Memorial Meeting for Nobel Laureate Professor Abdus Salam's 90th Birthday
(25 to 28 January 2016, Nanyang Executive Centre)
The late Abdus Salam was one of the most prolific and exciting scientists of the second half of the last century. He was the first Muslim to be awarded the Nobel Prize in science. He is one of Pakistan's finest minds and a major figure in the field of physics. His work in the field of theoretical physics, on unifying the electromagnetic and weak forces, earned him the country's first – and only – Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979.
Salam believed that "scientific thought is the common heritage of all mankind" and that the developing world should play its part, not merely by importing technology but by being the arbiter of its own scientific destiny. In 1964, he founded the ICTP in Trieste, where thousands of scientists from developing countries have been trained and to which many would return as visitors to benefit from its top-class research environment. With his boundless energy, he was engaged in so many more aspects of science and education but also in the political arena: a strong voice from the developing world with a base in the Western world that could not be ignored. Abdus Salam was a visionary, a cultural amphibian, equally at home in the developing world and on the global stage.
The memorial meeting will commemorate and celebrate Professor Salam's numerous achievements and pioneering contributions to physics. Around 40 distinguished speakers will gather at the Memorial Meeting. Among the speakers are 4 Nobel Prize winners, Profs David Gross, Anthony Leggett, Carlo Rubbia and Gerard 't Hooft, who will be appointed as the Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors in relation to their visits.
Prof David Gross (Nobel Laureate in Physics, 2004)
Prof David Gross is an American particle physicist and string theorist. He received his bachelor's degree and master's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1962. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966, and then spent three years as a Fellow at Harvard University. In 1973, he was promoted to Professor at Princeton University and named as the Lugene Higgins Professor of Physics in 1986. He assumed the title Director and holder of the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1997. Prof Gross was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1987, the Dirac Medal in 1988 and the Harvey Prize in 2000. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Montpellier, France.
In 1973, Prof Gross, working with Prof Frank Wilczek at Princeton University, discovered asymptotic freedom, which holds that the closer quarks are to each other, the lesser the strong interaction (or color charge) between them; when quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. In 2004, Prof Gross was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of asymptotic freedom, along with Profs Frank Wilczek and David Politzer.
Prof Anthony Leggett (Nobel Laureate in Physics 2003)
Prof Anthony Leggett is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003 for his pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids, which have shaped the theoretical understanding of normal and superfluid helium liquids and other strongly coupled superfluids.
Since around 1980, Prof Leggett has also worked on the low-temperature properties of glasses and high-temperature superconductivity. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof Leggett was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 "for services to physics".
Prof Carlo Rubbia (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1984)
Prof Carlo Rubbia is an Italian particle physicist and inventor who shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics with Prof Simon van der Meer for work leading to the discovery of the W and Z particles at CERN. He was appointed to the Senate of Italy as a Senator for Life by President Giorgio Napolitano in August 2013.
His main research activities are on the problem of energy supply for the future, with particular focus on the development of new technologies for renewable energy sources. During his term as President of ENEA, Italy (1999–2005), he has promoted a novel method for concentrating solar power at high temperatures for energy production, known as the Archimedes Project, which is presently being developed by industry for commercial use. Prof Rubbia was principal Scientific Adviser of CIEMAT (Spain), a member of the high-level Advisory Group on Climate Change set up by EU's President Barroso in 2007 and of the Board of Trustees at the IMDEA Energy Institute. In 2009 – 2010, he was Special Adviser for Energy to the Secretary General of ECLAC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, based in Santiago (Chile). In June 2010, he was appointed as the Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam (Germany). Asteroid 8398 Rubbia is named in his honour.
Prof Gerard 't Hooft (Nobel Laureate in Physics 1999)
Prof Gerard 't Hooft is a Dutch theoretical physicist and professor at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics with his thesis advisor Martinus J. G. Veltman "for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions". He was also awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1986 and the Spinozapremie in 1995.
His work concentrates on gauge theory, black holes, quantum gravity and fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. His contributions to physics include a proof that gauge theories are renormalizable, dimensional regularization, and the holographic principle.
Prof 't Hooft remains active in research on gravity and sub-microscopic black holes. He is also an ambassador for the Mars One project, an attempt to land the first humans on Mars and establish a permanent colony there by 2027.