Indian Institute of Science

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Indian Institute of Science
Indian Institute of Science Logo.svg
also called the "Tata Institute"
Established 1909[1]
Type Public institution, Deemed University
Director P. Balaram[2]
Location Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Campus Urban

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is a premier public institution for scientific and technological research and higher education located in Bengaluru, India. Established in 1909 with an active support from Jamsetji Tata it is locally known as "Tata Institute".[3] It acquired the status of a Deemed University in 1958.


Jamshedji Tata, founder

After an accidental meeting between Jamsetji 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:[8][9]

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

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, Prof. 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 400 acres (1.6 km2)[11] of land worth 2 billion US dollars today.[12] Tata gave several buildings towards the creation of IISc.[13]

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.[14] 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.[14] The current Director is Padmanabhan Balaram.

The Institute was the first to introduce (i) Masters programs in engineering. It has also started integrated Ph.D. Programs in Biological, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences for science graduates.[10]


The IISc campus is located in North Bangalore about 4 kilometers from the Bangalore City Railway Station and bus stand on the way to Yeshwantpur. The Institute is about 35 kilometres from new Bangalore International Airport. A number of other research institutes viz. Raman Research Institute, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Wood Research Institute and Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) are close to IISc.[15]

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 spreads over 400 acres of land situated in the heart of Bangalore city.[16] The campus features six canteens (cafeterias), a gymkhana (gymnasium and sports complex), a football and a cricket ground, five dining messes (halls), one multicuisine family restaurant, nine men's and five women's hostels (dormitories), an air strip, a library, two shopping centers and residence areas for faculties and other staff members, besides other amenities.

The IISc campus harbors both exotic and indigenous plant species with about 110 species of woody plants.[17] The roads on the campus are named after the dominant avenue tree species.[18]

Main building[]

Sheeju iisc.jpg

The architecture -of the main building, which today houses the administration and the prestigious Faculty Hall, is in classical style, carried out in a grey handsome tower. In front of it stands the work of Gilbert Bayes, a noble monument erected in memory of J. N. Tata. At its feet is an inscription which will serve 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 Bangalore, was designed by C. F. Stevens and Company of Bombay in 1912 - 13.[19]


The 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.[20] 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 [21] (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[]

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 has the 6th fastest supercomputer of India.[22]

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.



Departments and centres in the Institute are broadly assigned to two categories: science and engineering. Two Deans, one each for Science and Engineering administer their respective category.

The faculty of science comprises four divisions:

  • Division of Biological Sciences (headed by Prof. D.N. Rao)
  • Division of Chemical Sciences (headed by Prof. S. Ramakrishnan)
  • Division of Mathematical & Physical Sciences (headed by Prof. Rahul Pandit)
  • Division of Earth & Environmental Sciences (headed by Prof. B.N. Raghunandan)
  • Division of Systems Engineering

The engineering faculty consists of two divisions:

  • Division of Electrical Sciences (headed by Prof. Anurag Kumar)
  • Division of Mechanical Sciences (headed by Prof. K Chattopadhyay)

Each of these six divisions are administered by a divisional chairman. Each department or centre, under these divisions, is administered by a Chairman of the department or centre.

The following centers are directly under the director (without a divisional chairman):


Degrees offered by the institute may be broadly classified into two categories: Degrees by Research (PhD, integrated PhD, BS (core science and interdisciplinary topics) and MS(Engg.)), and degrees by coursework (ME/MTech/MBA/MDes).

Research programs leading to M.Sc(Engg)/PhD degrees are the main thrust in many departments.[14] 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.[23][24][25] The annual intake of research students is approximately 250 with several candidates sponsored from educational institutions and industries.[26] The research students constitute the largest group(50%) on the campus.[26]

The Integrated PhD program is designed to offer exciting opportunities to motivated and talented BSc/BE graduates with a keen sense of scientific inquiry for pursuing advanced research in frontier areas of Biological, Chemical and Physical Sciences, leading to the Ph. D. degree of the Institute.

Two-year programs leading to the ME/MTech/MSc(Engg) degree by course work are available in almost all engineering departments. One needs to score a very high percentile in GATE (GATE) to get admission into these programs. A unique feature of the ME/MTech/MS(Engg) programs at the institute is the credit system which allows students to tailor the courses to suit their aptitude, interest and research requirements. Most ME/MTech 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 Programme (QIP).

The Department of Management Studies, one of the oldest management schools in the country (established in 1948), offers an M.Mgt program exclusively for engineering graduates. The Center for Product Design and Manufacturing, CPDM,[27] offers the Master of Design course. Started in 1996, the MDes program is a two-year, full-time post-graduate program.

Bachelor of Science (BS) Program is a new program offered from 2011. It is designed to serve as a launching pad for research and doctoral studies in science and technology.[28] Major disciplines currently offered include Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Materials, Mathematics and Physics. Admissions are based on scores from the following national examinations: KVPY-SA, KVPY-SB, KVPY-SX/SB+2, JEE(Mains and Advance), Neet.[29]

Undergraduate Programme[]

An Undergraduate program was conceived, for students who had completed Class XII, during the Centenary Celebrations in 2009.[30] The first batch of students was admitted in 2011. The program offers a four year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) course in six disciplines, namely 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.[31][32]

Abdul Kalam with some students of the first batch

The coursework reduces the five year course work of 3+2 bachelor's + master's to four 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, BS 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.[33] 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 three semesters (1-3) which are common and compulsory to all. In the next four semesters (4-7), 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.[34][35]

In the inaugural batch of 83 students (class of 2011-15),[36] Physics is chosen as a major by the highest number of students (27), followed by Biology (22) and Mathematics (14). Materials Science (10), Chemistry (7) and Environmental Science (3) trail behind.


