Satish Dhawan obtained his PhD (1951) from the California Institute of Technology, an honorary DSc from four universities; LLD (1976) from the University of Bombay with a specialization on aeronautics and space science. He was Professor and Head, Department of Aeronautical Engineering and Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Visiting Professor of Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology. He served as the Chairman, Space Commission (1962-84); Indian Space Research Organisation (1972-84); and was elected Secretary, Government of India, Department of Space (till 1984).
Academic and Research Achievements: Dhawan contributed substantially to space research, aero-engineering and technology. He did pioneering work in fluid mechanics and aerodynamics, particularly on high-speed flow problems concerning shock waves and bounding layers, transonic and supersonic wind tunnels. The instrument he developed for direct measurement of skin friction at high and low-speed flows was a landmark contribution.
Other Contributions: His contributions lie in serving variously as Members of innumerable policy-making bodies including the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet and National Committee on Science and Technology. He was the Chairman, Executive Committee and Vice-President and Member, Karnataka State Council for S&T and its Executive Committee; Member, Atomic Energy Commission, Electronics Commission, Defence Research Development Council and Radar Communications Development Board. He served as a Member of the INSA Council from 1981 to 1985.
Awards and Honours: Satish Dhawan was the winner of the Cal. Tech. Alumni Distinguished Service Award (1959); Twenty-second British Commonwealth Lectureship (Royal Aeronautical Society) (1967); Aryabhatta Medal (INSA) (1983); GM Modi Award (1988); Padma Shri (1966); Padma Bhushan (1971) and Padma Vibhushan (1981). He was a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and Royal Aeronautical Society (UK) and Honorary Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India. He also was a Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Foreign Associate, National Academy of Engineering (USA); Honorary Fellow, Institution of Engineers (India) and IISc, Bangalore.