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The Institute of Fundamental Studies was established in September, 1981 by Parliament Act. No.55. One of the objectives was to move the country forward from the developing stage to one of greatly advanced productivity.
The institute was shifted to Kandy on 4th December, 1985. The move was regarded as the first step towards building a scientific community, first in the area around Kandy and then throughout Sri Lanka with links to the foremost scientific centers of research in all parts of the world.
The first Annual Review was held in 1985.
The Kandy School of Science (KSS) was established in October, 1986. The primary objective of the KSS is to be an international forum for science in the North/South and South/South dialogue. KSS will function as a principal gathering place for local and foreign scientists, students, to exchange ideas and be exposed to the frontiers of knowledge. The programmes of the KSS are designed so that diverse local and international organizations may be tapped for financial support. Among the foreign sources are, ICTP, Third World Academy of Science, UNESCO, ICPAM, UNU, NARESA. Various private and government corporations are potential local donors.
The first international symposium of the Kandy School of Science (KSS) on Solid State Physics was held from 20-25 April, 1987 at IFS.
Celebrates the first year in Kandy on 4th December 1986 Prof. Abdus Salam’s visit to the IFS.
Stamp was issued to commemorate Halley's Comet
In 1987 Professor K. Vlasssak, Katholik University of Leuven and Professor J.J. Werenne, University Libre de Bruxelles were at the IFS for discussions with the Director and to work out programmes in connection with the award of a grant of Rs. 39.6 m. by the Government of Belgium to the IFS.
On 28 February, 1987 the Hon. Speaker Mr. E.L. Senanayake Inaugurated the Schools Science Programme at a simple ceremony. The first Residential Camp was held from 11-15 August 1988.
The new wing of the IFS was opened on 28th February, 1987.
His Excellency President J.R. Jayawardena, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IFS presented the certificate of appointment of the Sumanasekara chair to Professor Kirthi Tennakone in February 1988. The donor Mr. Prem Sumanasekara, Managing Director of the Vidya Silpa, is a friend of the IFS with a deep commitment to the development programmes of this country.
The Government of Japan has provided a grant of 877 million yen (US $ 5.7 million, Sri Lanka Rs. 164 million) to equip the IFS Laboratories. The exchange note was signed on Wednesday the 25th March, 1987 by His Excellency Mr. Yasuya Hamamoto the Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka and Mr. Baku Mahadevan, Acting Secretary to the Ministry of Finance on behalf of their respective governments. This is the first time a major grant of this nature has been provided to an institute in Sri Lanka to obtain sophisticated research equipment, necessary for frontiers of scientific research. The equipment was brought to IFS on 6th March, 1988. The laboratories were inaugurated by
His Excellency President J.R. Jayawardena on 27.05.1988.
The first Residential Science camp was held from 11-15 August 1988 at the IFS
In 1988 a beautiful Zen Garden, perhaps the only one of its kind ever to be built outside Japan, is an added attraction to the IFS. The Zen Garden is a gift from C-Itoh Co., who’s Technical Advisor, Mr. Takao Nakamoto, supervised the complex of the Zen Garden from its inception.
Mr. Sam Popham, the British Naval Officer in the 2nd World War and the Ceylon Tea Planter after the War, carefully nurtured a collection of indigenous dry zone trees and shrubs at Kandalama, Dambulla for 25 years after his retirement. On the 24th March, 1989 Mr. Popham gifted his unique collection of trees to the IFS for posterity.
The Rock and Gem Museum at the IFS was open by His Excellency Helmut Hohlig, Ambassador of the German Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka on 12.02.1990.
August 8, 1990 was the Director’s Day at the IFS. Heads of leading science and research institutes in the country visited the IFS and were welcomed by its Director Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma.
Although the IFS act specifies an academic council of the IFS, it is only in August 1991 that a proper council was formed. In the same month the Academic council, which is responsible for the recommendation of all academic matters to the board of governments, had its first meeting. The council has met regularly since then.
His Excellency the president R. Premadasa, who was the Chairman of the board of Governments of the institute, visited the IFS on 27th July 1992 to have the board meeting. This was the first time that the board was held at the IFS in Kandy.
His Excellency the president R. Premadasa, was the chairman of the board of governors of the institute from 1989 to May 1993. The IFS express its deep sorrow at Premadasas’ untimely death. The unstained support and guidance that he gave the institute are deeply appreciated and will always be remembered by the IFS.
The computer unit at the IFS offered a network service and electronic mail facilities to its users.
A green house, which was badly needed by the IFS researchers, was constructed in 1993. The international development research center (IDRC), Canada, and the Belgian administration for the development cooperation (BADC) provided the funds for its construction.
In 1994 the Japan International cooperation Agency (JAICA) on behalf of the Government of Japan handed over to the institute spare parts worth 11 million Japanese Yen (Rs. 5.4 million) for the scientific equipment that was donated in 1998, having determined that the use and maintenance of the equipment by the IFS has been very satisfactory.
Her Excellency the President Chandrika Kumarathunga, The Chairperson of the IFS visited IFS as the Chief Guest for the ninth Annual Review in year 1995.
Year 1996 TWAS/NARESA prices for young Scientist were awarded to two IFS Research Assistants. The Chemistry award was made to Ms. W. A. M. P Wanigasekara and the Physics award was won by Mr. G.R.R.A. Kumara.
Dr. U.L.B.Jayasinghe was awarded the prestigious Alexander-von-Humboldt (AvH) Research Fellowship by the AvH foundation for the years 1998/1999 to carry out advanced research in Natural Product Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
Ms. W.M.N.M. Wijesinghe won the Kandiah Memorial Award (11) for the year 1999 for the best piece of research carried out by a postgraduate student in Sri Lanka.
In year 1999, twenty five IFS researchers were awarded the Presidential Research awards.
In year 2000, twenty five IFS researchers were awarded the Presidential Research awards.
In year 2001, seventeen IFS researchers were awarded the Presidential Research awards.
Dr, G.R.K. Senadeera was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences for 2002/2003.
The Institute of Chemistry gold medal 2004 was awarded to Prof. H.R.W. Dharmarathne. This award is for an outstanding contribution in the use of any branch of chemical Science for the development or innovation in industry or for national development in Sri Lanka.
Dr. P.M. Sirimanne was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for 2005/2006.
Prof. U.L.B. Jayasinghe was awarded a visiting Scholar position for 2004/2005 by National Center for Natural Product Research, University of Mississippi, USA.
Dr. K.V.W. Kehelpannala was re-invited foe DAAD fellowship in year 2005 to Germany by the German Academic Exchange Service.
The details were mainly based on the Annual Reviews, Annual Research reports and Pragna. This was compiled by Dr. C.T.K. Tilakarathne, Coordinator, Science Dissemination Unit / IFS.