College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Aerospace Engineering faculty member R. Ganesh Rajagopalan passes away

Photo of R. Ganesh Rajagopalan
R. Ganesh Rajagopalan

The Department of Aerospace Engineering (AerE) and Iowa State University College of Engineering are mourning the death of Professor R. Ganesh Rajagopalan, who passed away March 19.

A highly regarded researcher, he was responsible for unique contributions to rotorcraft, wind energy systems, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). He and his students have made significant and wide-ranging contributions to the field of CFD.

He was an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a lifetime member of the Vertical Flight Society (formerly American Helicopter Society) as a Gold Circle member (which recognizes pioneers and leaders in the helicopter industry) since 1985. He also received the Alfred Gessow Forum Best Paper Award at the organization’s Forum 61 in 2005.

He was a technical consultant for numerous corporate interests and a reviewer of archival journals for many publications.

Rajagopalan joined the Iowa State AerE faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1991 and professor in 2001. He was recently recognized by Iowa State’s 25-Year Club for his 35 years of service to the university.

Prior to joining the AerE department faculty he was a lecturer, teaching fellow and research assistant at West Virginia University, where he received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering in 1984. He received an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Science in 1978, a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the Madras Institute of Technology in 1976 and a B.S. in mathematics from Madras University in 1973.

Rajagopalan was a dedicated teacher of aerospace engineering and shared his knowledge in a wide range of subject matter that included aerodynamics, gas dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, aircraft performance and flight dynamics, and wind energy, and he made major technical contributions the field of wind energy.

He has been credited with numerous research citations, more than 70 research publications, 18 journal articles, and more than 50 conference papers from events around the world. He was principal investigator, co-principal investigator or investigator on more than 30 grant-supported research projects.

Rajagopalan graduated 37 Ph.D. and M.S. students and taught numerous undergraduate and graduate-level courses during his time in Iowa State AerE.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, there will be no public visitation and a private memorial ceremony will be held. Further information will be published on the Department of Aerospace Engineering Facebook and Twitter (@ISU_AERE) pages as it becomes available.

9 thoughts on “Aerospace Engineering faculty member R. Ganesh Rajagopalan passes away

  1. ISU has lost a professor that loved teaching and was so dedicated to his students. His warmth and passion were an asset for ISU and the department. He will be missed.

  2. i am proud to say that i was his classmate in the school. it is a personal loss for .e

  3. Oh. I have lost a good friend and my co student in St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Chengalpattu, a small urban place near Madras in Tamilnadu, India. I used to discuss with him on various subjects including puranic, Vedic references about vimana shastra (Aeronautics). He had a lot of interactions with me even after leaving India. Hailing from a very small village called Uththiramerur, in, Chengalpattu district, his rise has been quite appreciated by one and all. He lost his father when young and his mother and grandfather took care of him and his siblings
    He has been instrumental in constructing some temples there and was helping many people in India in his own way. Bi am just rewinding my fifty years past . It’s a great loss to me and all his friends

  4. A genius indeed.A great loss e the Scientific and Engineering fraternity,who brought name and fame to the community and to the country
    Would always shine like the pole star
    God bless

  5. I will miss his visits to NASA Ames. He was always so positive and excited to talk about his research and the new directions it was taking.

  6. Iwas his closest friend in MIT silverjubliee batch
    I remember those days we have seen together all MGR films in and around Chrompet
    He used to play blind chess board at one room and he is in another room
    He is very intelligent and versatile and stylish English speaking with long sentence Used to practice Veena at the hostel room
    He stood for Chairman election and I worked for him and he won in the election.
    We combinedly gave a speech in All India radio and took photograph
    After MIT he did his P. G In institute of Science Banglore When ivisited. Him at IISc he showed the photograph which he kept in Baghavat Gita
    We are emotional fans of MGR we took taxi to go for MGR movies in and around the town

    After a longtime I get connected in 2010 when he visited India I took him so many universities in India and he established Sukratech in India for CFD domain. To help Indian student community
    He tried for Incubation Centre at MIT.
    His IQ level was very high
    He was religious and donated so many temples and involved in religious actives in the later part of his life
    He used to say he may have same health problem as his father who left very early
    He followed his father
    Ilost my friend

  7. Though I have not met him personally, his younger brother Santhana Varadhan is my brother’s “sammandhi”. I could imagine from the above what a great man Mr. Ganesh was. Our condolences to his family.

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