Brown Ph.D. student Anoop Kiran named to Aviation Week’s 20 Twenties

Anoop Kiran, a Ph.D. student in the Brown Engineering Fluids and Thermal Sciences program, was named one of 20 graduate students in the world who are likely to change the face of the aerospace and defense industry.

The 20 Twenties award, presented yearly since 2013 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Aviation Week Network, recognizes 20 top aerospace students  enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) from an international field of highly qualified candidates. Students are chosen based on their academic performance as well as their potential to contribute to the broader community and communicate the value of their research.

Kiran’s nomination came from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering in May 2022. There, he researched unsteady aerodynamics for kinematic maneuvering in transverse gust encounters, developing numerical simulations to model flight maneuvering through these gust interactions. Through the development of this predictive model, Kiran and his research group were able to uncover optimal maneuvers such as pitching, plunging, and surging, to reduce the sudden impact of the gust and attain improved flight-control. 

His undergraduate experiences will translate to his Ph.D. research at Brown. Kiran will be working with Associate Professor Nora Ayanian and Professor Kenny Breuer, coupling aerial robotics and fluids to elucidate dynamics and control theory of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). UAVs have become increasingly popular due to their cost-effectiveness and versatility for a variety of humanitarian applications including scenarios such as search-and-rescue operations, tracking toxic gas plumes, or collecting large-scale data, as in city traffic patterns. It faces highly varied aerodynamic challenges, such as increased maneuverability for flight in complex terrain and high wind resistance for constant ground speed against strong headwinds in urban environments. 

“I am grateful for the opportunities that I was afforded during my undergraduate career. As a graduate student at Brown, I would like to pay it forward by mentoring undergraduates, helping them advance research in these areas,” he said. “Brown’s reputation for interdisciplinary research makes it possible to address these key challenges in the aerospace field as aerial vehicles grow in use over the coming years.” 

In addition to access into a talent network comprised of hiring managers, faculty and industry experts, all the 20 Twenties are invited to a luncheon at the Watergate Hotel on November 3, and then honored the same day with the 20 Twenties award at the Aviation Week Network’s 65th Annual Laureate Awards and Dinner at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.