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Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Nature volume 110, pages 649650 (11 November 1922) | Download Citation



ALTHOUGH onlV 203 students have worked for various periods in the laboratories of the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore since its opening in 1911, and although only 14 of these have been regarded by the council as suitable for the diploma of associateship, the history of the Institute is of special interest to students of educational methods. The conditions affecting the activities of the Institute depart, however, so widely from the normal that it is impossible at this stage in its history to be sure whether any, and what, changes in the administration of the Institute would have resulted in more visible success. Bangalore, the site selected for the Institute by the late Sir William Ramsay, is mainly a military cantonment. Its position as a centre, either of scientific education or of technical industries, is almost negligible. The Institute itself occupies isolated ground far enough from the town to cut it off largely even from the limited social amenities obtainable in an Indian cantonment station. Distances in India are of the continental order, and university graduates, being generally married in early life, hesitate naturally to leave the established university cities to undertake post-graduate training at a distant institute which has no traditions, no connexions, and no established market value. Moreover, the number of science graduates qualified in India to undertake research work has hitherto been very small. The machinery of government originally designed for the Institute reproduced some of the ordinary features of established universities, including a large "court,"composed of widely dispersed members who have never even met as a body. Even the relatively small council is handicapped by the distance of some of its members, and its meetings have thus been largely controlled by the resident professorial members. Influenced by desire for a special review of progress by an entirely independent expert body, the standing Committee of the Court in 192i requested the Governor-General in Council to appoint a committee of inquiry, which met towards the end of the year under the chairmanship of Sir William Pope, professor of chemistry at Cambridge; and the report of the committee recently made available forms a valuable study of this artificially created institution. Hitherto the work of the Institute has been limited to two groups, which are distinct from one another in nature and method of training. In the department of pure and applied chemistry, students have been engaged in research problems; there has been, however, no systematic course of training, either by lectures or laboratory work. In the department of electrical technology, on the other hand, students have undergone a more systematic training, with the view of qualifying as practical electrical engineers. There has been no department of physics to link the other two, and no department of mechanical engineering on which to base the training in electrical technology.

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