ICTS campus to come up in B'lore

ICTS campus to come up in B'lore

think tank: From left: International Centre for Theoretical Sciences Director Prof Spenta R Wadia, Nobel Laureate David Gross,  Scientist Prof C N R Rao, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr S Banerjee and TIFR Director Prof Mustansir Barma  at the foundation laying ceremony for ICTS campus in Bangalore on Monday. DH photo

The institute will establish its campus on a nearly 18 acre plot in Shivakote near Hesarghatta by 2012.

Director of ICTS, Prof Spenta R Wadia told the media that the centre would contribute to the growth of excellence in basic sciences and would also be a research enhancement facility looking to create an interphase of science research, technology and policy. ICTS was established in 2007, but the land to set up a campus has been alloted recently after hectic parleys with the State Government. The cost of the infrastructure alone is expected to be Rs 80 crore.

Eminent scientist Prof C N R Rao, who laid the foundation-stone for the centre expressed his delight at the location of ICTS in Bangalore which already boasted of premier institutes of TIFR like National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and Centre for Applicable Mathematics (CAM), besides IISc and Jawarharlal Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).

The main goals of ICTS are to foster research, be a resource for high-level education and training and reach out to society by being a centre for scientific information and values. Since 2007, ICTS has held 21 programmes in which 1,119 scientists including 403 international scholarss have participated.

Nobel Laureate David Gross spoke on the role of theory in sciences, focusing on the distinction between theories and experimentation. A theoretical physicist himself, Prof. Gross’ work on the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of strong nuclear force won him the Nobel Prize in 2004.

“Nowhere is the role of theory so widely relied as in physics. Theorists play an important role in modeling and calculating the expected background to a new experiment, so that experimentalist can discover new phenomena and distinguish the signals from the noise.”

Articulating his thoughts in a lighter vein most of the time, Gross said the disadvantage for theorists was that they could formulate a theory and then wait for years for an experiment to confirm it.

He said that his own work on the ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ binding forces of quarks, were done by theorising based on calculations, but had to wait  20 years for experiments to confirm the same.

He remarked that it was difficult to find people who were both experimentalist and theoreticians today, and encouraged students to choose their path, depending on what they enjoyed.

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