Indian Institute of Science

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Indian Institute of Science
Indian Institute of Science logo.svg
Type Public
Established 1909
Founder Jamsetji Tata
Director Anurag Kumar[1]
Academic staff
Students 3,743[2]
Undergraduates 418
Postgraduates 3,325
Location Bangalore, Karnataka, 560012, India
13°01′11″N 77°33′58″E / 13.01978°N 77.56605°E / 13.01978; 77.56605Coordinates: 13°01′11″N 77°33′58″E / 13.01978°N 77.56605°E / 13.01978; 77.56605
Campus Urban

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a public university for research and higher education in science, engineering, design, and management. It is located in Bangalore city in India, and was established in the year 1909 with active support from Jamsetji Tata and H.H. Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore. It is also locally known as the "Tata Institute".[3] It acquired the status of a Deemed University in 1958.


Jamshedji Tata, founder

After an accidental meeting between Jamsedji N. Tata and Swami Vivekananda on a ship in 1893 where they discussed Tata's plan of bringing the steel industry to India, Tata wrote to Vivekananda five years later "I trust, you remember me as a fellow-traveller on your voyage from Japan to Chicago. I very much recall at this moment your views on the growth of the ascetic spirit in India... I recall these ideas in connection with my scheme of Research Institute of Science for India, of which you have doubtless heard or read."[8][9]

Impressed by Vivekananda's views on science and leadership abilities, Tata wanted him to guide his campaign. Vivekananda endorsed the project with enthusiasm, and Tata, with the aim of advancing the scientific capabilities of the country, constituted a Provisional Committee to prepare a plan for setting up of an Institute of research and higher education. The committee presented a draft proposal to Lord Curzon on 31 December 1898.[10] Subsequently, Sir William Ramsay, a Nobel Laureate, was called on to propose a suitable place for such an institution who suggested Bangalore as the best location.

The land and other facilities for the institution were donated by H.H. Sir Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore (a Princely State now called State of Karnataka), and Tata himself. The Maharaja donated about 371 acres (1.50 km2)[11] of land. Tata gave several buildings towards the creation of IISc.[12]

The constitution of the Institute was approved by the Viceroy, Lord Minto, and the necessary Vesting Order to enable it to function was signed on 27 May 1909.[13] Early in 1911, the Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the Institute, and on 24 July, the first batch of students were admitted in the Departments of General and Applied Chemistry under Norman Rudolf and Electro-Technology under Alferd Hay. Within two months, the Department of Organic Chemistry was opened. With the establishment of the University Grants Commission in 1956, the Institute came under its purview as a deemed university.

At the time of the inception of IISc in 1909, Morris Travers, Sir William Ramsay's co-worker in the discovery of the noble gases, became its first Director. For Travers, this was a natural continuation of his work on the Institute, since he had played a role in its founding. The first Indian Director was the Nobel Laureate Sir C.V. Raman. Raman was the Indian Science-based Nobel Laureate.[13] The current Director is Anurag Kumar.

The Institute was the first to introduce masters programmes in engineering. It has also started integrated Ph.D. programmes in Biological, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences for science graduates.[10]


The IISc campus is located in the north of Bengaluru, about 4 kilometers from Bangalore City Railway Station and Kempegowda Bus Station, on the way to Yeshwantpur. The Institute is about 35 kilometers from Kempegowda International Airport. A number of other research institutes, Raman Research Institute, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Wood Research Institute and Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), are close to IISc. Most of these institutes are connected to IISc by a regular shuttle bus service.[14]

The campus houses more than 40 departments marked by routes such as the Gulmohar Marg, the Mahogany Marg, the Badami Marg, the Tala Marg, the Ashoka Marg, the Nilgiri Marg, the Silver Oak Marg, the Amra Marg and the Arjuna Marg. The Institute is fully residential and is spread over 400 acres of land in the heart of Bengaluru city.[15] The campus features six canteens (cafeterias), a gymkhana (gymnasium and sports complex), a football ground and a cricket ground, four dining messes (halls), one multi cuisine restaurant, nine men's and five women's hostels (dormitories), an air strip, a library, two shopping centers and residences of the faculty members and other staff, besides other amenities.

