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International Conference Marks 40th Anniversary

More than 400 people from over 50 countries attended the opening ceremonies of ICTP’s 40th anniversary conference, “Legacy for the Future.” The 90 minute opening event took place in the Centre’s Main Lecture Hall on Monday morning 4 October.

“Today, more than ever before,” Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of Italy, noted in a congratulatory message to the ICTP, “higher education and research are acknowledged to be unique instruments to eradicate poverty and defeat underdevelopment.

“Italy,” he continued, “is proud to have endorsed the mission of the ICTP 40 years ago, and for having hosted and supported it.” Perez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, and Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, were other heads of state who sent congratulatory messages to the ICTP.

Among the participants at the conference were Nobel Laureates Walter Kohn (Chemistry 1998), Rudolph A. Marcus (Chemistry 1992), John Nash (Economic Sciences 1994) and Ahmed H. Zewail (Chemistry 1999). Altero Matteoli, Italy’s Minister of Environment and Land Protection, also spoke as did Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Chairman of the Group of 77. Messages from KoÃ¯chiro Matsuura, Director General, UNESCO, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General, IAEA, were accompanied by additional remarks from Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director General, UNESCO, and Werner Burkhart, Deputy Director General, IAEA. Roberto Antonione, Undersecretary for Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Riccardo Illy, President of the Regione Friuli-Venezia Giulia, also addressed the audience.

The 40th anniversary of the Centre provided an opportunity to announce the launching of several new initiatives. Among them were:

• Five new awards, sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, for Leadership in Science and Public Life. One of the prizes will be named after Abdus Salam and two after Ahmed H. Zewail. The other two prizes will be awarded jointly by ICTP and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). The prizes are designed to recognize and honour young scientists and scholars who have demonstrated the talent and drive to contribute effectively to the interface between science and Islamic thought. Each award will carry a US$20,000 cash prize.
• An ICTP prize in mathematics, comparable to the ICTP prize in physics, that will be sponsored by Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund of Norway and given in cooperation with the International Mathematical Union (IMU). The prize, which is named after the great Indian mathematician Ramanujan, will include a cash reward of US$10,000. The first recipient will be named in 2005.
• The signing of a memorandum of agreement between Brazil’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and ICTP that will provide funding for four co-sponsored activities each year in South America — two in Brazil and two in other South American nations. The activities will begin next year.

The afternoon sessions featured scientific lectures by Ahmed H. Zewail (California Institute of Technology), Hiroaki Kitano (Sony, Japan), Sir Partha Dasgupta (University of Cambridge, UK), Susan Solomon (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA), and Nobel Laureate Rudolph A. Marcus (California Institute of Technology).

The day’s final session was highlighted by a roundtable discussion focusing on the current state of science in the developing world. The session was led by C.N.R. Rao (India) and included brief presentations by Ambassador Claudio Moreno (Italy), Ahmed H. Zewail (Egypt and USA), M. Kleimola, Gabriel B. Ogunmola (Nigeria), Jia-er Chen (China) and Jacob Palis (Brazil). Additional remarks were made Abdul Moyeen Khan, Bangladesh’s Minister of Science and Information and Communication Technology, and Raimundo Alberto Gonzalez Aninat, Permanent Representative of Chile to the IAEA.

The conference continues on Tuesday with additional scientific lectures on high energy and condensed matter physics, cosmology, and the physics of climate and weather. The conference’s concluding lecture will be given by Nobel Laureate John Nash, who was the subject of the Oscar-winning film, ‘A Beautiful Mind.’

For a complete conference schedule, see


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