Tata World - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a research institution in India dedicated to basic research in mathematics and the sciences. It is an autonomous institute under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India. It is located in the Colaba area of Mumbai. It also has campuses in Pune and Bangalore and research facilities in various other places in India. TIFR conducts research primarily in natural sciences, mathematics and theoretical computer science and is considered one of the outstanding research centres in India.


In 1944, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, known for his role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program, wrote to Sir Dorabji Tata Trust requesting financial assistance to set up a scientific research institute. With support from J. R. D. Tata, then chairman of the Tata Group, TIFR was founded on 1 June 1945, and Homi J. Bhabha was appointed its first director. The institute started functioning within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and moved to Bombay later that year. TIFR's new campus in Colaba was designed by Chicago-based architect Helmuth Bartsch and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 January 1962.

In 1949, the Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) designated TIFR to be the centre for all large-scale projects in nuclear research. The first theoretical physics group was set up by Dr. Bhabha's students B. M. Udgaonkar and K. S. Singhvi. In December 1950, Dr. Bhabha organized an international conference at TIFR on Elementary Particle Physics. Several world-renowned scientists attended the conference, including Rudolf Peierls, Léon Rosenfeld, William Fowler and Meghnad Saha, Vikram Sarabhai and others from India. In the 1950s, TIFR gained prominence in the field of Cosmic ray physics, with the setting up of research facilities in Ooty and in the Kolar gold mines.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator (TIFRAC)

TIFRAC, a first-generation main-frame computer developed for scientific computations, was commissioned on 22 February 1960 at TIFR. Initially a TIFR Pilot Machine was developed in the 1950s. It was started in 1955 and commissioned in November 1956. The main assembly of TIFRAC, which had vacuum tubes was housed in a massive steel rack measuring 18 ft X 2.5 ft X 8 ft. It was fabricated from modules of 4 ft X 2.5 ft X 8 ft. Each module had steel doors on either side for accessing the circuits. A manual console served as the input/output control unit of the computer that had a ferrite core memory of just 1024 words.

This amounted to one KB of RAM of a Computer Word of 40 bit width. Input to the TIFRAC was by means of a punched paper tape and the output was either printed out directly or punched on paper tape. A cathode ray tube display system was developed to serve as an auxiliary output to the computer for analogue and digital display of both graphs and alpha-numeric symbols. The software of TIFRAC were written in a series of commands of 1's and 0's

The development of TIFRAC helped understanding the infrastructural needs and personnel requirement necessary for establishing a computer industry in India.

TIFR Today

TIFR attained the official deemed university status in June 2002. To meet the ever growing demand of space needed for research labs and accommodation, the institute is coming up with a new campus in Hyderabad which is expected to start functioning soon.