The IISc campus harbors both exotic and indigenous plant species with about 110 species of woody plants.[16] The roads on the campus are named after the dominant avenue tree species.[17]

The architecture of the main building, which today houses the administration and the prestigious Faculty Hall, is classical in style, fronted by a grey, handsome tower. In front of it stands the work of Gilbert Bayes, a noble monument erected in the memory of J. N. Tata. At its feet is an inscription that serves to remind future generations of the generosity of Jamsetji Tata and the persistence with which he worked for the welfare of India. The building, as one of the prominent landmarks of Bengaluru, was designed by C. F. Stevens and Company of Bombay in 1912-13.[18]

The buildings for the metallurgy and aerospace departments were designed by the German architect Otto Königsberger in 1940.[19]

A second campus is in Challakere, on an 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) lot of land. It currently holds the Talent Development Centre, established 2011.[20]


University rankings
General – international
ARWU (2017)[21] 301-400
QS (World) (2018)[22] 190
QS (BRICS) (2016)[23] 6
QS (Asia) (2018)[24] 51
Times (World) (2018)[25] 251-300
Times (BRICS) (2017)[26] 14
Times (Asia) (2017)[27] 27
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2017)[28] 1
NIRF (Universities) (2017)[29] 1

IISc was ranked 251-300 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2018,[25] the top university in India, as well as 27 in Asia[27] and 14 among BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings in 2017.[26] The QS World University Rankings of 2018 ranked IISc 190 in the world.[22] The same institute ranked it 51 in Asia in the 2018 ranking[24] and 6 among BRICS nations in 2016.[23] The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked it 301-400 in the world in 2017, the only university in India to be ranked by this ranking.[21] It was ranked top university in India by the National Institutional Ranking Framework university ranking[29] and overall ranking[28] for 2017.

Academic divisions, departments, and centres[edit]

For academic purposes, departments and centres in the Institute are broadly assigned to either the Science Faculty or the Engineering Faculty.[30] For administrative purposes (such as faculty recruitment, assessment and promotion), departments and centres are classified into six divisions, each headed by a Chairperson. Each department or centre is administered by a Chairperson.

Division Departments, Centres, and Units
Biological Sciences
  • Department of Biochemistry
  • Central Animal Facility
  • Centre for Ecological Sciences
  • Centre for Infectious Disease Research
  • Centre for Neuroscience
  • Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biophysics Unit
  • Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics
Chemical Sciences
  • Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry
  • Materials Research Centre
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Research Centre
  • Department of Organic Chemistry
  • Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit
Electrical Sciences
  • Department of Computer Science and Automation
  • Department of Electrical Communication Engineering
  • Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Electronic Systems Engineering
Mechanical Sciences
  • Department of Aerospace Engineering
  • Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Centre for Earth Sciences
  • Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing
  • Centre for Sustainable Technologies
  • Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Department of Civil Engineering
  • Divecha Centre for Climate Change
  • Department of Materials Engineering
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Programme
  • Centre for Cryogenic Technology
  • Centre for High Energy Physics
  • Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Physics
Interdisciplinary Research
  • Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning
  • Centre for Biosystems Science and Engineering
  • Centre for Contemporary Studies
  • Centre for Nano Science and Engineering
  • Department of Computational and Data Sciences
  • Department of Management Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research
  • Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems
  • Supercomputer Education and Research Centre

The following centres are directly under the director (without a divisional chairman):[30]

  • Archives and Publication Cell
  • Centre for Continuing Education
  • Center for Counseling and Support
  • Centre for Scientific & Industrial Consultancy
  • Centre for Sponsored Schemes and Projects
  • J. R. D. Tata Memorial Library
  • Office of Development and Alumni Affairs

Academic programs[edit]

Doctoral degree programs[edit]

Research students constitute more than 70% of the students on the campus. Ph.D. degrees offered in 40 different disciplines.[31] Research programs leading to doctoral degrees are the main thrust in many departments.[13] The program has a limited amount of course work, essentially to prepare the student to carry out the research, but the main emphasis is on the thesis work.[32][33][34] The annual intake of research students is approximately 250 with several candidates sponsored from educational institutions and industries.[35] The research students constitute the largest group (50%) on the campus.[35]

The Integrated Ph.D. program is designed to offer opportunities to 3-year B.Sc. graduates for pursuing advanced research in areas of biological, chemical, mathematical, and physical Sciences, leading to the Ph.D. degree.

