BENGALURU: The J N Tata Auditorium on the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus was a happy place on Friday morning. Old classmates and friends met and spoke about the days they shared, at the IISc Alumni Global Conference.
Faculty members and IISc alumni from outside the city were seen greeting each other warmly with slaps on each others’ backs and heading out for tea like in the old days. Retired aerospace scientist Prof Roddam Narasimha was spotted helping another alumnus up the stairs.
In the audience were Prof Raghavendra Gadagkar of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Prof Narasimha, Prof Rahul Pandit of the Department of Physics among others. Prof N Balakrishnan of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and others spoke about their early days on the campus.
Scientist C N R Rao recalled that he proposed marriage to his wife Indumati, on a landline in the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry. Back then, that was the only phone in the whole department.
Recollecting his early days at the institute, Rao said, “Some of the best friendships of my life developed here. I also got to meet J R D Tata and Satish Dhawan at IISc.” He called Satish Dhawan “the moral conscience of Indian science.”
Prof Ramakrishna Ram Akella from the University of California, Berkeley, told Express, “My father Dr A K Rao was a faculty member here and we lived on the campus. It’s a pleasure to be back here as I spent my childhood on the campus. I loved it here.”
“Till we entered IISc, we were taught. However, at IISc, we had to learn. It was a cultural shock,” said an alumnus at the meeting of students of the Materials Engineering Department.
IISc director Prof Anurag Kumar said, “Our vision is to be among the world’s foremost academic institutions.”
Very few women alumni were present on Friday. Prof Ramakrishna said, “I was in the Computers and Automation division. There were hardly any girls there. I would go to the science departments to meet them. Wonder where they are today,” he remarked in a lighter vein.