It's a reasonably wide-ranging interview, and it's by Sugata Srinivasaraju of Outlook (there's also an accompanying article, along with a list of famous people who have had an association with our Institute). The occasion, of course, is the Centenary of the Institute. [In the excerpts below, all the bold emphasis is from me]
There cannot be a better advertisement for the Institute than this:
I spent all my adult life in IISc. You can't find a better place to work. It has a wonderful ambience. People are free to do what they want. By and large the discourse here is gentle. Many many people in IISc are involved in their work. They like what they are doing. They are completely involved in it. They are happiest when they are pursuing their research. If more number of people are happy, their happiness contributes to the ambience of the place. An academic research institution is a wonderful place. However lowdown in the academic hierarchy, there is nobody telling you what to do. You are really in many ways marching to your own tune.
And about some of the new initiatives at IISc:
... [W]e would now like the institute to modernise in a major way. We have begun the process of modernising our laboratories. We want the next generation of researchers to be doing research in laboratory surroundings that are distinctly more competitive from what we have had till now. We are also investing in new areas. We are making investments in areas of nano electronics, nano science, and areas of biology. We are constructing new buildings for the aersopace and physics departments. We are also putting into motion programmes that will bring many more international scientists to come and work here for reasonable periods. We want to increase international presence here and make it more heterogeneous. And we would like to expand in some other areas too. We are looking at the possibility of creating an inter-disciplinary research centre where we hope biologists, physicists, computer scientists, electronics and electrical engineers and people from other fields would all work together on some important problem of great practical use. One area that has been identified is energy and materials. Also synthetic chemistry. Last year, we created a centre for earth sciences and are in the process of creating a centre for neuroscience. My personal hope is that we should be able to expand the component of bio-medical research. Another programme that is still being talked about is if we should actually create an undergraduate programme as a bridge between science and engineering and try to create a unique programme that is not available elsewhere.
About the prospects for humanities and social sciences in the Institute:
Every place which is devoted predominantly to science and technology would vastly benefit by having a small section that dealt with humanities and social sciences. In fact, the setting up of the archives at the institute is itself an attempt to hope some historians of science would come and spend time here. We started a centre for contemporary studies sometime ago to bridge this gap, but these are still small efforts. I hope we will be able to do more.