The brain child of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, a successful businessman and philanthropist, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) was conceived in the late 1800s. To this end, Tata set up a provisional committee under the leadership of Burjorji Padshah, an educationist, to come up with a blueprint for the proposed university. The committee drafted a plan which went through several iterations before it was finalised. Tata also endowed a substantial part of his personal wealth for this ambitious project.

Unfortunately, Tata died in 1904, well before the Institute came into existence. It was eventually established, through a vesting order passed on 27 May 1909 by the Indian Government, in the southern city of Bengaluru on 371 acres of land donated by the Mysore Durbar.

The Institute which started with just two departments – General and Applied Chemistry and Electrical Technology – today has over 40 departments spread across six divisions: Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Electrical Sciences, Interdisciplinary Research, Mechanical Sciences, and Physical and Mathematical Sciences. It also has a new campus at Challekere in Chitradurga district in Karnataka.



(click on the links below to learn more)



The Main Building and the First Director

Laying of the Foundation Stone

Memorial to the Founder

IISc’s Contribution to Early Industrialisation

CV Raman and Physics at IISc

Gandhi at IISc

Koenigsberger’s Architectural Legacy

IISc and World War II

Three Mile Stones : Golden Jubilee, Platinum Jubilee and Centenary Year

IISc’s Growth Since Centenary Year


Statue of JN Tata with a model of the Main Building of IISc in his hand. Tata died in 1904 before the Institute came into existence (Courtesy: APC)


A young Maharaja with his mother, the Regent Queen of Mysore State. (Courtesy: APC)

The Indian Institute of Science was founded in 1909 as a result of the joint efforts of Jamsetji Nussarwanji Tata, the Government of India and the Maharaja of Mysore.

Tata conceived of a university of science in 1896 that would work for the benefit of India, and in 1898, created an endowment for establishing such an institution.

The Government of India decided to locate the Institute in Bengaluru, where the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, donated over 370 acres of land for this initiative.

The Institute was formally vested in 1909, the foundation stone was laid in 1911, and the first batch of students started their studies the same year

Directors of IISc

M W TraversNov 1906–June 1914
Alfred BourneOct 1915–Mar 1921
Martin Onslow ForsterNov 1922–Mar 1933
C V RamanApril 1933–July 1937
Jnan Chandra GhoshAug 1939–Dec 1948
M S ThackerSept 1949–Aug 1955
K SreenivasanAug 1955–Mar 1957
S BhagavantamMar 1957–Dec 1962
S DhawanDec 1962–July 1981
S RamaseshanAug 1981–July 1984
C N R RaoAug 1984–July 1994
G PadmanabanAug 1994–July 1998
Goverdhan MehtaAug 1998–June 2005
P BalaramJuly 2005–July 2014
Anurag KumarSince August 2014


Joint/Associate/Deputy Directors

S RamaseshanJoint Director 1979–81
G PadmanabanDeputy Director 1993–94
A Sridharan
Deputy Director 1994–97
M VijayanAssociate Director 2000–04
N Balakrishnan
Associate Director 2005–14
Jayanth M ModakDeputy Director Since Aug 2015
S RamakrishnanDeputy Director Since Aug 2015 - July 2018
Rudra PratapDeputy Director Since Aug 2018


Officiating/In-charge/Acting Directors

Alfred HayOfficiating Director June 1914–Oct 1915, Mar 1921–Nov 1922
B VenkateshacharDirector-In-Charge July 1937–July 1939
E V Ganapathi Iyer
Acting Director Nov 1947–Sep 1949
K Sreenivasan
Acting Director Aug 1955–Mar 1957
D K BanerjeeActing Director April 1971–Mar 1972