Science without borders: A view from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

The campus of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research around the time of inauguration of its new buildings in January 1962 in south Bombay (now Mumbai). Photo courtesy of the Archives of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

After seventy years of the government of independent India nurturing scientific enterprise, even in the face of criticism of its investment in the fundamental sciences, it is a good moment to review the story of what many regard as the prized jewel of them all – the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), which was founded in 1945 by the physicist Homi Bhabha with the help of the Dorabji Tata Trust. We are treated to a visit of this famous institute and its history in the book Growing the Tree of Science, Homi Bhabha and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Oxford Univ Press, New Delhi 2016) written by Indira Chowdhury. The reference to a growing tree in the title came from a Presidential Address by Bhabha in 1963 at the National Institute of Sciences of India: “A scientific institution… has to be grown with great care, like a tree.”  … Read more

Interactions: Abigail Klopper

Interactions: Abigail Klopper

Abigail Klopper is a Senior Editor at Nature Physics. She previously worked at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, where she pursued theoretical research in aspects of soft-matter and biological physics.  Read more

Interactions: Conversation with Adam Becker

Interactions: Conversation with Adam Becker

Quantum mechanics is a standard part of every undergraduate physics degree, but often it’s presented as “Here’s a mathematical formalism that works, end of story.” What is Real? by Adam Becker, released last week, tackles the history of how physicists have thought about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, starting with the Copenhagen interpretation but continuing through various dissenting views, such as Bohm’s pilot wave theory and Everett’s many worlds interpretation. His focus is as much on the politics and personalities that have shaped how we think about the field as it is on science and philosophy, which makes for an enlightening and entertaining read — I got through much of the book on a snowy Saturday at home, having difficulty putting it down.  Read more