Indian Association for the Cultivation of  Science (1876-)

IACS is the oldest research institute in India. Dr. M. L. Sircar (1833-1904), a medical practioner, founded IACS in 1876 to cultivate science in all its departments and to its varied applications. Sircar wished IACS to be solely native and purely national. IACS did not receive any government aid in the first 50 years and was run by donations received from individuals. Most prominent among them are- Vidyasagar (among first five donors), Maharaja of Vizianagram and Kalli Kissen Tagore. Bankimchandra (author of Vande Mataram) published Sircar's appeal in Banga Darshan and wrote a moving article supporting Sircar's dreams.

In the initial period, Father Lafont took major steps in teaching and building laboratories. J. C. Bose, FRS (1858-1937, inventor of microwave communication) and Asutosh Mukherjee (1864-1924, first Indian to publish a paper in 1881) were among the first lecturers of IACS.

Original research at IACS was started in 1907 by C. V. Raman (1888-1970), then 19 years old . Raman came to Calcutta as Assistant Auditor General of Government of India and started working at IACS beyond office hours and on holidays. He very quickly published is first paper from IACS (Nature 24 Oct, 1907). A. L. Sircar (son of M. L. Sircar) said in 1907 that "Raman will be the brightest ornament of IACS." The initial experiments on Raman effect were done using sunlight as the light source and eye as detector. G. D. Birla privided Raman with the money to buy the spectrograph (displayed here). The Raman Effect was discovered in 1928. For this discovery, Raman received the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. Raman announced this discovery on 28th February, 1928. This day is celebrated as the National Science Day in India. It is said that Raman booked tickets to go to Stockholm 6 months in advance but cried during Nobel Prize ceremony because there was no Indian Flag on his chair! From 1917-33 Raman was a Palit Professor of Physics at the Calcutta University. But he carried out all his research at IACS. Raman discovered the small angle X-ray scattering in 1929.

In 1933, Raman left IACS to join IISc, Bangalore as its first Indian Director. Before leaving Calcutta, he appointed K .S. Krishnan, FRS (1898-1961, co-discoverer of Raman Effect) as the first M. L. Sircar Professor of IACS.

After Independence, M. N. Saha, FRS (1893-1956, famous for the Thermal Ionization Theory) played a big role in making IACS a full fledged research institute. With the help of Dr. B. C. Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal and Pandit J. L. Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, Saha built the new campus at Jadavpur. Saha was the first Director of IACS (1953-56). He died on the staircase of Planning Commission on his way to submit some papers for IACS.

S. N. Bose, FRS (1894-1974, discoverer of the Bose Statistics) joined IACS as a National Professor in 1958 and held that position till his death in 1974.

The most notable contributions made in IACS in the modern era include K. Banerjee's work on crystallography, A. K. Ray Chaudhury's work on relativity, S. R. Palit's research in polymer chemistry. Sadhan Basu's pioneering work on quantum chemistry, P. Mukherjee;s work on surfaces & surfactants, B. C. Guha's contribution to molecular magnetism, P. Ray's work in mechanism of inorganic reactions and P. C. Datta's works on synthetic organic chemistry.

Presently the research at IACS is organized in 8 departments, 3 units and 2 centers. This is distributed over four umbrella areas- Molecular, Materials, Theoretical and Biological Sciences. IACS ranks 4th among all the Indian institutes in terms of papers published in Physics and Chemistry between 1996-2006 (after IISc, BARC and Delhi University). Every faculty of IACS publishes on an average 5 papers per year. In 2009, faculties of published 415 papers and produced 47 Ph.D.-s. The h-index of IACS is 76 (as on April 2010) and in 2009 there were more than 7800 citations of the works done at IACS. IACS receives funds of DST, Govt of India and West Bengal State Government. Apart from these there are a large number of externally funded projects from Indian and foreign private and public sources. Currently, there are 5 Bhatnagar awardees, 2 TWAS prize winners, 4 TWAS fellows, 6 FNA and 14 FASc at IACS.

On 7th December 2009, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Hon'ble Minister of Science & Technology laid the foundation stone of the 35 acre campus of IACS at Baruipur.