Dr. Gangan Prathap, who has been named Vice-Chancellor of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), is a distinguished scientist. A product of the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, he was associated for many years with the National Aeronautical Laboratory, Bangalore, which comes under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Since the last seven years he has been head of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation at Bangalore, which is also a unit of the CSIR.
The following material is drawn from an article in Madhyamam’s Weekend edition, in which M.P. Shyamkumar profiles Dr. Gangan Prathap.
Dr. Gangan Prathap has been with us for several years with weather observation and aircraft modelling. One may wonder what is there in common between weather observation and aircraft modelling. The two are closely linked. If it is the wings that control the aircraft it is mountains and sees that control the weather. The calculations behind both are the same.
The list of honours that came to Dr. Gangan Prathap as he went ahead with observations and experiments in the past 29 years is long. Among them is the Bhatnagar Award given to distinguished young scientists.
Dr. Gangan Prathap was the first Malayalee to get the Bhatnagar award. Dr. Ajay Ghosh, another Malayalee, received this recently.
He has published more than 300 research papers. He is a member of the editorial board of several scientific and research publications.
He was a topper from high school level to the highest level of technical education. He passed out of the Raffles School in Singapore with the first rank. He passed the Pre-University examination from the Madras Christian College, also with first rank. He stood first in the all-India engineering entrance examination the same year. He passed out from IIT with B. Tech degree in 1974, again standing first. He then went on to take a Ph. D. degree.
He is the first Malayalee to have stood first in the IIT entrance examination.
Dr. Gangan Prathap’s family had migrated from Mayyanad, Kerala, to Singapore. His father, Narayanan Gangan, who worked for the Royal Navy, was a lover of books. Prathap learnt of the world from the books in his father’s library. Books led him to the world of science.