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Indian Institute of Science
UniversityIndian Institute of Science (IISc) is a research institution of higher learning located in Bangalore, India. It was established in 1909. It is considered as the vision and driving force behind the creation of modern engineering institutes of India like IIT and NIT.


After a chance 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:

“ 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. 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 Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore,( now called State of Karnataka) and Tata himself. The Maharaja donated about 400 acres (1.5 km2)[3] of land worth 2 billion US dollars today.[4] Tata gave several buildings towards the creation of IISc.

The constitution of the Institute was approved by the Viceroy Lord Minto, and the necessary Vesting Order was signed on 27 May 1909. 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, 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, and the current Director is Padmanabhan Balaram.

The Institute was the first to introduce (i) Masters programs in engineering; (ii) more recently, the Integrated Ph. D. Programs in Biological, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences for science graduates; (iii) the new IISc Young Fellowship program for the first 20 rank holders at the +2 level; and (iv) IISc Young Engineering Fellowship program for merited III year B. E. / B. Tech. students.[citation needed]


The IISc campus is located in North Bangalore about 4 kilometers from the city's main railway station and bus stand on the way to Yeshwantpur. Bus routes from 250-series through 276 serve this institute from the Kempegowda Bus Station (also known as Majestic) and it is also easily accessible by auto-rikshaws.

The campus houses more than 40 departments, six canteens (cafeterias), a gymkhana (gymnasium and sports complex), a football and a cricket ground, three dining messes (halls), one multicuisine family restaurant, nine men's and five women's hostels (dormitories), an air strip, a library, two shopping centers, a massage parlour, a beauty parlour and residence areas for faculties and other staff members.

The IISc campus harbors both exotic and indigenous plant species with about 110 species of woody plants, including quite a number of Jackfruit trees. [8] The roads on the campus are named after the dominant avenue tree species. The campus was intended to be maintained with sufficient green cover and open areas.

The institute is an island of greenery within Bangalore and about twelve different species of snakes and endangered species like the Gray Slender Loris have been found in its campus. A Snake Rescue group is available on call to translocate and prevent the killing of snakes.


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.[citation needed] Apart from the main library, the Institute also has independent departmental libraries. The library moved in to 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[citation needed] (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.

SERC is the country's leading computing centre having the state-of-the art computing facilities, catering to the ever-increasing demands of high performance computing for scientific and engineering research. The supercomputing facility at SERC is a symbiosis of computing, network, graphics, and visualization and is conceived as a functionally distributed supercomputing environment housing state-of-the-art computing systems with sophisticated software packages and connected by a powerful high-speed network. It has the fastest supercomputer of India.

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 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.

The faculty of science comprises three 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)

The engineering faculty are divided into two divisions:

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

Each of these five 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):

• Centre For Electronics Design And Technology
• Centre for Continuing Education
• Center for Sponsored Schemes and Projects
• Centre for Scientific & Industrial Consultancy
• J. R. D. Tata Memorial Library
• National Centre for Science Information
• Supercomputer Education and Research Centre
• BioInformatics Centre
• Digital Information Services Centre
• Archives and Publication Cell


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. 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. PhD and M.S(Engg) degrees each year, which is probably the largest for any institution in India. The annual intake of research students is approximately 250 with several candidates sponsored from educational institutions and industries. The research students constitute the largest group(50%) on the campus.

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 MBA program exclusively for engineering graduates. The Center for Product Design and Manufacturing offers the Master of Design course. Started in 1996, the MDes program is a two-year, full-time graduate program.


University rankings (overall)

IISc has been ranked No. 1 (outperforming the other listed institutes comprehensively) in an article titled "Ranking of Indian engineering and technological institutes for their research performance during 1999–2008" that was recently published in the journal Current Science.

Worldwide, the institute falls among the top 400 according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The institute has rank within 76-100 according to Academic Ranking of World Universities in Chemistry - 2010 and Academic Ranking of World Universities in Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences - 2010.[19] Excerpt from BBC news reads as "IISc, which is not an university but a research institute is ranked higher than IITs in research in India".


Admission into IISc is highly competitive. Usually only the top 0.1 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 -- M.Sc(Engg) which is similar to MS with Thesis—the admission is through the GATE.[21] For Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), which has a ceiling strength of only 25 seats across India, the admission is through CAT (Common Admission Test) starting from 2011

Academic/ 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. Few organisations have been incubated in campus viz Mahindra Satyam, Cranes Software. IISc actively promotes and supports ventures by faculty, students and alumni. Strand Life Sciences, Pico pita and Ittiam are some success stories of this initiative.

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