19 May 2021 - Promo: Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (E)

Scientists have been lured and charmed by a simple magnet’s ability to penetratingly probe the interior of the earth, sun, and the intervening space between the two. The first magnetic observations at Colaba were taken in 1841 and continued for long. However, in the year1900 a proposal to introduce electric trams in place of horse driven trams in Colaba threatened the accuracy of the magnetic recordings. To ensure the continuity of the recordings, an alternate place, with the same magnetic conditions as Colaba had to be found. This was done under the stewardship of Dr Moos, the first Indian director, who homed in on Alibag, and insisted on simultaneous readings at Colaba and Alibag. In 1971, the Government of India granted autonomous status to the Colaba-Alibag Observatory, renaming it the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, with the mandate to conduct research in geomagnetism and allied areas. The Indian Institute of Geomagnetism or IIG, an autonomous institute under Department of Science & Technology, inherited the legacy bequeathed to it by the Colaba-Alibag observatories, catapulting Indian geomagnetic research into the global arena. IIG has built an array of magnetic observatories throughout the length and breadth of the country to record and study electromagnetic field changes. IIG scientists study magnetic minerals to understand plate motions, changes in climate and environment, coastal processes related to erosion and deposition of sediments apart from sea level changes, recurrence interval of earthquakes, magnetic field intensity changes, archeo magnetism and much more. Diverse teams of seismologists, upper atmosphere and ionosphere scientists from IIG are combining their expertise to predict earthquakes. IIG is using its knowledge and expertise for the benefit of society by offering free or nominal fee consultancy. The compasses of Indian Navy and Air force are calibrated at Alibag observatory. Expertise is being provided to institutions like ISRO, to calibrate payload magnetometers, electromagnetic surveys are carried out for oil companies, and other strategic sectors including nuclear facilities and defence entities. Help is also provided to locate and exploit geothermal energy. IIG is also reorienting the runways of Indian airports. Nature speaks to us in the language of fields, scientists at IIG have enriched our understanding of this language which is of crucial importance when it comes to protecting human lives, safeguarding space and earth bound technological infrastructure as well as shaping the very future of these technologies.

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