Date:27/06/2011 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/edu/2011/06/27/stories/2011062750070400.htm
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Taking uncharted paths in science research

SARATH BABU GEORGE

Applications are invited for five-year integrated interdisciplinary MS at IIRBS.


The programme seeks to create scientists who have a deep appreciation of humanities.



Quality education: Laboratory sessions being conducted at IIRBS.

An old saying in the scientific community goes ‘Theory guides, experiment decides'. This adage has been driving the Institute for Intensive Research in Basic Sciences (IIRBS) forward since its launch in 2009. Functioning independently under the direction of the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, the institute envisages high priority research and dynamic academic programmes in interdisciplinary areas.

The institute offers an innovative five-year integrated interdisciplinary Master of Science programme (MS programme) that was the first of its kind in Kerala at the time of introduction. The programme seeks to create scientists who have a deep appreciation of humanities.

It also aims to create a talent pool that consists of highly competent and motivated scientists who are capable of expanding the scientific frontiers by engaging in cutting-edge scientific research in physical, chemical, and the biological sciences.

The institute also aims to address the dearth in quality training in fundamental science that had occurred in recent times. “The importance of this field has been neglected of late. A deep understanding of basic science is crucial in order to fathom the various arenas of advanced scientific and also to conduct experiments,” says Dr. I. Ibnusaud, the coordinator of IIRBS.

Visiting faculty Dr. Simon Bernhard Cammerer, a scientist in organic synthetic chemistry, testifies to this fact. “Proper training should be made available in order to lay the foundation for scientific advancement,” he said. The curriculum includes classroom learning, video/e-learning, off-campus learning, experimental tasks, project assignments, and original research work in the high priority areas.

Each course has a certain number of credits which denote its weightage.

Some of the courses will be covered by tutorials-discussions, lab tasks, minor and major research projects, assignments, workshops, preparation of review, off-campus visits and instrumental methods.

The maximum strength of the batch has been limited to ten and admissions take place once in every two years.

According to Dr. Ibnusaud, students have been sent to Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), TIFR, Mumbai, IIT, Mumbai, and IISc., Bangalore, as part of their off-campus training programme. The distinguished members of the institute's adjunct faculties include the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Rajan Gurukkal, former Vice-Chancellor Dr. Cyriac Thomas, Dr. I. N. N. Namboothiri (IISc. Bangalore), Dr. Manoj Ramavarma (IIT Madras), and Dr. Madhavan Pillai (Wayne State University, Detroit, USA). Eminent scientists like Prof. Henri B. Kagan and Prof. D.W.

Armstrong from across the world had also been invited in the past to conduct classes for students. A unique feature of the establishment is the involvement of students in the day-to-day functioning of the centre that is intended to mould greater responsibility in them.

Research articles

The IIRBS has also made submission of research articles to scientific journals mandatory for all of its students. The acceptance of as many as seven submissions to various acclaimed journals from the current batch is on the pipeline.

“The institute aims to train and develop those students who are entirely committed to the idea of constant research and experimentation,” says Dr. Ibnusaud.

Dr. Ibnusaud also informs that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) had recently sanctioned Rs.3 crore from its Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) towards the expansion of the centre. The Central Public Works Development (CPWD) will soon commence the construction of the proposed integrated building complex. Applications are currently invited for the MS programme at the IIRBS. Applicants should have an aptitude in basic science and should have at least scored 55 per cent aggregate in the Plus Two (Science) examination. Applications can be downloaded from the web site www.iirbsmgu.com.

Selection will be based on a thematic objective-cum-comprehensive test that is followed by a round of interview. The entrance examination will be conducted on July 31. Candidates who have been selected can also avail internal part-time employment opportunities for which stipends will be paid. These opportunities will be in the areas of operation and maintenance of sophisticated instruments like the Nuclear Magnetic resonance (NMR) and the High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instruments. The deadline for submission of applications is July 7. Further details can be had over phone 0481-2732992 or from the web site www.iirbsmgu.com.

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