Today, I went for an exam in mathematics organised by NBHM (National Board for Higher Mathematics) at the TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research). The exam was an easy one. I had heard a lot about this TIFR, but this was my first visit to the place. It is situated at South Bombay very close to the sea shore. In fact, one can see the Arabian sea from there.

TIFR is renowned for being one of the best institutes for pure sciences in India (read ‘world’) After the exam, I was wandering there, thinking of my “fundoo” professors at IIT who had graduated from there.This is, indeed, the place to learn mathematics. I went to the library and was enthralled to see the enormous collection of journals of pure mathematics (pure physics, pure chemistry and pure bio as well), latest issues of American Mathematical Monthly, Russian journals of topology, papers published recently… I tried to follow that math, but it was all beyond me (… a long way to go!)

But I was impressed. I like maths a lot (though I am far from knowing it). I’d love to learn it. And love to learn it from a place like the TIFR. If at all, one day, I graduate from here, I can proudly say that I know some maths!

TIFR is ‘the place’. About 10-15 students in each branch are admitted here every year for their Ph. D. course every year. They say, almost all of them drop out after an year or so as they are not able to cope up and just 3-5 students remain. But those who remain, are really lucky to do Pure mathematics in such a pure and beautiful atmosphere.

A prof of mine and a ‘fan’ of maths used to joke- An ideal vacation is to go to a hill station during winter, get a cup of hot coffee and solve sums on integration! Well, not exactly, but PhD at TIFR is one such 5-year vacation. You get to do pure maths sitting in a lawn and gazing at the sea! You can walk along the beach with your favourite prof and discuss math problems. Thats TIFR for you! Now which university at US, or for that matter anywhere in the world offers you that?

The TIFR was an outcome of Homi Bhabha’s vision. He approached JRD with the proposal to create a fundamental research institute in India. Together with support from Pt Nehru, they created TIFR, a magnificient edifice – surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens – that stand out as a thing of great beauty, facing the Arabian Sea. Thanks, Homi Bhabha and thank you, JRD!

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October 7, 2008 at 16:23

VirajSpot On dude… TIFR is THE place to be..Also try n check out HBCSE if you could, its right next to TIFR.. I dont know a lot about TIFR to be honest, but from what I could gather about HBCSE in my Olympiad Camp, both places rock! (And have amazing libraries and canteens :D)