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Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) is a premier Scientific Research Institute located in Kolkata. Founded in the year 1876 by Dr. Mahendralal Sircar, an acclaimed medical practitioner of his time, IACS is the oldest scientific institution in Asia funded by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and the Government of West Bengal. Sir C.V. Raman made his historic discovery of ‘Raman Effect’ at IACS. It continues to adorn the mantle of academic and intellectual excellence in India and abroad. The various laboratories at every corner of this great institution reverberate with the resounding legacy of the unparalleled scientific excellence for which this city is proud of. For the benefit of all of you, I take this opportunity to briefly summarize our institute’s glorious past, an eloquent present and an ambitious future.
The latter half of the nineteenth century witnessed an intellectual renaissance in undivided Bengal. During this time, when there were almost no noteworthy institution in the country to impart quality education in science and culture, several eminent personalities from diverse disciplines committed themselves to the cause of institution building. One such personality was Mahendralal Sircar, who was educated as a medical practitioner and was a personal physician of the renowned sage Rama Krishna Paramahansa Deb. But he had a mission to establish an institution where “lectures on scientific subjects will be systematically delivered”. Mahendralal's cherished dream took shape when the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science was inaugurated at the 12, Bowbazar Street campus on July 29, 1876. The founder secretary to the Association was Mahendralal himself, with the first Trustee Board comprising persons like Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar and Keshab Chandra Sen. During the early years, the IACS received handsome patronage from other eminent personalities of that time like Sri Gurudas Banerjee, Raja Rajendralal Mitra, Sir Surendranath Banerjee and Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee. The original mandate of delivering lectures in science was materialized soon when Father Lafont, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sir Asutosh Mookerjee and Rai Bahadur Chunilal Bose began teaching in the Association.
A modest beginning, but an ambitious foresight, saw the Association catapult into a centre of repute, which found Mahendralal's creation firmly embedded into the history of science in India. The pinnacle of success was soon to be attained with the discovery of the Raman Effect and quick to follow was the recognition of Nobel Prize. Streams of luminaries who were associated with the institute were stalwarts like Sir Nilratan Sircar, Sir Jnan Chandra Ghosh, Dr. Syamaprasad Mookerjee, Professor Satyandranath Bose and Professor M.N. Saha. Raman's legacy of excellence in physics was aptly carried forward in IACS first by Professor K.S. Krishnan and later by Professor Kedareshwar Banerjee.
In 1946 the Association embarked upon a new development plan under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Meghnad Saha envisaging the creation of an active research school for investigation on the problems continuing with the fundamental studies in X-rays, Optics, Magnetism, and Raman Effect in which the Association had specialized in early years. A new campus was opened at Jadavpur which became a sprawling complex of educational research and industrial establishments, where the laboratories were shifted from Bowbazar Street. Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy played a key role to provide the land for the new campus in Jadavpur through a gazette notification of November 20, 1947 of the Government of West Bengal. By 26th February 1948 Dr. M. N. Saha with the help of prominent architects in Calcutta prepared a master plan of the Jadavpur Campus of IACS.
Today 141 years after its inception, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, continues to adorn the mantle of academic and intellectual excellence in India and abroad and now stands at the crossroad of a critical era. Apart from fundamental researches in the various frontier areas of physics and chemistry, IACS has ventured in a significant way, for the past few years, into the emerging multidisciplinary areas such as non-conventional energy sources, advanced and novel nano-materials, chemical biology and interdisciplinary sciences. The institute wishes to consolidate in the fields it has long-established reputations, and at the same time looks forward to integrating them to the emerging areas.
