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Prof. Kumaran Viswanathan

1987 - B.Tech - Chemical Engineering Professor @ IISc Bangalore

Dr. Viswanathan Kumaran received his Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from IITM in 1987, followed by a doctorate from Cornell University in 1992. After a stint as a post-doctoral research engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the Indian Institute of Science as an assistant professor in 1993. Currently, he is a Senior Professor and the J.C. Bose National Chair at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering at IISc.
Dr. Kumaran has carried out path-breaking research on many select topics in the areas of fluid mechanics and statistical mechanics. In each of these areas, his work is characterized by uncompromising rigour and depth of analysis in applied mathematics and physics, combined with novel and sophisticated simulations/experiments, to obtain a fundamental understanding of novel phenomena.
Dr. Kumaran is best known for his work on transition in flexible-walled channels and tubes. He was the first to show that the instability could take place even at zero Reynolds number due to coupling between the fluid and wall dynamics, in contrast to the transition in rigid tubes, which takes place at a Reynolds number of 2100. More recently, he has been able to experimentally demonstrate the onset of instability in flexible tubes at a Reynolds number as low as 500, something which has eluded experimentalists for over a decade since the first prediction by Prof. Kumaran. He has experimentally shown that using this instability, mixing efficiency can be increased by many orders of magnitude in microfluidic devices in lab-on-a-chip applications, thus making it feasible to conduct complex reaction networks in a reasonable time. He has made some pioneering advances in formulating theories for flowing granular materials. He was one of the early workers in the area. He has developed a statistical mechanics framework to provide quantitative predictions for the flow down an inclined plane, which is often encountered in geophysical (avalanches, landslides) and industrial (chutes, solids transport) applications. A versatile engineering scientist, Dr. Kumaran has also worked on the thermodynamics and dynamics of complex fluids, including co-polymers, polymer gels, and brushes and charged membranes. He has made theoretical contributions in the areas of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and kinetic theory for driven dissipative systems.
Dr. Kumaran was awarded the Young Scientist Medal of INSA and the Young Engineer award of INAE early in his academic career. He was one of the youngest to be conferred the Bhatnagar Prize in the year 2000. He was also one of the youngest to be elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1998) and the Indian National Science Academy (2001). He was awarded the Swarnajayanthi fellowship in 2002, and the J. C. Bose Fellowship of the Government of India in 2007. He is also a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the World Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society.
For his exemplary accomplishments in academia and his contributions to the field of fluid and statistical mechanics, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Prof. Viswanathan Kumaran.

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