November 21, 2008 11:52:59 pm
The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) will celebrate its founder Homi Bhabha’s birth centennary by launching a campus in Hyderabad, marking the start of a new era for the premier institution. The new campus, to be set up near the University of Hyderabad, will be spread over 200 acres, making it almost seven times as big as the present 30-acre campus.
“A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the University and TIFR, stating some terms of academic cooperation,” said TIFR Director Mustansir Barma.
While current academic programmes like those in the basic sciences — physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology — will be continued, there are plans to begin new courses as well, though it will take some time for them to be finalised.
Faculty members will be brought in from both India and abroad and in some cases, those from the Mumbai campus will be shifted Hyderabad. At present, the size of the TIFR-Mumbai faculty is approximately 160.
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A few hostels will also be built for students.
TIFR has centres spread over different parts of the country — the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune, the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Mumbai, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, none of which have a campus of their own. A new campus for the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), currently being run virtually from TIFR, Mumbai, is also planned and will be set up in Bangalore.
At the time of its inception in 1945, TIFR was located at Indian Institute of Science’s Bangalore campus. Later, it was moved to Kenilworth, a bungalow on Peddar Road owned by Homi Bhabha’s aunt.
From 1949, the institute functioned out of a vacated location of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club near the Gateway of India, after which it gradually moved to its present location at Navy Nagar, Colaba.
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh were the two states vying for the new campus, with the latter proving a better choice due to its proximity to Hyderabad city. “We hope that in two years, we will at least be able to start some lab experiments in the new campus,” said Barma.
He added that the momentum for starting a second campus has been building for four-five years now. “We have to do two things: start new research programmes with new laboratories and reach out to many more research students,” he said.
“We wanted to mark the centenary by doing something that is enduring and this seems like an appropriate thing to do on the occasion… building something that will stay on,” said Barma.
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