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All eyes on the ICTP as it turns 50

View from the guest house at the International Centre for Theoretical  Physics in Trieste, Italy

Golden days: the view from the guesthouse at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics as delegates arrive for a conference to mark its first 50 years.

By Matin Durrani in Trieste, Italy

When the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) here in Trieste in 1964, I am sure he would have never quite dared to believe that it would go on to be such a success in helping to further the careers of some of the brightest minds from the developing world. Salam’s dream was for the ICTP to be a focal point for talented theorists from countries seeking to build up their research strengths, bringing such people into contact with leading physicists from front-ranking nations to carry out top-quality collaborative projects.

Now, 50 years after it began, the ICTP is hosting a golden-jubilee conference, where it is quite rightly celebrating all that it has achieved – and looking ahead to the future too.

Starting on Monday 6 October, the conference will see a string of physics big-hitters speaking, including CERN boss Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Nobel laureates Carlo Rubbia and David Gross, UK Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and string theorist Ed Witten. Also in the line-up are the heads of UNESCO, the World Meteorological Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency, plus the president of Rwanda, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and assorted Italian big-wigs.

Of course, there are lots of speakers from developing nations, too. After all, they are the real stars of the show and I hope to mention some of them on the Physics World blog over the next few days while I am here.

In the meantime, I’m sure you’re dying to know what’s in the conference goody-bag that all delegates have been given, so here’s some exclusive breaking news for you:

* ICTP at 50 memory stick;
* ICTP tie;
* ICTP anniversary photobook;
* DVD documentary about Abdus Salam;
* Ring-bound ICTP at 50 desk diary;
* Book about Italian phyicist Palao Budinich (1916–2013), who helped Salam to found the ICTP.


ICTP goodies

Celebrating in style: stuff in the delegates’ goody-bags.


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  1. M. Asghar

    Matin, have a fruitful stay at the ICTP and tell us something about the traces/souvenirs of Dirac’s many visits of the centre over the years.

  2. Trackback: Physics Viewpoint | All eyes on the ICTP as it turns 50


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