HT Highlight: IISER placing Mohali on India’s information map


“It’s IISER, not Eisher.” Prof N Sathyamurthy, director of the Indian Institute of Science Schooling and Analysis (IISER), recounts the onerous time he had getting a resort receptionist to appropriately spell IISER on the invoice. However that was approach again in 2007. Ten years on, IISER is a well-known and extremely regarded institute of Mohali.

“There was a sea change within the final 10 years,” says Sathyamurthy, including “now IISER is a model in itself.”

There’s an fascinating story behind the institute’s arrival in Mohali. Insiders say it was largely attributable to Dr Kesar Singh, a long-time buddy of then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who wrote a letter to him in 2004 asking him to arrange IISER in Punjab. Honouring his buddy’s request, Singh allotted IISER to Punjab on the situation that or not it’s arrange in Mohali due to air connectivity.

Good minds

With an imposing campus unfold over 125 acres, IISER is now booming with 1,400 college students, 40% of whom are ladies, in varied streams of primary sciences. From a small starting of 25 college students, it has just about change into a “mini India” the place one can meet sensible minds from Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, northeast, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. And they aren’t odd brains. Dean, teachers, Ramandeep Singh Johal mentioned there isn’t any place for mediocrity in IISER. It’s meant just for sensible minds with scientific temperament and endurance. With a five-year concerted Bachelor and Masters in Science (BS-MS) twin diploma programme in physics, chemistry, arithmetic and biology in addition to PhD programmes in all of the 4 topics, this institute is now rated among the many most interesting science institutes of the nation.

Deliberate by the Lucknow-based architect DS Bhui, the campus is dotted with lush inexperienced areas designed to offer a conducive surrounding for analysis. Talking on the evolution of the campus during the last 10 years, Anand Okay Bachhawat, former dean, college and R&D, who joined IISER Mohali in its maiden yr, says it has made an affect on each the nationwide and worldwide area with many path-breaking analysis findings. “The college has additionally achieved vital honors and recognition,” he mentioned. One other professor mentioned IISER has contributed loads to turning Mohali right into a hub of educational exercise. “Mohali is now well-liked as a information metropolis throughout the nation. Its economic system too has obtained a lift,” he mentioned.

The director, Prof Sathyamurthy, says the presence of IISER in Mohali will promote the pursuit of science within the area. “Most of our college students come from Kerala. We additionally get a big quantity from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. The variety of college students from Punjab and North East is just not that massive however it’s growing through the years.”

“5 years in the past, after I got here to this institute, there was hardly anybody from Punjab,” mentioned Harleen Kaur, who hails from Ludhiana and is in her fifth yr of the BS-cum-MS built-in course. She added, “Over time, folks have change into extra conscious in regards to the institute and the standard of schooling it imparts. Earlier, folks in Punjab used to want engineering science as in comparison with primary sciences, however now slowly college students are returning to science streams.”

Dean, teachers, says taking an inter-disciplinary method, the institute has additionally launched humanities stream and earth sciences as obligatory topics for the scholars to review together with primary sciences. “We’re going to tweak our curriculum to introduce extra superior and fashionable ideas of studying,” he mentioned.

Round the clock campus

Researchers say an enormous USP of the institute is its 24-hour campus. There are 40 state-of-the-art labs, which stay open around the clock. Of those, three are low-temperature labs the place gases resembling liquid helium are saved. There’s one specialised scanning, tunneling microscopy lab facility, which allows college students to take a look at particular person gadgets resembling silicon and observe adjustments on the atomic stage.

College students can keep within the labs all night time to work on their analysis initiatives. Libraries and departments too stay open around the clock. There are co-ed hostels the place female and male college students stay in the identical constructing. And there are not any curbs on college students, who’re supplied with transport facility within the night to go to native markets. “What makes it most engaging, nevertheless, is the peaceable atmosphere. This place is sort of freed from noise. The campus is surroundings pleasant, and there are restrictions on the usage of automobiles. College students are allowed to make use of solely bicycles,” says Ankasha, a pupil from Delhi, who finds it a nice change from the chaotic nationwide capital.

The campus is autonomous with a plethora of consuming joints, an in-house market and considerable leisure amenities resembling well-laid tennis, basketball and badminton courts. College students, says a professor, are inspired to take a break from research by pursuing a sports activities exercise.

Fund crunch

A significant downer, nevertheless, is the lower in scholarships. Till 2015, the institute used to offer all of the 200 college students finding out BSMS with a scholarship value Rs 5,000, however for the reason that Division of Science (DPT) slashed its price range final yr, the variety of college students receiving the scholarship now has been halved to 100.

The opposite main difficulty that bothers college students is the dearth of placement facility. Eager to bag jobs after finishing their research, college students need the institute to ask corporations. Commenting on this, the director mentioned, “We’ve got arrange a technology-based incubator to promote the concepts of our college students to the surface world, and work for linkages with industries”.

The payment hike by virtually thrice has additionally upset the scholars. “We’re working a marketing campaign on twitter in opposition to the payment hike,” mentioned a pupil.

Former dean Anand Okay Bachhawat says it is vital for the federal government to proceed supporting IISER in each doable approach in order that it may possibly realise its potential. “With correct help and management, IISER Mohali may be among the many prime teaching-cum-research establishments of the world.”

There are 40 state-of-the-art labs, which remain open at all times. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
There are 40 state-of-the-art labs, which stay open always. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

The grouse

IISER Mohali has an elected Pupil Consultant Council (SRC), a platform the place college students can vent their angst. Rohan Sharma, basic secretary of SRC, mentioned the chance cell contained in the campus is just not sufficient because it solely tells college students to do their PhD from and on totally different initiatives. “One other main shortcoming is that there isn’t any placement cell on the campus and after we apply for lectureship after finishing our BSMS, we’re not eligible for different state universities within the nation.”

Abhilasha Joshi from Oxford College, UK, and alumna of IISER, says: “IISER facilitated a comparatively straightforward transition to my present analysis in experimental neuroscience on the College of Oxford. Being a girl in science, I typically noticed the dearth of ladies in senior analysis positions, as administrators of institutes and so forth. This could dampen the boldness of ladies pursuing science. The humanities and social sciences programs supplied at IISER led me to grasp that science is a socially located apply and its organisation suffers from very comparable issues that society experiences internationally.”

Birthing Pangs

On June 18, 2007, founder director Dr N Sathyamurthy reached Chandigarh with a backpack and a laptop computer. To start with, Sathyamurthy labored out of a darkish room within the basement of Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab (MGSIPAP) library. All that he had was a desk, chair and peon.

With the MGISPAP constructing nowhere close to completion, the director designate contemplated going again to IIT Kanpur, the place he was the pinnacle of Chemistry division and dean of college affairs for the previous 29 years.

Punjab College Join: Retired Prof Ramesh Kapoor of the chemistry division, PU, Prof CG Mahajan of the physics division and Prof IBS Passi of arithmetic division supplied to provide their companies for the programs of their area of experience when IISER was arrange in 2007.

Director’s spouse Suguna Sathyamurthy agreed to function the honorary counsellor for the primary batch of scholars in 2007.

Eye within the sky

“The Blue Eye within the Sky” is a machine set atop the Central Analytical Facility for monitoring air high quality since 2010. Dr Vinayak Sinha from the division of earth and environmental sciences has developed the power, which screens air pollution within the metropolis three hundred and sixty five days a yr. Sinha additionally obtained the NASI Scopus Award 2016.


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