BANGALORE: There exist many legends about Bangalore. It has been called the city of lakes, gardens and pensioners. But, the last few decades have seen the addition of another sobriquet. Owing to a sound vision demonstrated by the architects of the city, Bangalore has also earned the title of being the ‘Science Capital’ of the country.
It is a cliche now to say that the city is known for its engineers and its sheer number of engineering colleges. Bangalore today produces the highest number of graduating engineers in the country according to experts and many colleges in the city owe affiliation to two of the biggest and most popular universities in India: Visvesvaraya Technological University and Bangalore University. The city plays host to five lakh students, of which 30,000 are pursuing their masters; 5,000 are PhD scholars, according to surveys.
That is not all. With a keen sense of the future, Jamsetji Tata set up the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in as early as 1909. Over the years, IISc has been home to some of the world’s greatest gems. It played host to legends like Prof C V Raman and Prof C N R Rao. It is today pioneering research in the field of nanotechnology with its own multi-crore nanotechnology lab, a first-of-its-kind in the country. IISc is set to produce 100-125 PHd’s over the next three years in the field of nanotechnology.
Trends in the past decades have shown that the Northern part of the city has become a hub for science with the mushrooming of many well known institutes focused on varied forms of research. North Bangalore today has institutes like the University of Agricultural Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Stem Cell Research Institute and the Central Power Research Institute.
“Bangalore currently leads the country with the highest number of research labs. We have about 395 established research and development laboratories in the city,” said M N Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, BT and Science and Technology. The next closest is Delhi and NCR with around 108 research labs. This number itself shows the kind of lead the city enjoys over other scientific centers in the country.
The International Airport Road will soon play host to a one-of -its-kind incubation centre for innovations in biotechnology research. This along with 225+ biotech companies operating in the city has given Bangalore a lead in this field as well.
The reason for this progress in the field of science is due to continued government support along with a sound foundation in IT; many of the worlds largest companies having their research centres here. It has about 15,000 PhD’s living and working in various companies and bodies. The government now is implementing plans to set up an apex body to co-ordinate research across academia and industry on the lines of the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan.
The spirit of the city is aptly paraphrased by T V Mohandas Pai, former member of Board of Directors, Infosys, who said: “This is an aspirational city.”
National Science Day
In 1986, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication asked the Government of India to designate February 28 as National Science Day to mark the discovery of the Raman Effect by Indian physicist Sir C V Raman. The event is now celebrated all over the country in schools, colleges, universities and other academic institutions. The focal theme for 2012 National Science Day is: Clean energy options and nuclear safety.
Sir C V Raman
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born at Trichy in India on November 7th, 1888. His father was a lecturer in mathematics and physics. He completed his B A in Presidency College, Madras, with a gold medal in physics. His earliest researches in optics and acoustics — The two fields of investigation to which he has dedicated his entire career — were carried out while he was a student.
Raman joined the Indian Finance Department in 1907; though the duties of his office took most of his time, Raman found opportunities to work on experimental research in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Calcutta.
In 1917, he was offered the newly endowed Palit Chair of Physics at Calcutta University. After 15 years, he became Professor at the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore (1933-1948), and since 1948 he was Director of the Raman Institute of Research at Bangalore, established and endowed by himself.
He also founded Indian Journal of Physics in 1926. Raman sponsored the establishment of the Indian Academy of Sciences.
In 1922, he published his work on the “Molecular Diffraction of Light”, the first of a series of investigations with his collaborators which ultimately led to his discovery of the radiation effect which now bears his name. It gained him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Other investigations carried out by Raman were: experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic waves of ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies (published 1934-1942), and those on the effects produced by X-rays on infrared vibrations in crystals exposed to ordinary light.
In 1948, Raman, through studying the spectroscopic behaviour of crystals, approached in a new manner, the fundamental problems of crystal dynamics.
Raman was honoured with many honorary doctorates and memberships of scientific societies. He was knighted in 1929