Masters degree programs[edit]

Masters degrees offered by the institute are classified into two categories: degrees by coursework (M.Tech., M.Mgt., and M.Des.) and degrees by research [M.Tech. (research)].

The two-year M.Tech. program is available in almost all engineering departments. Due to stiff competition, one needs a high percentile in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering for admission into this program. A unique feature of the programs at the institute is the credit system which allows students to tailor the courses to suit their aptitude, interest and research requirements. Most M.Tech. programs have a set of hard core courses specified as an essential requirement whereas students can take rest of the credits from many courses available in their parent or other departments and also do a dissertation work on the topic of their choice. These courses attract highly motivated accomplished students, in addition to several sponsored candidates from R&D labs/industries and also from educational institutions under the Quality Improvement Program.

The Department of Management Studies, one of the oldest management schools in the country (established in 1948), offers a Master of Management program exclusively for engineering graduates. The Center for Product Design and Manufacturing[36] offers the Master of Design (M.Des.) course. Started in 1996, the M.Des. program is a two-year, full-time postgraduate program.

Bachelors degree programs[edit]

An undergraduate program was conceived, for students who had completed Class XII, during the Centenary Celebrations in 2009. The first batch of students was admitted in 2011. The program offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (Research) course in six disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Material Science, Mathematics, and Physics. The course aims at exposing the students to the inter-disciplinary nature in which scientific research is done in many upcoming fields, and comes at a time when the importance of science education at the undergraduate level is emphasised and several incentives are provided by the Government to promote the same.[37][38]

The program reduces the 5-year course-work (of three years' bachelor's degree and 2 years' master's degree) to 4 years; it also makes the graduates eligible to apply for graduate schools abroad, which require 16 years of education before entering a graduate school. Back home, Bachelor of Science (Research) graduates are eligible to apply for CSIR-NET, a national level examination for securing admission into Ph.D. program into various universities including IISc.

Apart from an intensive training in sciences, courses in Engineering and Humanities are prescribed to empower the student with technical skills required for a scientist, to appreciate the social context as well as constraints of doing science.[39] The science and engineering courses are offered by the respective departments at the Institute; the humanities course is offered by the Centre for Contemporary Studies (CCS) at IISc in collaboration with the Centre for Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), Bangalore.

Students enrolled in the program take courses in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Humanities, Mathematics, and Physics for the first three semesters which are common and compulsory to all. In the next 4 semesters, they choose a major discipline of study and take a handful of other science courses and a stipulated number of engineering and humanities courses. The last semester is devoted to a final project. Besides, all the students, either KVPY or DST-Inspire scholars, spend a couple of months in various research institutes across the country exploring a topic or a research problem of their interest.[40][41]

Admissions process[edit]

Admission to research Ph.D. programmes of the Institute is based on Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), career records, and technical interviews in the campus.[42] Candidates are called for interviews based on the entrance test of the Institute or GATE or National Eligibility Test. For course oriented degrees – ME and M.Tech. – the admission is through GATE conducted every year. For research oriented degree – M.Tech.(Research)—the admission is through the GATE.[43] For Master of Management (M.Mgt), which has a ceiling strength of only 25 seats across India, the admission is through Common Admission Test. Admission to MDes is through the GATE or the Common Entrance Examination for Design. Bachelor of Science graduates can get admission to integrated Ph.D. programs at IISc through the Joint Admission Test for M.Sc.[44]

J. R. D. Tata Memorial Library[edit]

Apart from the main library, the Institute also has independent departmental libraries. The library moved into the present premises in January 1965, built out of grants provided by University Grants Commission (UGC), in commemoration of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Institute in 1959. In 1995, the library was renamed as "J. R. D. Tata Memorial Library". The National Board for Higher Mathematics (NBHM) has recognised this library as Regional Center for Mathematics for the south region and continued to award a special grant towards subscription of Journals in Mathematics.

