First-Hand:IEEE Award Recipient Series:Byrana Nagappa Suresh

IEEE Award Recipient Series: Q&As with Icons of Engineering and Technology: 2020 IEEE Simon Ramo Medal Recipient

Full Name

Byrana Nagappa Suresh

Birth Date

11 12 1943

Place of Birth


Where did you grow up

Chickmagalur, Karnataka

Family Background: Parents and their education level & Siblings and their education/profession

Parents did not study beyond school. All siblings are well studied and are holding responsible positions in different Organisations.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

I did not have any clear idea.

What was your upbringing like? Did you have a large family?

Yes. A large joint family. Did not have much exposure to modern things during the childhood days. I got exposure to the modern world only after I entered the graduation studies at Bangalore.

Did you have any hobbies (eg. Some people talk about learning trade skills from a family member.)

As sports played chess and ball badminton. Interested in listening to music. I was intereted in tinkering works from the very young age.

Did you partake in after school activities? Did you play sports?

Yes I used to participate in debates. Regarding sports I used to play Shuttle badminton

Did you have a part-time job (after school, summer)? What was your most surprising job assignment?

Only summer training during engg studies.

Did you take vacations and/or go on day trips?Favorite holiday/family gathering?

Very fond of taking vacations. Having family get together every year at least two times on different occasions.

EDUCATION: Favorite subject in school (K-12, university). Why?

Mathematics at School. Had a fascination for this subject.

Did you have a least favorite subject in school (K-12, university. Why?

Not really

Why did you select the university (universities) you attended? What was your major and why did you select it?

It was by chance. No selection of university. it is decided mostly by proximity. I had Physics and Chemistry as Majors in degree course

Employment and career: First job - Current position - Favorite job

Design engineer at Space Department. Presently Chancellor, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, (IIST). Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Has your career turned out as you expected?

I enjoyed every second of my stay in the job. I have spent so far more than 50 years in the Space Department of India

Has IEEE played a role in your career? How? What does IEEE mean to you?

Not really. I have several friends who are active in IEEE. I like IEEE greatly, because it is a well respected professional Organisation

You have been awarded one of IEEE's highest-level awards. What does this award mean to you?

A great feeling. Getting an award at global level is indeed an honour and I am very humbled.

What other associations have helped you in your career?

Several. I am very active in the area of system engineering and hence involved with Societies deal with System Engineering. I am Fellow of several Societies in the Country

Career Advice: What advice would you give to young professionals entering your field today?

Take any challenge you face in your profession as opportunity and enjoy what you are doing. With this attitude you are bound to succeed.

Reflection: What would you have done differently or tell your younger self now?

I enjoyed being a rocket scientist as it is one of very complex areas to work. There is never a thought of doing anything differently

Was there a project that you were so passionate about that you continued to pursue it even though there may have been doubts about its success?

Making the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) successful in the third attempt. But I learnt a great deal of lessons in the process.

What career achievement are you most proud of?

Space Recovery Experiment (SRE) where I played a key role and succeeded in the first attempt to reach the identified location with very minimal dispersion. It was a great feeling.

Personal Life: What do you do for fun? Hobbies?

Listening to music, watching sports, reading books

What personal achievement are you most proud of?

Successful launch of ASLV after two consecutive failures.

Do you have a favorite food? Or a family recipe that may have been passed down?

South Indian sweets

Do you have a favorite genre of music? or a favorite song? Or do you play an instrument?

South Indian classical, like Flute, Veena, Violin, etc

Do you have a prize possession? If so, please explain.

The Padma Awards which contains the Medals and certificates. I got third and fourth highest awards in the Country and it is well recognized all over the Country.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Acting in dramas, Very modest childhood in remote village and How I keep myself always cool

Who was your mentor? (eg. family member or professor)

My teacher at Primary School and Dr SC Gupta who was my boss when I joined Space Department

What is one thing you cannot live without in your work space?

Computer and the internet connection

Anything else you would like to share about yourself?

Myself along with my colleague have authored a book on "Integrated Design of Space Transportation System" published by M/s Springers International, gives the complex system engineering aspects of rocket design. It has taken 5 years to pen the book. It is one of the major contributions to the engineering community all over the globe