A Case for Science History in India

Why it matters and what are the challenges confronting science historians     A quick internet search on the discovery of helium will be dominated by results that claim that helium was discovered by the French astronomer Pierre Janssen. “While observing a solar eclipse in Guntur, India, on 18 August 1868, Janssen noted that the […]

‘He Wanted to Leave Something Behind that Lasted Forever’

JC Ghosh, an eminent chemist, was IISc’s Director during World War II and the founding Director of IIT Kharagpur. His grandson, Dipankar Ghosh, spoke to CONNECT about his grandfather’s personal and professional life.   In the late 1980s, E Arunan was looking for a place to stay in the midwestern town of Manhattan in the […]

Electronic City Was Not Built in a Day

The story of Rama Krishna Baliga, a government bureaucrat who laid the foundation for Electronic City, which eventually led to Bangalore becoming the “Silicon Valley of India” Ragavendra R Baliga has fond memories of his father, Rama Krishna Baliga. “There’s an article my father wrote for my medical school journal after he retired. [In that], […]

Mining for White Gold

India is betting big on lithium-ion batteries, but at what cost?     In 1817, Johan August Arfwedson, a Swedish lawyer and mineralogist, was studying the mineral petalite in the laboratory of the renowned chemist Jacob Berzelius. His investigations revealed that the mineral mainly contained aluminium, silicon and oxygen. But around 4% of the composition […]

How a Physicist Became a Mathematician

2023 marks the birth centenary of the influential mathematician Harish-Chandra who spent two important years at IISc   “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics,” declared the Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei in an essay titled The Assayer published in 1623. Mathematics is an indispensable tool for physicists who strive […]

Dancing with Cells, Surfing the Laminar Flow

Ahead of Satish Dhawan’s birth anniversary on 25 September, his daughter Jyotsna writes about her childhood on the IISc campus, life beyond, and her father’s indelible presence In the 1960s, while our parents (mostly fathers) worked away in labs and offices, libraries and classrooms, the children of IISc staff (mostly barefoot and unsupervised) explored that […]

The Land on Which We Stand

 IISc’s neighbourhood has a long and rich history In the late 1890s, JN Tata was hunting for a suitable location for what eventually came to be known as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). By the early 1900s, Bangalore had become the frontrunner to host the research institute, not least because of the wholehearted support […]