Public Lectures


Bicentennial Commemorative Public Lectures

2012 (Friday, 14th December: 05.30 PM) Raghavendra Gadagkar : War and Peace: Conflict and Cooperation in an Insect Society.

2011 (Friday, 08th April: 05.30 PM) Prof. Mushirul Hasan : Is there a Gandhian Legacy?

2010 (Friday, 16thApril: 05.30 PM) Prof. André Béteille: Can Rights Undermine Trust ? How Institution Work and Why they Fail.

2009 (3rdApril: 5.30 PM) Prof. Madhav Gadgil:Major Transitions in Evolution
2007 (2ndMarch) Prof. Obaid Siddiqi : Biology of Learning and Memory

2003 Prof. M.K.Chandrashekaran: Biological Clocks in Bats, Mice and Humans

2002 Prof. N. Kochupillai : Neuro-endochrinology: Linking Body, Mind & Consciousness

2001 Prof. N. Mukunda : Pancharatnam, Bargmann and Berry Phses

2000 Prof. V.K. Gaur : Natural hazards: prediction and mitigation of their impacts

1999 Prof. Michele Leduc : Imaging the Human Lungs by Magnetic Resonance with Polarised gases

1998 Prof. Sir Arnold W. Wolfendale : Comets, Climate and Cosmic Rays

1997 Prof. Dan Peter McKenzie : Inside and Outside Venus

1996 Prof. S. Ramaseshan : Chandrasekhar - Some Reminiscences

1995 Prof. Virendra Singh : S.N. Bose and the Problems of Blackbody Radiation

1994 Prof. R. Penrose : Non-Computability and the Mind

1993 Prof. D. Balasubramanian : Studies of Cataract and the Transparency of the Eye-lens

1992 Prof. P.N. Tandon : Brain and its Surgery

1991 Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam : Rocket Technology and its Streams

1990 Prof. Yash Pal : Towards a Planet Assurance Program

1989 Prof. C.N.R. Rao : Superconductivity Today

1988 Dr. A.P. Mitra : Aeronomy Research in India: Problems and Prospects

1987 Prof. M.G.K. Menon : International Cooperation in Science



Vainu Bappu Memorial Lecture

Beginning 2007, a new lecture series has been instituted by IIA, named after the Founder-Director, M K Vainu Bappu. The Vainu Bappu Memorial Lecture will be delivered each year by an eminent astrophysicist on a topic of broad interest. The First Vainu Bappu Memorial Lecture was delivered by Professor E N Parker of the University of Chicago on January 4, 2007 at the IIA Auditorium. The theme of Professor Parker's lecture was 'The Sun, Space, Cosmic Rays and Climate'.The 2nd Vainu Bappu Memorial Lecture was given by Professor Douglas Gough, FRS
Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow ,
University if Cambridge, U.K on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 18:30 hrs, Titled "What is a sunspot?"

3rd Vainu Bappu Memorial Lecture: Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe
William D. Phillips,Nobel Laureate
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg MD, USA

Abstract: At the beginning of the 20th century Einstein published three revolutionary ideas that changed forever how we view Nature. At the beginning of the 21st century Einstein's thinking is shaping one of the key scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life: atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science; they are the heart of the
satellite navigation system that guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations. Today, atomic clocks are still being improved, using Einstein's ideas to cool the atoms to incredibly low temperatures. Atomic gases reach temperatures less than a billionth of a degree above Absolute Zero, without solidifying. Such atoms enable
clocks accurate to better than a second in 80 million years as well as both using and testing some of Einstein's strangest predictions. 

Founder's Day Lecture

Founder's Day

The Founder-Director of IIA, Professor M K Vainu Bappu , was born on August 10, 1927. Vainu Bappu died in harness on August 19, 1982. Since 1983, IIA has been celebrating Vainu Bappu's birthday as the Founder's Day. In 2007, a special feature was added with the institution of a Founder's Day Lecture. The Founder's Day Lecture this year will be delivered on August 10, 2012 by Professor Anil Kakodkar

Management of Mega Science Programmes

Professor Anil Kakodkar

DAE Homi Bhabha Chair Professor
former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission of India

August 10, 2012 (Friday) : 11.00 AM 
Auditorium, IIA, Bangalore

Dr. Vainu Bappu, the founder Director of IIA was a pioneer in building a research programme around indigenously built large size experimental facilities. Vainu Bappu Telescope and Vainu Bappu Observatory stand testimony to this visionary effort. Such Mega Science initiatives, have implications well beyond the immediate science objectives that trigger them. While many times it is argued that engaging in such efforts causes disproportionate distraction to competitive research, on the whole such initiatives do lead to greater gains not only in terms of greater access to front line research capability both at home and abroad, but also much larger technology spin off benefits for the country. Questions are also raised about the cost benefit aspects of large investments that are involved. A number of Mega Science initiatives are on the anvil. Implementing them would be a major challenge, considering the technological complexities and large body of expertise that would be necessary. This challenge also brings in opportunities to transform scene in the country. It is necessary to be able to discuss and clearly understand these and related issues from an overall national perspective. The lecture is an attempt in this context.

The Founder's Day Lecture in 2010 was given by Professor Govindarajan Padmanaban.