Now it is an autonomous research institution headed by a Governing Council. Apart from grants-in-aid received from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India and Government of West Bengal, Scientists at IACS arranges extramural funding for carrying out their research in diverse areas of basic and application oriented science. IACS also hosts industrial projects and receives private donations. At present, IACS has more than 400 research students/associates working under the guidance of about 67 faculty members working in physics, chemistry and biology, with an annual budgetary outlay of about Rs 112.44 crores during the current fiscal year. The present Director of the Institute is Professor Santanu Bhattacharya. The Institute has dynamic programmes for the pursuit of research leading to the doctoral degree and for post-doctoral work and has Visiting Scientists Scheme. There is an excellent library, good computing facilities and the campus is equipped with all modern facilities and amenities.
Located in South Kolkata (you will find a guide to Calcutta here) the Institute is adjacent to the Jadavpur University and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology. The quiet surroundings and a commitment to a green environment make IACS a haven for scholarly pursuits. Situated in Jadavpur, the institute enjoys the conveniences of the metropolis and yet is withdrawn from the bustle of the city center. The main building house the Auditorium (MLS Hall), Seminar Rooms, Council Room, allmost all departments, administrative hall etc. Within the walled campus there is a modern library, Energy Research Building, Biological Chemistry Building, Computer Centre, Workshop, Liquid Nitrogen Facility, Canteen, essential staff quarters, Research Scholars' hostels, pool, play ground and a beautiful lawn. The land area of the Association premises is 9.54 acres
Motivated students aspiring to do high quality research in Physics and Chemistry are selected every year. The selection is through an interview. The students have access to all facilities in the institute and can stay in the hostel within the institute campus.
Candidates with a PhD degree from leading institutions are encouraged to apply for Post-doctoral fellowships tenable for a period of one to two years.
Post-B. Sc. Integrated Ph. D. in Chemical Sciences Programme
In an effort to foster academic cooperation between Research Institutes and Universities, IACS started conducting a Post B.Sc Integrated Ph.D Programme in Chemical Sciences (INTPCS) since the academic session 2005-2006. The primary objective is to offer research oriented multi-disciplinary courses, including not only the basics of Organic, Inorganic, Physical and Analytical Chemistries but also covering modern areas of Material Science and Biology which bear a close kinship and an almost compulsory overlap with these traditional branches.
Summer School on Basic Sciences for School Leaving Students
The theme of this program is to drive home the point that understanding a subject is the first step to loving the subject, that true love comes from true understanding and eventually this abstract love can be real enough to partially counter the love for material well-being.
The school normally begins in the last week of April after the IIT JEE and the state JEE are over and runs for two months. There are normally two to four lectures per day, five days a week making a total of 80 lectures. The afternoon session involves computer classes -both theoretical and practical. The lectures are basically of three categories
A) 6-9 lecture course on the basics of a subject
B) 2-4 lecture course on some frontier area
C) Special lectures on diverse topics
Summer Project Fellowship
Applications are normally invited from the under-graduate and post-graduate students of mathematical, physical, chemical and biological sciences/ Engineering of the allied discipline of Indian Universities/Institutes/Colleges for the posts of Summer Project Fellow at IACS during March - April.
Each Fellowship is tenable for two months. The gross emoluments for the Fellowship for the under-graduate and post-graduate students are Rs. 3000/- per month and Rs. 5000/- per month, respectively.
Candidates may apply to the Dean (Academic) at sprf [AT] iacs.res.in giving the following details:
1. A brief bio-data
2. Intended area of work
Students are also requested to arrange for a letter of recommendation from Head/ Competent authority of the affiliated University/ College/ Institute. The final selection for the award of Fellowships is to be done by duly constituted committee.
Visiting Scientists Programme
Internationally reputed, front-ranking scientists from the world over visit the Institute frequently for periods ranging from a few weeks to several months. They collaborate with the IACS scientists and give seminars and colloquia. Over the years IACS has been privileged to have several Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists among its distinguished visitors.
Workshops and Symposia in various fields are organized frequently by the Institute. We also take part in the Theoretical Physics Seminar Circuit (TPSC) under which physicists can visit leading research centers in India and lecture on their work. IACS actively participates in advanced schools like those conducted by the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The Institute actively encourages its members to collaborate with scientists elsewhere, and provides the required help.