Committee, National Wind Tunnel Facility, at IIT Kanpur. Prof. Iyengar represented the Institute at various inter IIT level meetings held outside IIT Kanpur.

Prof. Iyengar was extremly well recognized even outside the Campus. His contributions to the National programmes in Aerospace Engineering are very significant. He was a member of the expert committee for reviewing projects at Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. He was a member of the Advisory Committee for Structures Division at National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore. He was a member of the Structures Panel of the Aeronautical Research & Development Board Ministry of Defense, a member of the Information Panel of AR&DB, Ministry of Defense, a member of the Syllabus Committee and Examination Committee of the Aeronautical Society of India, member of the Board of Governors of the Research and Development forum of the Institution of Engineers(India).

Prof. Iyengar was a true leader. He influenced and mentored several young faculty members in the Department. He was an extremely active and energetic Head. He would be extremely well prepared for meetings and seemed always in control. He made very significant contributions to the Department. For example, the support that he lent to the Flight Laboratory during his tenure as a Head, laid the foundation for the strength that we have today in the Department in terms of flying facilities. He was extremely cordial with his colleagues and always took the initiative of starting a dialogue. He used to advocate that"Communication should never break down". He would personally visit colleagues in their offices to sort matters out. No get together in Aerospace Engineering was complete without his presence. His charismatic personality made his presence central to all the lovely evening get togethers in the Department. He took control of the evening and made it a point to converse everyone, be it a senior colleague or an infant. Prof. Iyengar will be remembered as a very fatherly figure. Whenever any one in the Department had a problem, Prof Iyengar was the obvious one to go to. He was very well networked and was very generous in extending his contacts to help out. Another attribute of Prof. Iyengar was that he was extremely punctual. His warmth and eagerness to help were contagious. He will be sorely missed.

Prof. Iyengar is survived by his wife: Dr. Leela Iyengar and two sons: Dr. Garud N Iyengar and Raghuram Iyengar. Both the sons received their undergraduate education at IIT Kanpur. Raghuram is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania and Garud is a Professor at the Industrial Engineering and Operations research at Coulumbia University. The Institute stands by the family to deal with this very untimely loss and prays for peace to the departed soul.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 9th Jan, 2016)

    Prof. NGR Iyengar and Wife Dr Leela were the every smiling duo on the campus, friends of everyone who knew them and that included almost the whole campus. NGR did so much for the Institute as is brought out in the obit but carried it lightly on his shoulders, never boasting or taking credit for his enormous contributions. His daily evening walk around the campus was an encouragement to many of us. He greeted everyone cheerfully and also contributed generously to all causes. May his soul rest in peace and Leela ji and family find solace in NGR having contributed what otherwise wou ld take several mere mortals to equal.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 9th Jan, 2016)

    I was shocked to read this sad news. I recall my association with him during my PhD (2000-05). He taught me two courses in composites in which he had supreme command. As a human being too he was so very helpful always. We will miss you Sir. My sincerest condolences reach out to the bereaved family.

  • Nalini sankar (wrote on 8th Jan, 2016)

    Myself and Sankar are extremely sad to hear this news. Prof. Iyengar was a jovial person with loads of enthusiasm and optimism. Our heartfelt condolences to Leela mam and other family members.

  • K Srihari (wrote on 8th Jan, 2016)

    Myself and Suma are very sad to hear this news. Prof. Iyengar and Leela Iyengar were the first people that we met upon our arrival at IITK, and the nicest. We had many memorable meets at their house. As always, Prof. NGR was in his jovial moods and always took the time to interact with our kids. We will certainly miss him! We pray to the Lord for peace to the departed soul.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 7th Jan, 2016)

    A real fundu....sheer bakait with humility!! May his soul rest in peace.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 6th Jan, 2016)

    I work as scientist at Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. Last year he was in VSSC Trivandrum, to review India's indigenous finite element software in the capacity of Chairman of the national committee constituted by ISRO. I was lucky as VSSC made me the point person to be with him throughout his stay. I was stumped by his energy and bubbling enthusiasm. He was very particular to visit Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, although VSSC arranged many laboratory visits for him. During the long hilly drive to IIST he shared his experiences and talked about culture, art a nd politics, though his health was delicate I never noticed a wee bit discomfort with him.
    It was difficult for me to accept his demise at first. He was a great teacher and researcher who inspired a legion of students who were associated with him. May God give peace to his soul. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 6th Jan, 2016)

    I am shocked to hear that our beloved Professor is no more. NGR mentored generations of Aero Engineers, and we all will always remember him fondly. He was a great teacher and mentor.

  • Anjali Pandey (wrote on 6th Jan, 2016)

    I am shocked to hear sudden demise of Prof Iyengar He Was my best friend Dr Leela Iyengar's husband He was a very laborious and extremely punctual person May god give strength to bear such a great loss to his family special Dr Leela Iyengar

  • M R Madhav (wrote on 6th Jan, 2016)

    Having worked and lived closely with Iyengar it has been a great personal loss for us both. The world and the Institute is at a loss in his absence. The obit can not completely describe Iyengar's contributions to to life at IITK. May God give peace to departed soul and forbearance to the family to bear his absence from our lives.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 5th Jan, 2016)

    Prof. Iyengar's untimely demise has come as a great shock to I and Sudha. We cherish the friendship of Prof. Iyengar and Leelaji and the many get-togethers that we had with them in Kannada Sangha and elsewhere. Our heart-felt condolences to Leelaji, Garud and Raghuram.
    VC and Sudha.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (wrote on 15th Jan, 2016)

    RIP Prof Iyengar ! One of the best teachers I came across in the department. His structural mechanics course on the theory of plates and shells helped me learn the subject deeper. Later I asked him for the recommendation letters for the graduate studies and he did not disappoint me. A humble gentleman! I stand by his family members in these times.



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