Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore

The Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore is one of the three science academies of India along with the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad and the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi. Established in 1934 with the initiative of the Nobel Prize winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman, the academy was formally inaugurated on 31st July 1934 with 65 founding fellows and Sir Raman as its founding president. The present academy headquarters are located inside the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore.

Along with other activities from time to time, the major aims of the Academy are to:

  1. Promote progress in pure and applied branches of science.
  2. Encourage important research in various branches of science.
  3. Represent the scientific work of India internationally.
  4. Publish work relating to scientific research initiated by the Academy, Provincial Academies, Universities and Government Scientific Institutions.
  5. Organise meetings of Committees and Conferences to discuss papers submitted to the Academy.
  6. Advise Government and other bodies on scientific and other matters referred to the Academy.

In order to uphold these aims, the academy has initiated major schemes and have successfully implemented them since its inception. Every year, the academy chooses some select scientist from across the nation and a few from outside as its fellows. These scientists are the creme de la creme of Indian science. A fellowship to the academy is considered one of the highest distinctions that a person of science can achieve. In addition to the fellows, the academy also chooses some young associates for a period of five years at a time. These associates are some of the most brilliant young minds of the nation who are working in all branches of pure and applied sciences.

Right from its inception, the academy has been publishing many journals and periodicals which showcase the major breakthroughs in science, engineering and allied sciences. Some of its most influential journals are Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences-Mathematical Sciences, Sadhana- Academy Proceedings in Engineering Sciences, Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences-Physical Sciences and Bioscience. Since 1996, the academy has been publishing a monthly journal called Resonance, aimed at undergraduates and senior secondary students. Each issue is devoted to the life and work of a scientist. This journal has made a huge mark on the scientific temper of Indian youth in recent years.

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In order to encourage scientific research right from a young age, the academy with the other science academies of India jointly organizes a summer research fellowship wherein bright young students and talented teachers are chosen so that they can work under a fellow of the academy during the summer months and gain hands on experience on the scientific method. This revolutionary step by the academy has been highly successful and is the most prestigious such fellowship in India at the time. The academy also has a tradition of organising short refresher courses on important topics of physics, chemistry and biology so that the students and teachers gain an understanding of the fundamentals of the subject.

In addition to all these activities, the academy has been striving quite hard at changing the landscape of scientific research in India. It has institutes numerous chairs wherein reputed scientists from all over the world come to India and spend a few months interacting with the students and teachers at various educational institutes of India. Many Nobel laureates, Abel Prize laureates have visited India due to the efforts of the academy and has helped numerous students. The academy also focuses intently on women scientists and has specific programmes for women in science. This has also helped radically in changing the way Indians think about women in science.

The Academy recognizes the special relationship of scientific creative activity with the process of education and holds that the course of discovery includes the identification and nurturing of scientific talent amongst the young. The Academy upholds that the principle of social responsibility for all scientific effort, individual or corporate, is entirely consistent with individual freedom and that the quest for knowledge and truth cannot be reconciled with any dogma. The Academy affirms that the rightful place for science and the men who rigorously cultivate it can be assured in society primarily through their devotion to the principles of objectivity, integrity and freedom from dogmas rather than through any formal processes of recognition.

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It is in this way, the academy has strived so hard during its numerous years of existence to uphold the spirit and the philosophy in which it was established by the efforts of a great Indian scientist. In the years to come, the academy will continue to function with such vigor and help and enable many more Indian scientists in their pursuit of joy, love and understanding of science.

References:

  1. Wikipedia entry on 'Indian Academy of Sciences'.
  2. Indian Academy of Sciences website.
  3. Raman Research Institute, Bangalore website.
  4. Wikipedia entry on 'World Wide Science Societies'.

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