Tata Institute of Fundamental Research is a National Centre of the Government of India, under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy, as well as a deemed University awarding degrees for master’s and doctoral programs. The Institute was founded in 1945 with support from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust under the vision of Dr Homi Bhabha. At TIFR, we carry out basic research in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education. Our main campus is located in Mumbai, with centres at Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
In Bombay the Institute was housed at Kenilworth, a bungalow on Pedder Road. It was inaugurated by Sir John Colville, Governor of Bombay on 19th December 1945. In 1949, as the Institute grew, it found its second home at the Old Yacht Club Building (former home of Royal Bombay Yacht Club) near Gateway of India. The Cosmic Ray Group was the first to start functioning. The Nuclear Emulsion and the Electron Magnetism Group started in 1953. Work in Computer Science and Technology in 1954, and the first pilot machine became operational in 1956. The full scale machine, later named the TIFRAC was commissioned in February 1960.
In the 1960s the Institute expanded to start a Molecular Biology Group and a Radio Astronomy Group. A low temperature facility and a semi conductor group started around the same time. In 1964 a Basic Dental Research Group started which has since discontinued. The 1970s saw the Institute expand to include Theoretical Astrophysics and the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education. Over the next two decades the Institute further expanded by founding new national centres: The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics in Pune, The Centre for Applicable Mathematics in Bangalore, The National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore. The latest in such efforts has been the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences which was founded in 2007. The work of the Institute is now carried out in three Schools: the School of Mathematics, the School of Natural Sciences and the School of Technology and Computer Sciences. The Institute was granted the status of a deemed university in 2003.
Nuclear engineering is an inter-disciplinary subject and any institution involved in its development has to have expertise in several branches of engineering, physical sciences, chemical sciences, life science, health sciences and mathematics. Scope of the HBNI is very vast. The DAE has pursued a science based approach for nuclear power development and this has resulted in indigenization of nuclear power programme including associated fuel cycle facilities. This approach has also given India confidence to construct reactors based on technology development in the country. This is demonstrated by the ongoing construction of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor, which is now nearing completion. India’s participation in the international venture ITER has been possible only because of robust basic research in plasma physics and development of related technologies at IPR and other institutions in the country over the past three decades. DAE institutions continue to pursue basic research in areas such as nuclear physics, accelerator physics, laser physics, astrophysics, biophysics, string theory, quantum information and computation, pure and applied mathematics, theoretical computer science, organo-metallic materials, nano and condensed matter physics, atomic/ molecular clusters, catalysis, generation and storage of hydrogen, molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress tolerance, molecular marker techniques for marker assisted selection, development and characterization of transgenic plants, oncology and nuclear medicine, and many other similar areas including several areas which may be classified as blue sky research.
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