The annual budget of the library is over Rs. 100 million[45] (almost US$2,500,000) of which subscription towards periodicals alone is about Rs. 90 million. The library currently receives over 1,734 periodical titles, of which 1381 are subscribed, while the remaining titles are received as gratis or on an exchange basis. About 600 titles are accessible through the library subscription. In addition, over 10,000 journals are accessible online, thanks to INDEST subscription. The total holdings of the library exceed 411,000 documents.

Central computing facility[edit]

The Computer Centre, established in 1970 as a central computing facility, became Supercomputer Education and Research Centre (SERC) in 1990 to provide state-of-the-art computing facility to the faculty and students of the Institute. SERC is created and fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to commemorate the platinum jubilee of the Institute. It houses India's first petascale supercomputer CrayXC-40 and also the fastest supercomputer in India.[46][47]

Apart from functioning as a central computing facility of IISc, the SERC is engaged in education and research programs in areas relating to supercomputer development and application. The Centre is also involved in several sponsored research projects in collaboration with several high-profile government and private agencies.

Notable alumni[edit]

IISc has produced alumni who have held significant academic and industry positions around the globe:

Notable faculty[edit]

Two former directors, C. V. Raman and C. N. R. Rao, have been awarded India's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna.[71] Four former directors, Sir A. G. Bourne, Sir Martin O. Forster, C. V. Raman and J. C. Ghosh, have been knighted.[72][73] Among the IISc alumni, there are three Rhodes Scholars, several Fellows of the Royal Society, and thousands of members of Indian and foreign Academy of Sciences. Hundreds of IISc faculty members have also received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology awarded to Indians who have made outstanding contributions under 45 years of age. In spite of these achievements, no alumnus or serving faculty member of IISc has won either a Nobel Prize or a Fields Medal, although C. V. Raman did win a Nobel Prize before becoming the Institute's first Indian director.

Academic and industrial collaborations[edit]

The Indian Institute of Science collaborates with various government organisations like the DRDO, the ISRO, Bharat Electronics Limited, Aeronautical Development Agency, National Aerospace Laboratories, CSIR, Department of IT (Government of India), etc. IISc also works in collaboration with private industry and research labs like the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Google Inc, General Motors, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, Boeing, Robert Bosch Foundation, Pratt & Whitney and more. A few organisations have been incubated by the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) on campus, including Morphing Machines and SandI, while Gamma Porite is currently under incubation. IISc actively promotes and supports ventures by the faculty, the students and alumni. Strand Life Sciences and Ittiam are some success stories of this initiative. In March 2016, a science start-up, incubated at the IISc, has built the world's first food-grade DNA/RNA stain. This might cut the time taken to diagnose conditions such as HIV to a day, from 45 days at present.[139]

Student activities[edit]

Pravega is the annual science, technology and cultural festival of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Started in 2013 by the undergraduates of IISc, the fest advertises itself as an eclectic blend of science, technology and culture packed into three January days.

Pravega 2014 featured various scientific, technological and cultural competitions, Gaming events, music shows, lectures, video conferences, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops. The second edition, held from 29 January to 1 February 2015, built on these events and also introduced new and unique events to the mix. Events such as Whodunnit and the Literary Decathlon are some such newly introduced competitions.

IISc being India's Premier Research Institute, the fest’s technical events revolve around cutting edge Science and Engineering. Cultural events involve competitions such as Battle of Bands (prelims for which were held in four cities last year) and Lasya (a dance competition).

Over 500 colleges from across India including the IITs, NITs and IISERs are invited every year to attend this festival. Pravega is usually held on the fourth weekend of January, in the IISc Campus, Bangalore.

Many scientific workshops and camps, such as Vijyoshi (National Science Camp) for secondary school and undergraduate students, are hosted by IISc.

IISc also has active sports teams, major ones being in cricket, football, badminton and volleyball. They participate each year in the IISM (inter IISER sports meet) and a number of other tournaments and events.

IISc also has a band, Rhythmica, which performs all over the city of Bangalore and has gained acclaim as one of the city's finest college bands.

December 2005 terror attack[edit]

On 28 December 2005, two unknown men started firing indiscriminately inside the IISc campus. Munish Chander Puri, a professor from IIT Delhi, died in the attack. Four others were injured.[140][141]

See also[edit]


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