Tata World - Indian Institute of Sciences

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a premier research institution of higher learning located in Bangalore.

How was this institute established?

A chance meeting between Jamsetji N. Tata and Swami Vivekananda on a ship in 1893 when he was going to attend the World Parliament of Religions led to a discussion on Tata's plan of bringing the steel industry to India. Five years later Tata wrote to Vivekananda, "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 a Research Institute of Science for India, of which you have doubtless heard or read".

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.

Forming of the institute

The land and other facilities for the institution were given by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore, Government of India, and Tata himself. While the Maharaja donated 372 acres (1.5 km2) of land free of cost, Tata gave several buildings and his properties towards the creation of IISc.

Often called Tata Institute, IISc has made many significant contributions primarily because of a certain uniqueness in its character. It is neither a National laboratory, which concentrates solely on research and applied work, nor a conventional university, which concerns itself mainly with teaching. However, the Institute is concerned with research in frontier areas and education in current technologically important areas. It has able to innovate and introduce newer systems of imparting knowledge and educational reforms such as offering courses under a unit system and trying out methods of evaluation, which are highly reliable.

Its library was established in 1911 and it is one of the first three departments started in the Institute (the other two are Departments of General and Applied Chemistry and Electrotechnology). It is regarded as one of the best scientific and technical libraries in India. Apart from this main library every department has its own library. Departments and centers in the Institute are broadly assigned to two categories: science and engineering. Two Deans, one each for Science and Engineering administer their respective category.

IISc has been led by various high ranking scientific minds like Sir A. G. Bourne, Sir M. O. Forster, Sir C. V. Raman, Prof. Satish Dhawan, Dr C N R Rao etc. as Director of Institute.