University of Calcutta


S.K. Mitra Centre for Research in Space Environment

Late Professor Sisir Kumar Mitra, FRS, is the pioneer of radio and space researches in this part of the globe. He established the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics of this University in 1949 with his school of space physicists as its core group. The activities of this Institute were subsequently expanded to cover areas like Solid State Electronics, Computer and System Science, in addition to the Ionosphere and Wave Propagation. In recent years, however, the research interest of the Ionosphere and Wave Propagation Group was limited to some selected areas due to lack of funds and manpower. However, the scientific contributions in those limited areas have been significant and internationally recognized. The University, with the support of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), proposed to establish a Centre in memory of Late Professor Sisir Kumar Mitra to undertake research in the existing as well as new fields, extending from troposphere to upper atmosphere. Professor R.N.Basu, former Vice Chancellor and Professor A.K.Banerjee, the Honorable Vice Chancellor, formally approached the Chairman, ISRO for providing financial support to the Centre. After prolonged interactions with Advisory Committee on Space Research (ADCOS) of ISRO four research proposals on the following topics with a total budget of Rs. 75.2 lakhs were sanctioned by ISRO Headquarters under the umbrella of the proposed Centre: (1) Atmospheric Electricity
(2) Space Weather
(3) Lower Atmospheric Chemistry
(4) Radio Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere Late Dr. A.P. Mitra, FRS, played the key role in formulating the scientific programme of the Centre and extended his support as the then Chairman of ADCOS, ISRO. The Centre was formally inaugurated on 12 March 2002. The Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics was chosen as the nodal department to organize the Centre which will be inter-departmental in nature, involving the University departments like Radio Physics and Electronics, Physics, Chemistry, Atmospheric Sciences and Marine Science. The first phase of the ISRO funded projects ended in March 2007. A set of proposals was submitted to ISRO HQ for the second phase and four projects were approved with the funds totaling Rs. 95.48 lakhs for the period 2007-2010. Apart form the projects approved directly by ISRO HQ, four other projects sanctioned by SAC, ISRO and CAWSES India, ISRO, have been carried out at the Centre. Through the implementation of these projects, the Centre participated in a number of ISRO supported national programmes such as, GAGAN, CAWSES, Megha Tropiques Mission, Ka-band Satellite Propagation, and the international programmes namely, SCINDA and COSMIC Satellite. ISRO has selected University of Calcutta for financial support under the Space Science Promotion Scheme. The selection was based on the past and present activities in the area of space science mainly pursued at the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics. The funding comprises of (i) one-time grant for equipment, (ii) support for two faculty positions for five years, and (iii) three M. Tech. Fellowships for five years. Presently, two Assistant Professors are working in the department and three M. Tech Fellows are receiving their fellowships under this programme.