IIT Madras launches Chair in memory of the first Head of Dept of Metallurgical Engineering

Chennai, 7th April 2018: Indian Institute of Technology Madras launched a Memorial Chair today (Saturday 7th April 2018) in memory of Prof E.G. Ramachandran, the first Professor and the first Head of Metallurgical EngineeringDepartment at IIT Madras. He passed away on 14thFebruary 2018.

Presiding over the function, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras,thanked all the people who had sponsored the Chair and for honouring the memory of the one of the giants of the Institution. “I hope we’ll create several more similar Chairs in memory of those who built the Institute,” added Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi.


Speaking about the launch of Prof E.G. Ramachandran Chair, Prof R. Nagarajan, Dean (International and Alumni Relations), IIT Madras, said, “We adopted a ‘crowdsourced’ funding model to endow the Chair as we wanted to give the opportunity to sponsor the Chair to as many former students of Prof E.G. Ramachandran and others who knew him.Usually, the Chairs are sponsored by individuals or Industries.”

Prof Nagarajan said that this was one of the most successful campaigns as the minimum amount required for establishing a Chair (Rs. 65 crore) was pledged within almosta week. The pledges were converted into funding within three weeks.The Chair was established in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras.

The Sixth lecture of Prof E.G. Ramachandran Distinguished Lecture Series was also delivered today (Saturday, 7th April 2018) by Prof K.A. Padmanabhan, Member (Research and Innovation Advisory Board) and Research Advisor, Tata Consultancy Services and Aditya Birla and S&T Company, IIT Madras Research Park.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) for the Steel Industry’, Prof K.A. Padmanabhan said, “As per a 2008 Report put out by National Academy of Sciences, U.S., the goal of ICME was to enable the optimization of the materials, manufacturing processes and component design…Digital Thread and Digital Twin are being used to enhance the Core Engineering Functionalities with scientific, data and other related processes.”

Born in 1925, Prof EG Ramachandran obtained his PhD in 1947 (at the age of 22, an extraordinary accomplishment) from University of Sheffield. After serving the Department of Metallurgy, IISc, Bangalore, as a faculty member for 9 years and National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur as Assistant Director for 5 years, he moved to IIT Madras in 1961 as the first Professor of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering. He was also the Director-in-charge of IIT Madras for a brief period. He superannuated from IIT Madras in 1985.He was instrumental in establishing the industrial metallurgy division in Indian Institute of Metals and later became its President in 1980.

Reminiscing aboutProf Ramachandran,Shri. B. Muthuraman,’66 Distinguished Alumnus and former Vice Chairman, Tata Steel, said, “His lectures were so clear and immaculate that his students never had to take notes as the lecture went directly to the long-term memory. He was an excellent sportsman, good in Tennis and equally good in cricket”

“Metallurgy was not the only thing students learnt from ProfRamachandran. We learnt English, how to communicate and how to excel in many traits. He will be remembered for a long time by everyone who came in contact with him,” added Mr. Muthuraman.

Prof M. Balasubramanian, Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras,Prof. B.S. Murty, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and Prof. M. Kamaraj, Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras, participated in the program along with friends, family and students of Prof E.G. Ramachandran.

As the first Professor and the first Head, Prof Ramachandran shaped the Department of Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Madras, passionately, over three decades and made it into a prominent place for excellence in teaching and research. His academic excellence was evident from his publications, including those in Nature in early 1960’s, which speak volumes about his exceptional research career.In spite of being a physical metallurgist, he laid the seeds of industrial metallurgy in the department and nurtured it.

As a teacher, he was the “Numero Uno” and inspired generations of metallurgists. He was taught by Sir C.V. Raman and he generated stalwarts of Metallurgy. Anyone who has been taught by him can never forget him. He made such a mesmerizing impact on his students. His students are the torch bearers for his teaching excellence.

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