Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Indian Institute of Astrophysics

This is a new research project for me, and it's taking me to new places, namely, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics. I'm here looking for items related to the Madras and Kodaikanal Observatories. I spend most of my day at the IIA Library and the IIA Archives. The staff has been friendly and helpful, and I'm gathering all sorts of useful bits. Access to the IIA didn't seem complicated compared to what I had to deal with even a few years ago, so I'm finding this a pretty low stress research trip. It's easy to order photocopies, it's easy to order books, and I've been allowed to transcribe some of Pogson's observing logs.

IIA Access Policy

List of Items Available in the IIA Archives

The library is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Wifi is available on campus.

The IIA is also in charge of the Kodaikanal Observatory. The librarian at IIA has been very generous with her time (she's in the midst of retiring) and has introduced me to a few of the research scientists and administrators here. One result of all this care is that arranging a research visit to Kodai has been a piece of cake. I was worried about accommodations, but it been determined that I qualify to stay at the observatory guest house. Exciting!

Nuts & Bolts

This is getting easier by the month. I actually used airbnb to find a place this visit. It's not necessarily easy finding a place close to IIA this way, but public transportation is reliable and the library doesn't open until mid-morning, so you have time to travel to Koramanagala.

Getting there:
I'm staying in HSR Layout / Sector 6. It's not too difficult getting an autorickshaw when I need one, but I usually take the AC bus. KIA-7 is a bus that conveniently runs along Sarjapura Road by IIA on the way to the airport. If you need a landmark for an auto or taxi driver, St. John's Medical College Hospital on Sarjapura Road is your best best. The main gate to IAA is on 100 Feet Road, which is off Sarjapura. It's also not too far to walk from Hosur Road if you get off the auto somewhere near the Madiwalla underpass. The best landmark there is actually FabIndia, just up 100 Feet Road from Hosur Road. I've taken several more buses (non-AC) in Bangalore than I would have in Delhi -- it's easier and generally feels safer.

There's a decent canteen on the main campus, costs 30 r. or something like that for a meal. If you must get out for some air, go out to 100 Feet Rd., cross Sarjapura, and in about 3 blocks you will find a Cafe Coffee Day, around 7th Cross Road. There are some sweets shops down that way, too. On the weekend, there's this place called Brahmin's in Basavanagudi that has the world's best idli. Trust me on this one. Less than 100 r. for two lovely plates of food.