Partners In The Field

Field assistants are critical yet underappreciated members of the ecological research community   When Raman Sukumar went to the forests of Mudumalai to study elephants for his PhD in 1978, he wanted a local person familiar with the terrain, and experienced at navigating elephant country to guide him. The forest rangers put him in touch […]

The Race for Five Million Dollars

IISc-TCS was the only Indian team to compete in the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge 2020   The competition was only a few days away. With one drone having crashed already, all eyes were locked nervously on the two drones over the airfield outside the Department of Aerospace Engineering. During the final testing at […]

The Birth of Wipro’s Computer Systems Business

IISc’s role in helping Wipro launch its minicomputers in 1981 As one of India’s leading technology companies, Wipro is today largely known for its Information Technology (IT), engineering, and consulting services. But what brought Wipro into the IT industry was its computer systems business in the 1980s. The origins of the company’s most flourishing business […]

Beating the Jam

Using technology to tackle India’s terrible traffic Last summer, the image of a software engineer riding a horse to protest against Bangalore’s notorious traffic jams went viral on social media. “Bengaluru is overcrowded and too many vehicles on the road lead to traffic jams every day,” he was quoted as saying. “In fact, I learnt […]

The Campus as a Classroom

Using IISc’s biodiversity for undergraduate education “How many of you noticed the beautiful, white-coloured, fragrant tree just outside the stairs that lead us here to the lecture hall?” I asked the first year UG students in my first class of organismal biology at IISc. Barely two or three uncertain hands were raised out of 120. […]

MONTBLEX: India’s First Major Monsoon Experiment

The first national effort to understand the meteorological phenomenon For about four months from May to September 1990, the Indian summer monsoon was the subject of unprecedented nationwide attention. While the monsoon winds raced from Kerala to the northwest of India in 35 days, less than its usual 45, researchers on land, air and sea […]

‘Ours was a small group, like one family’

Syed Ameenulla, who joined IISc as a lab assistant and went on to be a scientific officer, recalls his involvement in the Institute’s monsoon experiments In the monsoon of 1979, Chandipur beach in Balasore, Odisha was host to a small group of researchers from Bangalore. The team, from IISc and the National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL), […]

Why I Talk to Scientists about Their Classic Research Papers

When we read research papers, there’s much that we do not know about the studies and their authors. An ecologist sets out to fill the gaps In 2016, I began a series of interviews with scientists about the backstory of papers they had written. Scientific papers often present a cleaned up version of science even […]

‘It took many years to develop these technologies…but today they are helping society’

A cell for the Application of Science and Technology to Rural Areas (ASTRA), now Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST), was created at IISc in 1974 to initiate and promote work of rural relevance as a weapon against poverty. IISc’s then Director, Satish Dhawan, who was deeply concerned about science and society, invited Amulya Reddy [a […]