Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a public research institution located in Mumbai, India that is 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, with an affiliated campus in Serilingampally near Hyderabad. TIFR conducts research primarily in the natural sciences, mathematics, the biological sciences and theoretical computer science and is considered to be one among India's outstanding research centres. TIFR has a graduate programme leading to a PhD in all the major fields of study.
In 1944, Homi J. Bhabha, known for his role in the development of the Indian atomic energy programme, wrote to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust requesting financial assistance to set up a scientific research institute. 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. The institute initially operated within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Banglore before relocating to Mumbai later that year. TIFR's new campus in Colaba was designed by Chicago-based architect Helmuth Bartsch and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 January 1962.
Shortly after Indian Independence, in 1949, the 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. In December 1950, Bhabha organised an international conference at TIFR on elementary particle physics. Several world-renowned scientists attended the conference, including Rudolf Peierls, Léon Rosenfeld, William Fowler as well as Meghnad Saha, Vikram Sarabhai and others providing expertise 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. This ultimately resulted in the establishment of 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 distributed across three schools, working over the mathematical sciences, natural sciences, technology and computer science.
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 embedding 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 recognised as one of the most influential articles in the area. M. S. Raghunathan started research at TIFR on algebraic and discrete groups, and was recognised for his work on rigidity.
Within physics, the Department of Theoretical Physics was set up by Bhabha, who conducted research in high energy physics and Condensed Matter Physics. The department worked on the major advances in this period such as gauge theories, string theory, renormalisation 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 KEK, Tevatron, LEP and the LHC. TIFR also runs the Pelletron particle accelerator facility. 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, nanoelectronics and nanophotonics.
The School of Technology and Computer Science grew out of early activities carried out at TIFR for building digital computers. Today, its activities cover areas such as Algorithms, Complexity Theory, Formal Method, Applied Probability, Mathematical Finance, Information Theory, Communications, etc.
The Department Of Biological Sciences was set up by Obaid Siddiqui in early 1960s as a molecular biology group. Over the years has expanded to encompass various other branches of modern biology. The department has fourteen labs covering various aspects of modern molecular and cell biology.
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:
TIFR is renowned for two canteens called the West and the East Canteen. The West Canteen makes western continental food and the east canteen prepares Indian food. Another canteen located in the housing complex - the Jagdish Canteen - is sublet to a private contractor.
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The Visiting Students Research Programme (VSRP) is a summer programme conducted annually during the summer season by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. VSRP is offered in the subjects Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology and Computer Science.
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