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Home >> State Detail >> University List >> Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a research institution in India dedicated to basic research in mathematics and the sciences. It is a Deemed University and works under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India. It is located at Navy Nagar, Colaba, Mumbai. TIFR conducts research primarily in natural sciences, mathematics and theoretical computer science and is considered one of the outstanding research centres in India.[1] TIFR has a graduate program leading to a PhD in all the major fields of study.


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.[2] With support from J. R. D. Tata, then chairman of the Tata Group, TIFR was founded on 1 June 1945, and Homi Bhabha was appointed its first director.[3] The institute started function within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Banglore, and moved to Mumbai (then Bombay) later that year. TIFR's new campus in Colaba was designed by Chicago-based architect Helmuth Bartsch and was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 January 1962.

Shortly after independence, 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 Bhabha's students B. M. Udgaonkar and K. S. Singhvi.[6] In December 1950, 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.

In 1957, India's first digital computer, TIFRAC was built in TIFR. Acting on the suggestions of British physiologist Archibald Hill, Bhabha invited Obaid Siddiqi to set up a research group in molecular biology. The same Siddiqi was responsible for setting up the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore twenty years later. In 1970, TIFR started research in radio astronomy with the setting up of the Ooty Radio Telescope. Encouraged by the success of ORT, Govind Swarup persuaded J. R. D. Tata to help set up the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, India

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


Research at TIFR is distribted across three schools, working over the mathematical sciences, natural sciences, technology and computer science.

School of Mathematics

Since its birth in the 1950s, several brilliant contributions to mathematics have come from TIFR School of Mathematics. Notable contributions from TIFR mathematicians include Raghavan Narasimhan's proof of the imbedding of open Riemann surfaces in , C. S. Seshadri's work on projective modules over polynomial rings and M. S. Narasimhan's results in the theory of pseudo differential operators.

Narasimhan and Seshadri wrote a seminal paper on Stable vector bundles, work which has been recognized as one of the most influential articles in the area. M. S. Raghunathan started research at TIFR on algebraic and discrete groups, and was recognized for his work on rigidity.

School of Natural Sciences

The School of Natural Sciences is further split into seven departments working in several areas of physics, chemistry and biology.

Within physics, the Department of Theoretical Physics was set up by Dr. Bhabha, who conducted research in high energy physics. The department worked on the major advances in this period such as gauge theories, string theory, renormalization and superconductivity. The Department of Astrophysics works in areas like stellar binaries, gravitational waves and cosmology. TIFR is involved in building India's first gravity wave detector. The High Energy Physics Department, TIFR has been involved in major accelerator projects like the Tevatron, LEP and the LHC. TIFR also runs the Pelletron particle accelerator facility.[10] Bhabha's motivation resulted in the development of an NMR spectrometer for solid state studies. The Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Material Sciences also conducts experimental research in high-temperature superconductivity and nanophotonics.

School of Technology and Computer Science

The School of Technology and Computer Science was set up under Dr. S. Ramani. The school is responsible for building India's first digital computers, the TIFRAC, CDC-3600 and CYBER.

Research Facilities

TIFR has a Linear particle accelerator and a Pelletron capable of accelerating particles to moderate energies for studying heavy ion atomic interactions and a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility to study complex molecules housed in campus in addition to several other facilities. The Institute's Dental Section has been actively involved in investigations pertaining to carcinogenic effects of tobacco. In addition to in campus facilities the institute has several field stations and research facilities in different parts of the country. A Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope, the largest of its kind in the world, is operational at Khodad near Narayangaon, north of Pune and a large equatorially mounted cylindrical radio telescope and a high energy cosmic ray laboratory are operational at Udhagamandalam in Tamil Nadu. High Energy Cosmic ray and Gamma Ray laboratories are operated from Pachamarhi in Madhya Pradesh. TIFR runs a National Balloon Facility in Hyderabad which is among the best in the world and has the geographical advantage of being close to the geomagnetic equator. At Gauribidanur, TIFR scientists have built an extremely sensitive balance to study the difference between gravitational and inertial mass.

In addition to the research laboratories, the facilities of TIFR include:

• A library with more than one hundred thousand books and journals in its collection. The library is fully computerized and provides microfilm, microfiche, audio - video and compact disk reading facilities.
• A central computing facility together with individually assigned personal computers and workstations for computation, control and monitoring of experiments and data analysis.
• A network connected to the world grid through high speed communication networks.
• A liquid helium facility for very low temperature experimental studies.
• A large workshop and glass blowing section for manufacturing high precision instruments. Pioneering work done in the Institute in several areas has resulted in the establishment of new National organizations such as the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST). In addition, several projects for which technology was developed at the Institute, were transferred to the industry and other departments of the Government of India.

Noted alumni

• Prof. Homi J. Bhabha, Nuclear physicist, regarded as the Father of Indian Atomic Energy Program
• Prof. Yash Pal, Science Educator
• Prof. M. G. K. Menon, Cosmic ray Physicist
• Prof. M. S. Raghunathan, FRS, Mathematician
• Prof. Jayant Narlikar, Astronomer
• Prof. E.C.G. Sudarshan, theoretical physicist

Affiliated Research institutes

TIFR also includes institutes outside its main campus in Colaba and Mumbai:

• Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education at Deonar, Mumbai
• National Centre for Radio Astrophysics at Pune
• National Centre for Biological Sciences at Bangalore
• TIFR Centre, Bangalore for Mathematics
• International Centre for Theoretical Sciences at Bangalore
• National Balloon Facility at Hyderabad
• TIFR Hyderabad (proposed center commencing in 2011)

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