Community Resources and Partnerships
From the ancient study of mathematics in India to photography of the country in the 1850s and ‘60s, Brown University and neighboring Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) host notable collections of Indian art, artifacts, and manuscripts. Partnerships range from an HIV/AIDS research collaboration between Lifespan/Tufts/Brown and YRG Care to the Planetary Geosciences Group's work with India's national space agency to joint research with the India Institute of Technology at Kanpur on biomaterials.
Exhibitions, Libraries, and Online Digital Collections
This collection, acquired by Brown University Library in 2007, focuses on the study of mathematics and exact sciences in the ancient world, especially India, and the relationship of Eastern mathematics to the development of mathematics and related disciplines in the West. The collection contains some 22,000 volumes and a number of other publications and manuscripts. The holdings consist of both antiquarian and recent materials published in Sanskrit, Arabic, Hindi, and Western languages as well as microfilm and photocopies of manuscript material from around the world, much of which is now lost in its original format. The late David E. Pingree was an internationally renowned historian of the exact sciences in antiquity, a member of the Brown faculty from 1971 to 2005, and chair of Brown’s Department of History of Mathematics. Some items from the collection are listed here. More information is available here.
The University's library offers extensive Indian census data. Its collection goes back to 1872, with the latest 2001 census uploaded in an easy to use database in the Data Center at the Rockefeller Library. Variables such as caste can be researched down to the district level. Micro-samples are available for various years as well. Search in the Josiah online catalog under the heading "India - Census" to see all of the Library's holdings.
“Near East” antiquities, many from India, make up this collection – part of which can be viewed online as a Brown University Library Digital Collection. A bequest of Adrienne Minassian, the collection dates from the 8th through 18th centuries and pays particular importance to the historical exchange between Persia and India.
The Brown University Library’s Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection features two distinct sets of holdings related to India: British photographer Samuel Bourne's shots of India in the 1860s (some available here) and photographs taken by Felice Beato after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 (some available here).
The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology holds an impressive collection of archeological, ethnographic, textual, and photographic items. Of these, there are 332 objects from India, comprised mostly of religious items, some musical instruments, textiles, and household objects, such as pottery.
The Asian Collection of the RISD Museum includes a small but rich holding of over 100 South Asian pieces from periods ranging from the 12th century to the late 19th century. Largely from India, the objects come from both Northern and Southern regions of the country and represent the work of artists from Rajasthan to Bengal to Kerala. A variety of mediums are represented in the collection, which has a particularly strong core group of Mughal objects. Other themes represented well by the collection include Hinduism, early Buddhism, contact with the British Empire, and particularly drawings and paper.
The Costume and Textile Collection of the RISD Museum possesses approximately 400 pieces from South Asia – many from the regions of Rajasthan, Sind, and Kachchh. The collection includes almost 40 saris, many of which were showcased in a special exhibition in 2005 titled “The Splendid Sari.”
Brown University is partnering with the India Institute of Technology at Kanpur to further research into the emerging field of biomaterials. The Indo-US Center for Biomaterials will explore the creation of artificial and organic materials that are compatible with the human body, such as those used for contact lenses, joint replacements, and dental crowns.
In 1996, a Miriam Hospital house officer, Dr. Geetha Gopalakrishnan, brought to the attention of several of the Brown faculty the fact that there was a dynamic non-governmental organization in southern India called YR Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) that was increasingly becoming a leader in community-based care and research for people living with HIV in southern India. Geetha wanted to spend an elective at YRG CARE. Dr. Flanigan, and Dr. Mayer, the Director of the Brown-Tufts Fogarty AIDS International Research and Training Program, discussed the organization with colleagues at Johns Hopkins who had been working extensively in India and they felt that this organization could provide an excellent training experience. Based on Geetha’s initial experience, a multi-lateral collaboration has developed that has resulted in frequent exchanges of faculty, collaborations, leading to several important collaborative projects and NIH grants, including YRG CARE’s involvement in the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), as well as more than 30 collaborative publications.
Although antiretrovirals are now available at relatively low cost in India, the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy is not yet common. Until the infrastructure for delivering and monitoring HAART and training of physicians/providers in the initiation, monitoring and sequencing of HAART regimens is more established, the use of HAART may not grow to its fullest need. Until HAART is widely available, the presentation of HIV/AIDS in India is one of wasting, respiratory disease and diarrheal diseases: the same infectious illnesses that have comprised such an enormous disease burden in children in this region, even before the HIV epidemic. The Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research is utilizing its long-term collaborations with investigators with extensive experience in intestinal function and diarrheal disease in India at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, Tamilnadu to address these issues as they present in adults and children with HIV.
Professor Carle Pieters is principal investigator for an imaging spectrometer (0.4-3.0 µm) to characterize and map the mineralogy of the Moon at high resolution. M3 was launched on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon in October 2008 and sent back data for analysis prior to the spacecraft's loss in 2009. See an image here.