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Speakers
Speakers

  • Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas, Dept. of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School and Collège de France
    http://artavanis-tsakonas.med.harvard.edu/

    Dr. Artavanis-Tsakonas is Professor of Cell Biology at the Harvard Medical School. Since 1999, he also holds the Chair of Developmental Biology and Genetics at the Collége de France. He is the Director of the Developmental and Regenerative Biology graduate program at Harvard. He is the founding Director of the Department of Developmental Biology and Genetics at the Curie Institute in Paris.

    From 1998 – 2007 he held the K. J. Isselbacher- P. Schwarz Professorship at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was the Director of Developmental Biology and Cancer at the MGH Cancer Center. From 1990 until 1998 he was a Professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Biology, and Director of the Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology Program of the Boyer Center of Molecular Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. While at Yale, he served also as the Director of the Biological Sciences Division and was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

    Dr. Artavanis-Tsakonas holds a Masters Degree in Chemistry from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich where he did his Diploma work with Vladimir Prelog, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, England for work carried out at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the division of Fred Sanger under Ian Harris. He did postdoctoral studies with Walter Gehring in Basel and David Hogness in Stanford.

    Dr. Artavanis-Tsakonas is a founder of Exelixis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cellzome GmbH and Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is also a founder and the President of Fondation Santé, a non profit organization devoted to health and educational issues.

    Notch Signaling and the Control of Metazoan Cell Fates

    Notch signaling broadly controls cell fate in metazoans. Its action is integrated with other fundamental signaling pathways in a profoundly complex manner. I will describe results and approaches, which attempt to address the definition of the genetic circuitry in which Notch is integrated.

     

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  • P. Balaram, Molecular Biophysics Unit, IISc, Bangalore
    http://mbu.iisc.ernet.in/~pbgrp/

    Professor P. Balaram is Professor of Molecular Biophysics and currently the Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Prior to this, he was the Chairman, Molecular Biophysics Unit (1995-2000) and Chairman, Division of Biological Sciences (2002-05) at the Institute. His main research interests are in bio-organic chemistry and molecular biophysics. He is the author of over 400 research papers. He received his M.Sc. from IIT Kanpur (1969) and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA (1972).

    Professor Balaram is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy and the Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, Italy. He has received many awards and honors in recognition of his work, of which mention must be made of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize of CSIR (1986), Alumni Award for Excellence in Research from IISc (1991), TWAS Award in Chemistry (1994), G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research (1994), Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT Kanpur (2000) and Padma Shri by the Government of India (2002).

    Professor Balaram has delivered a number of lectures and has served on the Editorial Boards of journals, both national and international. He has served on many committees of the Government of India, and is currently a Member, Science Advisory Committee to the Union Cabinet, and Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, among others. He has been the Editor of Current Science since 1995.

    Chemical Analysis in the Age of Biology

    Analytical chemistry has been transformed over the past two decades from an old, classical discipline to a vibrant area of research focused principally on biological problems. Mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and a variety of imaging methods based on optical and vibrational spectroscopy have begun to provide a level of sensitivity and resolution which have led to a renaissance in chemical analysis.

    This lecture focuses on the applications of mass spectrometry in biology. A brief historical account of the field, whose origins may be traced to the work of J.J. Thomson, will be followed by a consideration of the soft ionization procedures which have made biological analysis possible. Specific applications to the identification of disease causing mutations in proteins and the analysis of complex peptide libraries in natural venoms will be illustrated.

     

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  • J.-M. Bismut, Dept. of Mathematics, Univ. Paris-Sud, Orsay
    http://www.math.u-psud.fr/~bismut/

    Jean-Michel Bismut is a Professor of Mathematics at the University Paris-Sud (Orsay), and a member of the Acadèmie des Sciences, of the Academia Europaea, and of the Deutsche Akademie Leopoldina.

    He received his 'Doctorat d'Etat' from Universitè Paris VI in 1973 for his work in the control of stochastic processes. His interests in probability theory led him to study refinements of the index theorem of Atiyah-Singer. He constructed eta forms and analytic torsion forms, which are local extensions of well-known spectral invariants, and established their functorial properties.

