The Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM) affiliated with the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, was founded in 1989 under the name of Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (from which it has retained its present acronym). The Institute started its work with three core research groups in theoretical physics and three core research groups in mathematics, and with very few resources. Its goal was to carry out original research in these areas and at the same time creating a model that could be used to propagate and improve research all over Iran. The Institute was able to grow and garner more resources and attract researchers from other disciplines as well. Thus in 1997 it acquired its present name and at present is comprised of 8 schools conducting research in many different areas of fundamental sciences. The Institute enjoys many infrastructures required for such an establishment including networking, several laboratories, and an up-to-date library whose size and capabilities are increasing every day. The Institute is an active participant in the research arena of Iran.
Looking at more than two decades of IPM's experience, three features stand out: First, the quantity and quality of the research that has been carried out as evidenced by the number of the articles published in accredited journals and the number of references to these article; dynamic style of management in the sense that the researcher has a pivotal significance in all decisions that are made, the research units act independently; there is a great deal of flexibility in the creation and dissolution of these units. IPM intends to be of service to the totality of research in Iran thus it has regularly cooperated with the Iranian universities and other research centers by facilitating their access to IPMâs resources; in fact IPM was the pioneering institute who brought Internet to Iran and in 1992 created a framework for linking the universities across the country to each other and to the rest of the world (Iranet). The Institute continues its pioneering role with such national projects as the National Iranian Observatory and the Iranian Light Source Facility.
The Instituteâs activities are directed along several routes:
• The Institute conducts research along the lines that led to its inception, both independently and in cooperation with other research institutes inside the country and abroad.
• The Institute carries out conferences as well as joint research projects, and exchanges researchers to establish links with other research institutes and scientific communities within and outside Iran.
• The Institute provides facilities as well as financial support and opportunity for sabbaticals for researchers belonging to other institutes and universities.
• The Institute tries to provide the atmosphere necessary for attracting Iranian researchers and scientists from around the world.
• The Institute conducts graduate study programs to train researchers in areas where the Institute is interested to increase the number of manpower.
• The Institute publicizes its scientific findings of IPM through books, journals, and scientific gatherings.
• The Institute provides scientific and cultural services that fit within the framework of its activities.
• The Institute seeks to recognize the basic needs of the country in fundamental sciences.
• The Institute has established an electronic network in order to connect all scientific and research centers and to develop the corresponding technologies in Iran.
The pillars of the Institute are its Board of Governors, the Director of the Institute, and the Instituteâs Scientific Council. Mohammad-Javad Larijani has been the director of the Institute since its inception. At present the Institute is comprised of nine schools:
• School of Astronomy
• School of Biological Sciences
• School of Cognitive Sciences
• School of Computer Science
• School of Mathematics
• School of Nano Science
• School of Particles and Accelerators
• School of Philosophy
• School of Physics
According to the Instituteâs constitution these schools are autonomous in their internal affairs. The positions offered to the researchers include:
• Academic staff: This category subsumes permanent members of the Institute as well as post-doctorates who work in the Institute for periods of up to three years.
• Research groups: A group is formed of three main members (including at least one professor and one assistant professor) and several collaborators working on a comprehensive project for several years.
• Research nuclei: A research nucleus is comprised of one professor, one post-doctoral fellow, and at most 3 PhD students.
• Senior researchers: Members of academic staff of national universities with the position of assistant or full professor who do research within the Institute with one or two PhD students.
• Researchers: These researchers usually are chosen from among young academic staff of national universities.
• Non-resident researchers: These researchers do their research at their respective academic institutes with a grant from IPM.
• Adjunct professors: Prominent scientists living abroad who with the approval of the Scientific Council reside one month at the Institute, perform research, and hold classes.
• Visitors: Prominent researchers from around the world who are invited to take part in conferences or short-duration workshops and whose expenses are paid fully or in part by the Institute.