University rankings
General – International
ARWU[38] 301-400 [37]

In 2011, IISc was the only Indian university ranked in the top 500 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, at 301-400th place overall. IISc managed to maintain its overall ranking through the 2012 and 2013 rankings. In 2013, it ranked 43rd in Chemistry and 51-75 in Computer Science.[38] In latest World Reputation Rankings for 2013, Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, UK, for the first time, has released an India top-10 list. According to The India Reputation Rankings, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, is in the first position. In 2012 IISc was ranked 35 in the Global Employability Survey and it was the only Indian institution in that list. IISc was ranked 39 in Materials Science, 59 in Chemistry, 50–100 in Engineering/Technology and Computer Science in the [39]


Admission into IISc is highly competitive. Usually only the top 0.01 percent candidates qualifying the GATE examination are able to clear the cutoff for M. E. / M. Tech. admissions. Depending on the department and the number of students, the cutoff can get much higher. Admission to research programmes of the Institute, both PhD and M.Sc(Engg), is based on career analysis and (possibly) multiple rounds of technical interviews in the campus. Candidates are called for interview based on the entrance test of the Institute or GATE or any other test recognised by the Institute (which depends on the choice of department and specialization). For course oriented degrees -- M. E. and M. Tech. -- the admission is through the GATE examination conducted every year. For research oriented degree -- Master of Science which is similar to MS with Thesis—the admission is through the GATE.[40] For Master of Management(M.Mgt), which has a ceiling strength of only 25 seats across India, the admission is through CAT (Common Admission Test). Admission to MDes is through the GATE or the CEED (Common Entrance Examination for Design).

Academic and industrial collaborations[]

IISc collaborates with various government organizations like DRDO, ISRO, Bharat Electronics Limited, Aeronautical Development Agency, National Aerospace Laboratories, CSIR, Department of IT (Government of India). IISc also works in collaboration with private industry and research labs like Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Google Inc, General Motors, Microsoft Research, IBM Research, Boeing ,Robert Bosch Foundation and also with Pratt & Whitney. Few organisations have been incubated by Society for Innovation and Development (SID) in the campus, viz Morphing Machines,SandI , while Gamma Porite is currently under incubation. IISc actively promotes and supports ventures by faculty, students and alumni. Strand Life Sciences, Ittiam are some success stories of this initiative.

Student Activities[]

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 October days. Pravega 2013-14 will feature various scientific, technological and cultural competitions, lectures, video conferences, exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops. IISc being India's premier research institute, the fest’s technical events will revolve around cutting edge science and engineering.

Over 500 colleges from across India including the IITs, NITs and IISERs will be invited to attend the first edition. It is scheduled to be held from 31 January- 2 February 2014 in the IISc Campus, Bangalore.

See also[]


  1. ^ "IISc History". 
  2. ^ "administration". 
  3. ^ "Our Heritage". Pursuit and Promotion of Science. Indian Institute of Science. p. 18. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c revised date= 20 Jun (2008). "Indian Institute of Science Archives". Archives and Publications Cell, IISc, Bangalore. 
  5. ^ "Indian Institute of Science : The First Hundred Years". IISC. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Hindu : An institution builder". Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  7. ^ "Indian Academy of Sciences - Prof. S. Ramaseshan". 10 October 1923. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  8. ^ "President's Address at the Integrity India Campaign by the CII at Coimbatore". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 19 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  9. ^ Gandhi, Divya (4 June 2007). "Story of IISc to be relived through an archives cell". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  10. ^ a b "A Historical Perspective". Indian Institute of Science. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "Residential Land in Malleshwaram Malleswaram - - for sale". 15 June 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  13. ^ "Science with a soul". Tata Group. Archived from the original on 20 February 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  14. ^ a b c Warrier, BS (January 30 191). "The IISc stamp on science research". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "23rd International Conference on Raman Spectroscopy". Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "In the heart of Bangalore". Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Flora At IISc Campus
  18. ^ IISc (1992) Landuse Masterplan
  19. ^ "Building as landmark of Bangalore". Retrieved 2013-04-17. 
  20. ^ "JRD Tata Memorial Library". 
  21. ^ "About J R D Tata Memorial Library". 
  22. ^ "Top Supercomputers - India". 
  23. ^ "Welcome to Department of Mechanical Engineering, IISc". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  24. ^ "Electrical Communication Engineering, IISc". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  25. ^ "Supercomputer Education and Research Centre(Academics)". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  26. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  27. ^ "CPDM, Indian Institute of Science". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  28. ^ "4 year Undergraduate programme". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  29. ^ "UG programme at IISc website". 30 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  30. ^ "Dinamalar". Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  31. ^ "IISc UG Website". IISc. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  32. ^ "Times of India". Times of India. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  33. ^ "IISc UG Website". IISc. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  34. ^ "KVPY". KVPY,DST,Government of India. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  35. ^ Retrieved 3 July 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  36. ^ Quarks 1 (1): 3. 2013 |url= missing title (help). 
  37. ^ Academic Ranking of World Universities in Computer Science - 2013 | 2013 Top 200 Universities in Computer Science | ARWU-SUBJECT 2013. Retrieved on 2013-10-09.
  38. ^ a b "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  39. ^ "INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE RANKINGS". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  40. ^ "Indian Institute of Science". Retrieved 2012-10-26. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 13°01′11″N 77°33′58″E / 13.01978°N 77.56605°E / 13.01978; 77.56605

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