    He participated in the proof of a Riemann-Roch theorem in arithmetic geometry. He recently constructed an exotic Hodge theory, whose corresponding Laplacian is a hypoelliptic operator on the cotangent bundle of a Riemannian manifold. Recently, he used the hypoelliptic Laplacian to give a new approach to the Selberg trace formula.

    Jean-Michel Bismut was a plenary speaker at the International Congress of Mathematics in Berlin in 1998, and a vice-president of International Mathematical Union (I.M.U.) from 2002 to 2006.

    Path Integrals and Index Theory: a Postmodern View

    Path integrals appeared in the context of probability theory, in order to model random evolutions like Brownian motion. They were given mathematical status in work by Kolmogorov, Wiener, Lèvy, Itô. They are prominent in Einstein's work in statistical physics. Feynman path integrals gave a revolutionary impetus to their study by emphasizing their connection to quantum mechanics.

    Index theory is concerned with the evaluation of an integer, the index of an elliptic operator, in terms of characteristic classes associated with its principal symbol, which is the content of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem.

    Atiyah and Witten observed that the index of the Dirac operator acting on spinors could be expressed as a path integral on the loop space of a manifold, and they showed that the index formula could be obtained formally as a consequence of localisation formulas in equivariant cohomology.

    The talk will describe recent developments along these lines, which include the construction of hypoelliptic deformations of the Dirac operator and of Hodge theory, as well as a new point of view on Selberg's trace formula.

     

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  • Arup Bose, Theoretical Statistics and Mathematics Division, ISI, Kolkata
    http://www.isical.ac.in/~abose

    Arup Bose earned his B.Stat, M.Stat. and Ph.D. (Statistics) degrees from the Indian Statistical Institute and worked as an Assistant Professor at Purdue University during 1987--1990. He has been at the Indian Statistical Institute as an Associate Professor (1991--1995) and as a Full Professor since 1995. He currently holds a J. C. Bose Fellowship.

    He is a receipient of the S.S. Bhatnagar Prize, the National Award in Statistics and the Young Researcher Award of International Indian Statistical Association. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and all the three national academies of sciences in India.

    He is on the Editorial Boards of Statistics and Probability Letters, Indian Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, Ramanujan Mathematics Society Lecture Notes in Mathematics Series and IMS Collection of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. He served as Editor of Sankhya for several years.

    His research interest are in Mathematical Statistics, Probability, Econometrics and Economics. Topics in which he has significant contributions include Resampling Methods, Sequential Analysis, Law of Large Numbers and Central Limit Theorem, M Estimation, U Statistics, Time Series, Extreme Order Statistics, Large Dimensional Random Matrices, and Moral Hazard Problems in Economics.

    Large Dimensional Random Matrices

    After early use of random matrices by Wishart (1928) in mathematical statistics and by Wigner (1950) in nuclear physics, the seminal work by Wigner (1958) laid the foundation of the theory of random matrices and it has grown into a separate field now, with application in areas as diverse as multivariate statistics, operator algebra, number theory, signal processing and wireless communication.

    The behavior of the eigenvalues, in the bulk and at the edge of the spectrum, when the dimension of the random matrix is large, has received considerable attention. We provide an overview with special emphasis on patterned random matrices. In particular we introduce a new framework to deal with such class of matrices.

    Various extensions of the theme will also be discussed. Several new classes of limit distributions and many interesting questions that remain unanswered will be introduced. We shall also touch upon the behaviour of "extreme" eigenvalues, spacings between the ordered eigenvalues, and the spectral norm.

