In the 1890s, Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, a successful industrialist, decided to set up a world class university in India using his personal wealth. He strongly believed in the role of scientific research and higher education in social and economic transformation.
Tata’s dream of establishing what eventually came to be known as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) became a reality with the support of the Mysore State, whose rulers also shared his commitment towards education and research. The Regent Queen Maharani Kempananjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana – her son Krishnaraja Wadiyar was a minor then – provided 371 acres and 16 guntas of land in Bangalore, funds for capital expenditure, and an annual contribution for Tata’s ambitious project. The remaining money to set up IISc came from the colonial government of India.
After overcoming several hurdles, including those resulting from Tata’s untimely death in the summer of 1904, IISc finally came into existence on 27 May 1909 in Bangalore following a vesting order and resolution passed by the government of India to establish the Institute. Its first Director was the English chemist Morris Travers. Twenty-four students joined when the Institute opened its doors to students in 1911.
The Institute started with just two academic departments: General and Applied Chemistry, and Electrical Technology. During those early years, urged by Sir M Visvesvaraya, the Dewan of Mysore who was nominated to IISc’s Council, researchers carried out studies that were of immediate importance to the country. This research even led to the establishment of six factories in less than five years. The most successful of these were the soap and sandalwood oil factories in Bangalore and Mysore. The Institute also grew to include departments such as those of Biochemistry and Physics. The latter was set up under Sir CV Raman, a Nobel Laureate who also became the first Indian Director of IISc in 1933.
During World War II, IISc contributed towards the war effort by training personnel, manufacturing military and industrial goods, and collaborating with Hindustan Aircraft Limited to repair and maintain British and American war planes. This period saw an expansion of research in engineering, and new departments such as those of Aeronautical Engineering, Metallurgy, and Mechanical Engineering were added in the 1940s.
In the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, under the stewardship of Director Satish Dhawan (an eminent aerospace engineer who also led ISRO), the Institute grew further to include a diverse range of research areas from materials science, computer science and automation, and molecular biophysics, to interdisciplinary work under the Centre for Theoretical Studies, which eventually led to the formation of other centres in ecology, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, and more. The social impact of advancements in science was also a key focus during this period, particularly under the Cell for Application of Science and Technology to Rural Areas (ASTRA), which continues today as the Centre for Sustainable Technologies.
Invites you to a webinar series on
Science and Society
Science has emerged both as an instrument of power and a tool of emancipation. Owing to this two-pronged nature, no other system of knowledge affect the society so acutely and immediately like science. In this webinar series we attempt to elucidate the ideal relationship of science with society.
German Émigré Scientists and Engineers and Aeronautics in India (Click here for the poster )
Abstract: We will explore the stories of German émigré scientists and engineers in India through the history of India’s first jetfighter, Marut – HF 24. Looking at three separate waves of German emigration to India from the 1930s to the 1950s, we will trace their links to the development of facilities for advanced research and education in aeronautics and aerodynamics, and eventually, to, manufacturing of aircraft. Two aspects of this story are significant: the transnational networks of German speaking aeronautical engineers and scientists, including that of Indian students trained in Germany; and, second, the constraints of Cold War geopolitics as they shaped the conditions under which the aircraft could be manufactured. Of particular interest to us is the specific configuration of the military-industrial-academic complex in India, an idea that is yet to receive substantial scholarly attention.
Speaker: Jahnavi Phalkey
Science Gallery, Bengaluru
Date: 25 January 2021 (Monday)
Time: 4.00 pm
Click to join: https://bit.ly/33SQiY2
All are welcome.
For any queries, please contact Dr. Bitasta Das (email@example.com), Office of Communications, Indian Institute of Science.
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