Growth of Biotechnology in India

Professor Govindarajan Padmanaban
Department of Biochemistry
Indian Institute of Science
Bengaluru - 560012
August 10, 2010 (Tuesday) : 11.00 AM 
Auditorium, IIA, Bangalore

It all started with the establishment of the National Biotechnology Board by the Government of India in 1982 in the Department of Science and Technology. This got upgraded to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in 1986. The rate of growth can be assessed by the fact that the budget has increased by 50 fold over the last 25 years. The growth has been in terms of the establishment of new institutions, support for research, creation of infrastructure, generation of human resource, formulation of regulatory regimes and linkage with industries. DBT can claim credit for a significant growth in modern life science research. In terms of products, results have started coming in the new millennium in terms of diagnostics, vaccines and biopharmaceuticals. Most of the products are still generics, but innovative products are in the pipeline. Biotech application to agriculture has lagged behind, although leads in the transgenic area have been obtained. These are still remaining in glass houses for a variety of reasons. Bt cotton is the only product in the field. New directions include creation of Stem Cell Research and Application Centres, Centres for Translational Research, tie ups with institutions abroad for Biodesign etc. Industry has also started moving in and partnerships with academia is increasing. Apart from Health and Agriculture, there are also initiatives in the areas of bioenergy,
bioprocesses for treatment of recalcitrant fluids, tissue culture, monoclonal antibodies etc. India is fast becoming a popular destination for clinical trials and CROs are in business. Venture capital for start ups is still an issue. DBT has come up with SBIRI (Small Business Innovative Research Initiative) scheme to address this issue and CSIR has NIMITLI (New Millenium Initiative) programme to support high end projects. DST has support mechanisms through the TDB (Technology Development Board) initiative. India has potential to reach global leadership in the areas of vaccines, biogenerics, traditional medicine (if properly validated and standardized) and service sector, including contract projects. The turnover is estimated at 2.5 billion dollars at present and the aim is to reach 15 billion dollars by 2015. We still need to go a long way and the aim has to be not only to progress along with reverse engineering but also move into innovation.

Founders day was also celebrated at Kavalur with the following event.
10th August 9.30 AM:Garlanding Prof Bappu's photos.
10.00 AM : The world beyond Ours- Prof D. C. V Mallik.
11.30 AM : Inter College Quiz competition by Dr C. Muthumariappan.
2.30 PM - 4.00 PM: Visit to the Telescopes.

In 2009, the Founder's Day Lecture  was delivered  by Professor Govind Swarup.

Experimental Astronomy in India: Some Lessons

G. Swarup, F.R.S.
(Former Centre Director, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics)
(Former Project Director, GMRT)
August 10, 2009 (Monday) : 5 PM
Auditorium, IIA, Bangalore


Over the last 50 years, astronomers have built and continue to build many large facilities in India, in almost all windows of the electromagnetic spectrum. I plan to summarize these endeavours in the fields of radio, infra-red, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray, gamma-ray and space astronomy. Optical astronomy has over 100 year old tradition in India that got a fillip by the indigenous construction of a 2.3 m optical telescope at Kavalur by the great pioneer Vainu Bappu. Subsequently, an imported 2 m optical telescope at Hanle by IIA and at Girawali by IUCAA has provided new facilities. A 3.6 m optical telescope is to be imported by ARIES. The upcoming 50 cm solar telescope at the Udaipur Solar observatory and the proposed 2 m solar telescope by IIA would provide challenging facility to solar astronomers. In the field of radio astronomy, the group at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has built indigenously two truly world class radio telescopes, namely the Ooty Radio Telescope and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope. IIA and Raman Research Institute (RRI) have built large arrays at Gauribidanur and Mauritius for observations in the decametre and metre wave length range. RRI’s millimeter wave radio telescope is also noteworthy. The ambitious ASTROSAT project would provide an important facility for X-ray and ultraviolet astronomy. BARC's 21 m gamma-ray telescope would open a new window. ISRO's endeavours in space astronomy are also commendable. I would like to enquire as to why India has not been able to build a world class optical telescope, optical astronomy being central to all areas of astronomy. Further, unfortunately manpower development has not kept pace with the growth of the above astronomical facilities, particularly because Indian research institutes have become islands with nil or little connection to Universities. I would like to conclude by suggesting some new initiatives for manpower development that would benefit not only astronomical facilities and industries but also provide faculty in Universities and several new centres of education.

The Founder's Day Lecture in 2008 was delivered on August 11, 2008 by Professor C N R Rao, Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. Professor Rao spoke on `Doing Science in India : Personal Reflections'

Abstract of the Lecture
The scientific scenario in India has changed markedly in the last few years. Those of us who have worked here for decades cannot forget the early days after independence when we had little but strived hard. Today, we seem to have more funds and facilities, but the challenges are more severe and the competition more keen. The struggles of scientists in India in the early days are different from those faced by us today. It is becoming increasingly difficult to carry out work which gets due international recognition in a given field. At the same time, others outside India, specially some of our neighbours, seem to be doing more and of higher quality. Where do we go from here? How do we compete? How do we excel? The talk is based on my own experience over the past five decades, and my reflections on the present situation and future prospects.
Report in 'The Hindu'.


Other Lectures


Last updated on: December 27, 2016