Sunday, June 18, 2006

Direction, Destruction, Creation, Reproduction and on

Today is perhaps one of the most important days in the history of physics in China. Today the formal agreement was signed for the beginning of the KITPC. The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in China. This institute (much like the KITP in Santa Barbara), funded with a large grant from the Kavli foundation will be a centre of excellence where workshops will be held and perhaps most importantly world experts in many different fields will congregate for many weeks or months at a time stimulating cutting edge research with the community already here.

Fred Kavli during a dedication at Stanford University (photo linked from here)

The KITPC will be part of the Institute for Theoretical Physics which is where I'm based now and so is of direct relevance to my own future...I have to make the most of this!

This will be an incredible opportunity for the students especially, who up until now have been rather isolated from the rest of the world community and with the help of the KITPC will really be able to integrate and show their potential.

News cameras and suits abounded as the document was signed though I felt rather sheepish in my T-Shirt and jeans having not been warned about the event before hand. I therefore didn't get any photos of the event but I'm sure I'll find some to link to at some point. David Gross (Nobel Laureate 2004, director of the KITP in Santa Barbara and general smart chap all round) was there to sign the deal. All being well there will be a workshop next year for three months on a subject which I'd really like to get involved with, it would be an awesome opportunity for me if I can get myself up to speed by then.

Within an hour of the signing we headed over to the venue for the Strings 2006 and with temperatures around 36 today we sat outside with the great and the good and caught up with old friends over a very toned down Chinese buffet. It's really good to see other string theorists I haven't seen for a couple of years in some cases and catch up, both as friends and as scientists. I really hope to be able to take this opportunity to start up some great new projects and meet more interesting folks from around the world.

Tomorrow is the opening ceremony where Hawking, Gross and Strominger will be speaking in the Great Hall of the People to a huge crowd. Due to traffic constraints this means getting up at 6 tomorrow morning so I'm going to make a hasty exit for now but plan on posting after my expected 16 hour day of listening/working/chatting tomorrow.

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