Dr. Ranga Narayanan honored by college

Ranga Narayanan, Ph.D. – 2023-2024 Teacher/Scholar of the Year 


Long-time Chemical Engineering Professor, Ranga Narayanan, Ph.D., has been recognized again for his dedication to higher education. He was recently named the 2023-2024 Teacher/Scholar of the Year at the college level.

Dr. Narayanan joined UF in 1981 after spending five years conducting industry research at the Amoco Research Center, in Naperville, Illinois. Since that time, he estimates that he has taught “well over a thousand students over 40 years.” Additionally, he has mentored 33 Ph.D. students and about 20 master’s students.  

Dr. Narayanan said he is proud of the work his research students have done but a couple of research projects in the area of fluid mechanics make him especially proud.  

In 2009, “against considerable odds” his research lab received funding for a seven-year fluids mechanics research and training grant for the internationalization of graduate students. The grant and research team involved about 35 students from three departments at two universities and three countries and it was “a life-changing experience for this young generation of scientists and engineers.” He was assisted by Jason Butler, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, whose mentoring helped in making the program successful. 

During the process of the research, Dr. Narayanan also hypothesized that “a particular fluid behavior would occur in microgravity.” He had no experimental evidence of this but having a theoretical understanding of fluid behavior drove the research. He explained that “we were excited and pleased when our predictions proved true with careful experiments on the International Space Station done with collaborative research between UF, NASA and the Japanese Space Agency in Fall 2023.” 

With over 16 awards and 40 years of teaching experience, another researcher might decide that it was time to hang up his safety glasses and slide rule, but Dr. Narayanan has no intention of retiring. In fact, far from it. He has eight research projects underway and several additional projects under consideration by different agencies, including NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF.) Retirement is not an option. 

By: Ada Lang, ChemE Marketing & Communications Specialist