Dean’s Distinguished Seminar Series: Kumbakonam Rajagopal presents “Art, Craft, and Philosophy of Science”




IIT Tower Auditorium (IT 1F6-1) 10 West 35th Street Chicago, IL 60616

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Armour College of Engineering will welcome Kumbakonam Rajagopal, Regents Professor and Forsyth Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, to present a lecture, “Art, Craft, and Philosophy of Science.” Rajagopal (M.S. MAE ’74) is the recipient of 2021 Illinois Institute of Technology Professional Achievement Award.

The seminar will take place on Thursday, September 16, 2021, from 2:45–3:45 p.m. in the IIT Tower Auditorium (IT 1F6-1). Contact Elena Magnus at for the seminar details.


Before one can develop an adequate theory to describe natural phenomena, it is imperative to understand the underpinnings of natural philosophy, in particular, and philosophy, in general; have an appreciation for the history of natural philosophy; and have great facility with the natural language for its expression, in the case of natural philosophy, this being mathematics. But this alone is insufficient; one needs to understand the interplay between science, language, psychology, philosophy, politics, economics, and societal demands amongst many other subjects, as they all have an impact on the path science takes. One is interested in the development of a theory of sufficient generality; it ought not to merely explain a specific phenomenon, it should have predictive capability, be simple, be endowed with an economy of expression, lead to a consilience of induction, be capable of falsifiability, to name some of them. In this talk, Kumbakonam Rajagopal will discuss some of the features that go into the development of a scientific theory. Art, craft, and philosophy all play a crucial role in the development of scientific theories.


Kumbakonam Rajagopal (M.S. MAE ’74) is the recipient of 2021 Illinois Tech Professional Achievement Award. He is a Distinguished Professor, Regents Professor, and holds the Forsyth Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Rajagopal holds joint appointments in the Departments of Mathematics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Ocean Engineering, and Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution. He is a fellow of the Michael E. DeBakey Institute and a research scientist at the Texas Transportation Institute. Rajagopal has made contributions to various aspects of mechanics and thermodynamics, as well as in the areas of biomedicine, traffic flow modeling, control, and resource allocation problems. He has won several awards and honors, including the Eringen Medal, the Memorial Medal, the Archie Higdon Award (from the American Society of Engineering Education), Zable Medal, Bush Excellence Award, the president’s award from the Tokyo Institute of Science and Technology, the president’s award for distinguished visitors from Ben Gurion University, and the University of Auckland Foundation Distinguished Visitor Award. He has received honoris causa from the University of Perugia, University of Pretoria, Charles University, and Technical University “Gheorghe Asachi.” Rajagopal has also served as the president of the Society for Natural Philosophy.


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