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News from ICTP 98 - Dateline




Two French-born Nobel Laureates participated in the Adriatico Research Conference on Interaction and Assembly of Biomolecules that took place from 27-31 August.


Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, who lectured on "Artificial Muscles," is a professor at the College de France in Paris. A 1991 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, he is known as the 'prophet of soft matter.'


Jean-Marie Lehn, who was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, lectured on "Supramolecular Engineering through Programmed Self-Organization." Lehn, who teaches at the Universite Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, received an honorary degree from the University of Trieste last May.


Four Fields Medallists recently gave lectures at ICTP.


Alain Connes, Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Bures-sur-Yvette, France, who received the Fields Medal in 1982 for his contributions to the theory of operator algebras, spoke in March at the Workshop on Quantum Field Theory, Noncommutative Geometry and Quantum Probability.


John Milnor, Jean-Christophe Yoccoz and Gregori Margulis

Three other Fields Medallists lectured at the School and Workshop on Dynamical Systems, held between July and August. John Willard Milnor, Princeton University, who spoke about the increasingly important role played by mathematics in genetics, won the Fields Medal in 1962 for his proof that a seven-dimensional sphere can have several different structures. Gregori Aleksandrovic Margulis, Yale University, who spoke about geometry of numbers and inequalities for integral operators, earned the Fields Medal in 1978 for his pathbreaking insights on subgroups of Lie groups. Jean-Christophe Yoccoz, College de France, who spoke about "Quasi-Periodic Dynamics for p-adic Rational Maps," was awarded the Fields Medal in 1994 for his unique contributions to our understanding of dynamical systems. The Fields Medal, which began in 1936, is considered the world's highest honour in mathematics.


Trieste's scientific community has honoured two of its most celebrated citizens. Paolo Budinich, one of the founding fathers of ICTP as well as a host of other scientific institutions in Trieste, including SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies), and a leading advocate of scientific cooperation with central and eastern European countries, was honoured on the occasion of his 85th birthday at the International Conference on Science and Culture held in Losinj, Croatia, on 17-19 September. Meanwhile, a Symposium on Future Challenges in Science, "dedicated to Daniele Amati for his next 70 years," took place in ICTP's Main Building on 22 September. Amati succeeded Budinich as director of SISSA in 1986 and then served in that capacity for the next 15 years (he will be stepping down as director this fall). The event also served as an occasion to celebrate Amati's 70th birthday.

2001 Dirac Medal

John J. Hopfield, one of the world's top physicists who has successfully crossed interdisciplinary boundaries (he is a professor in the department of molecular biology at Princeton University), is the recipient of the 2001 Dirac Medal of ICTP. The citation announcing the award states that Hopfield "has made important contributions in an impressively broad spectra of scientific subjects." After applying his research talents to light-emitting diodes early in his career, Hopfield turned to biology, where his 'Hopfield model' of neural processing demonstrated "how qualitatively different computation in a computer and in the brain could be." For additional information about the Dirac Medal, see the Centre's web page. The award ceremony will take place at a later date.

Medal for Modelling

Fedor Mesinger, adjunct staff member in ICTP's Weather and Climate Group, has won the European Geophysical Society's Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal. The medal, established in 1995, is given annually to a distinguished researcher in atmospheric science. Mesinger, who was educated and taught for many years at the University of Belgrade,Yugoslavia, is currently a scientist at the National Center for Environmental Prediction's Environmental Modeling Center (USA). He is an internationally recognised expert in the field of numerical modelling of the atmosphere and, more generally, the science of weather prediction. The Eta Model, which he designed, is now used for weather prediction at the US National Center for Environmental Modeling in the United States and an increasing number of weather forecast centres around the world. Mesinger returned to ICTP this summer for a six-week stay.

Calendar 2002

More than 40 schools, colleges, workshops and conferences are listed in ICTP's preliminary 2002 Scientific Calendar. The first activity, beginning 4 February, will be the Joint ICTP-INFM (Italian Institute for the Physics of Matter) School in "High Performance Computing on Linux Clusters." Next year's calendar covers a wide spectrum of topics: from the physics of weather and climate to superstrings, from synchrotron radiation to astroparticle physics, and from seismic waves to quantum dynamics. Three activities will take place outside Trieste: the Regional Course on System Simulation and Hardware Synthesis Using VHDL (Lima, Peru); the Workshop on Frontiers of Materials Science (Santiago, Chile); and the ICTP Microprocessor Laboratory First Middle East Course on Advanced VLSI Design Techniques Using a Hardware Description Language (venue to be determined). The 2002 Calendar is available on the web.

IAEA General Conference

The 45th Regular Session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which was held at the organisation's headquarters in Vienna from 17 to 21 September, included a two-hour special presentation by ICTP director Miguel Virasoro. The special presentation focussed on the role of science in economic development and outlined new ICTP/IAEA activities.



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