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Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
File:Tifr main.jpg
TIFR main campus, Bombay
Established June 1, 1945
Type Deemed University
Director Sandip Trivedi
Location Mumbai, India
Campus Urban
Nickname Template:If empty

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a research institution in Bombay, 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 the natural sciences, mathematics, the biological sciences and theoretical computer science and is considered to be one among India's outstanding research centres.[1] TIFR has a graduate program leading to a PhD in all the major fields of study. TIFR is rated with an “A” grade, as determined by India's Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). It is the only one among 4 in the state of Maharashtra, the other 3 being the centrally funded Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE).[2]


In 1944, Homi J. Bhabha, known for his role in the development of the Indian atomic energy program, wrote to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust requesting financial assistance to set up a scientific research institute.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6][7] The first theoretical physics group was set up by Bhabha's students B.M. Udgaonkar and K.S. Singhvi.[8] 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 as well as Meghnad Saha, Vikram Sarabhai and others providing expertise from India.[8] 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.[3] 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[8]

TIFR attained the official deemed university status in June 2002.[9] To meet the ever growing demand of space needed for research labs and accommodation institute is coming up with a new campus at Hyderabad.[10]


Research at TIFR is distributed 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 <math>\mathbb{C}^3</math>, C. S. Seshadri's work on projective modules over polynomial rings and M. S. Narasimhan's results in the theory of pseudo differential operators.[8]

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.[8] 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 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.[1] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

School of Technology and Computer Science

The School of Technology and Computer Science was set up under S. Ramani. The school is responsible for building India's first digital computers, the TIFRAC, CDC-3600 and CYBER.[3] Notable computer science researchers includeMathai Joseph and Paritosh Pandya.

Department of Biological Sciences

The Department Of Biological Sciences was set up by Obaid Siddiqui in early 1960s as a molecular biology group.[citation needed] 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.

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.

Other facilities


TIFR is renowned for two canteens called the West and the East Canteen. The West Canteen tries to make 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.

Lecture Halls

TIFR has three lecture halls - AG66, AG69 and AG80.


TIFR has an extensive collection of modern art including several pieces by M.F. Hussain and V.S Gaitonde.


TIFR has beautiful lawns. The major one is called amoeba garden which is out of bounds for people wearing shoes.

Noted alumni

Affiliated research institutes

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

Visiting Students Research Programme

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.[14]

See also

  • TIFRAC, the first computer built indigenously in India


  1. ^ a b Special Correspondent (November 2005). "Making bright ideas happen". Frontline 22 (23). Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, Shobo. "Fanning the spirit of frontier science". Tata sons Ltd. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Lala, R. M. (29 July 2005). "JRD — The builder of modern Tatas". Business Line. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Raychaudhari, Oindrilla. "History of TIFR". Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  6. ^ U.P.I. (February 2, 1949). "Tata Institute to be centre of nuclear research". The Indian Express. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "NPIHP Partners Release New Documents on Indian Nuclear History". Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Sreekantan, B. V. (March 2006). "Sixty years of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research 1945–2005" (PDF). Current Science 90 (5). Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "About TIFR". University Cell, TIFR. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "TIFR Hyderabad-bound for Bhabha b’day". 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  11. ^ "TIFR approves the construction of a 3-meter prototype interferometer". Indigo. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "4 MV BARC-TIFR Pelletron Accelerator located at TIFR, Mumbai". TIFR. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "Visiting Students Research Program". 

External links

Coordinates: 18°54′27″N 72°48′22″E / 18.90757°N 72.80601°E / 18.90757; 72.80601 (TIFR){{#coordinates:18.90757|72.80601|type:landmark|||||| |primary |name=TIFR }}