The government has put the Institute in charge of some national projects, at present these include
• Iranian National Observatory
• Cooperation with CERN
• The Grid Project for distributed scientific computation
• 10 MeV Linac
• The Iranian Light Source Facility
• The Iranian Universities Network and the .ir National Domain
• Advanced National Computing Center
Electronic Networking and Internet Domain
The Institute was the first organization in Iran which in 1992 created the infrastructure necessary to get connected to international networking. Gradually the Institute made this service available to other academic institutions. This network has evolved and transformed into the present Science-Research Network of Iran (Iranet) which operates under the supervision of the Institute and is continually expanding its resources and services.
Also, the right to license the .ir domain (the national Internet domain for Iran) has been granted to the Institute since March 1994 and since October of that year the domain licensing center started working inside the Institute.
The Institute has signed several contracts with important foreign scientific institutes such as Ecole Polytechnique, Paris; Universite Paris Sud at Orsay; CERN; and SISSA; to work on joint research projects, to exchange researchers, and to cooperate in training PhD students.
The organizational chart of IPM is based on its Constitution and includes a Director who is proposed by the Scientific Council of IPM and approved by the Minister of Science, Research and Technology, and a Scientific Council (Research Council). Members of the Research Council are appointed by the Board of Trustees of IPM.
The academic framework of IPM consists of IPM-based and non-IPM-based research activities.
The IPM-based research consists of both part-time and full-time modes.
The part-time mode includes:
• Research Groups (RG), each headed by a university academic whose rank is at least that of an associate professor. Each group is composed of a university academic with a PhD (such as a post-doctoral fellow) and at least two PhD students.
• Senior Associate Researcher (SAR), a university academic with a PhD with at most two PhD students.
• Junior Associate Researcher (JAR), a university academic with a PhD.
The activities of all the above part-time categories cover an initial period of three years, extendable to six.
The full-time mode includes:
• Post-Doctoral Research Fellows (PDRF), equivalent to the rank of assistant professors.
• Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellows (SPDRF), equivalent to the rank of associate professors.
• Full Professors
The non-IPM-based research consists of grants provided to academics normally resident of universities or affiliated centers and who carry out their research at their own institutions.
The main IPM library is well-stocked with well over 21371 volumes, and it subscribes to more than 587 scientific journals and periodicals.
Due to the importance of interface between computing science and traditional sciences, IPM has embarked on the formation of two computational laboratories in the Schools of Physics and Mathematics. State-of-the-art hardware and software facilities have been installed in these laboratories. The aim of these laboratories is to conduct research in the fields of numerical modeling and computer-based simulation, in physical and mathematical sciences, as the third methodology of research. IPM has been the standard bearer in this field in Iran and hopes that in the near future a national computational laboratory can be established through the merger of the existing laboratories.
In 1992, a Publication Unit was set up at IPM to produce a quarterly newsletter (AKHBAR), technical reports, preprints, lecture notes and proceedings of conferences and workshops. In the year 2000, the unit was extended into the Information Centre of IPM to continue to provide all the publication services of IPM, and also act as the webmaster for its Internet homepage (http://www.ipm.ac.ir).
IPM is housed in four close-by buildings (within 20 mins walking distance of each) in the northeastern corner of Tehran at the foot of the magnificent Alborz Mountains at an elevation of 1800 meters from the sea level. The Head Office, the School of Mathematics, the School of Cognitive Sciences, School of Computer Science, School of Analytic Philosophy and the Administration Offices of IPM are located in the Niavaran Building, adjacent to the former Niavaran Imperial Palace. This building was part of the former royal offices.
The Ekhtiyarieh Building houses the Library and the Computer Network Centre. The School of Physics, the School of Nano-Science, School of Astronomy, School of Particles and Accelerators and the IPM Guest House are located in Farmanieh Building. All these areas are among the historical regions of the capital city.
Tel: (9821) 22287014
Fax: (9821) 22828755