     

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  • Gautam R. Desiraju, Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, IISc, Bangalore
    http://sscu.iisc.ernet.in/prg/faculty/GRD/index.htm

    Prof. Gautam R. Desiraju is a structural chemist who works in the Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. Prior to this, he had been in the University of Hyderabad for 30 years. He has played a major role in the development and growth of the subject of crystal engineering. He is noted for gaining acceptance for the theme of weak hydrogen bonding among chemists and crystallographers. His books on crystal engineering (Elsevier, 1989) and the weak hydrogen bond in structural chemistry and biology (OUP, 1999) are particularly well known. Prof. Desiraju is one of the most highly cited Indian scientists with around 325 research papers, 14000 citations and an h-index of 51. He has won international awards such as the Alexander von Humboldt Forschungspreis and the TWAS award in Chemistry. He has guided the Ph. D. work of more than 30 students. Additionally, he has edited three multi-author books in solid state and supramolecular chemistry. He is a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board of Angewandte Chemie, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Crystallography and the Chair of the first Gordon Research Conference in Crystal Engineering, which will be held in 2010.

    The Hydrogen Bond - Interaction without Borders

    A hydrogen bond is an interaction wherein a hydrogen atom is attracted to two atoms, rather than just one, and acts like a bridge between them. The strength of this attraction increases with the increasing electronegativity of either of the constituents, and in the classical view, all hydrogen bonds are highly electrostatic and sometimes even partly covalent. Gradually, the concept of a hydrogen bond became more relaxed to include weaker interactions, provided some electrostatic character remained. A great variety of very strong, strong, moderately strong, weak and very weak hydrogen bonds are observed in practice. Weak hydrogen bonds are now invoked in several matters in structural chemistry and biology. While strong hydrogen bonds are easily covered by all existing definitions of the phenomenon, weak hydrogen bonds, and especially some very weak ones that we shall discuss, pose a challenge with regard to nomenclature and definitions.

     

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  • Rohini Godbole, Centre for High Energy Physics, IISc, Bangalore
    http://cts.iisc.ernet.in/rmgodbole/index.html

    Rohini Godbole is a Professor in the Centre for High Energy Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She finished her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and has been associated with TIFR as a Visiting Fellow as well as Adjunct Faculty. She has also been a Visiting Scientist at University of Dortmund, CERN (Geneva) and DESY (Hamburg).

    She has worked extensively on different aspects of particle phenomenology over the past three decades, authoring about 200 research publications so far. Her work has dealt with hadronic structure at high energy and has had implications for the design of next generation electron positron colliders, due to the possible large hadronic backgrounds that they can cause. She has suggested innovative ways to search for the top quark, Higgs bosons and other new particles and to explore physics beyond the standard model of particle physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the future International Linear Collider (ILC). She has co-authored a book on Sparticles, the supersymmetric partners of standard model particles.

    She is one of the few women who are Fellows of all the three science academies of India, and the Third World Academy of Sciences. She has also won the NASI Sheel Memorial Lecture Award, INSA Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Visiting Fellowship, INSA Satyendranath Bose Medal, Asiatic Soc. of Kolkata Meghnad Saha Memorial Gold Medal, IIT, Powai Distinguished Alumnus Award, IISc Rustom Choksi Award for Research, and DST J C Bose Fellowship. She is currently the Chair of the Indian Academy Panel for Women in Science and the Chief Editor of Pramana - Journal of Physics. She is on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SAC-C).

    She is active in issues related to women in science. She is the Chair of the Panel for Women in Science of the Indian Academy of Science, and a member of the Standing committee of the Govt. of India on Women in Science. She has co-edited a book 'Lilavati's Daughters: Women Scientists of India', containing (auto)biographical sketches of about 100 Indian women scientists.

    Standard Model and Beyond: Theoretical Devleopments and Experimental Probes

    In this talk I will sketch out the state of play in the subject of Theoretical Particle Physics. I will begin by focussing on the spectacular success of the Standard Model (SM) of Particle Physics, describing the fundamental constituents of matter and interactions among them. In spite of this success the SM has several shortcomings. I will discuss various possible extensions of the SM suggested by particle theorists -- the Beyond SM (BSM) physics -- such as Supersymmetry and Extra Dimensional theories, suggested to cure them.

    Each possible suggestion for the BSM physics has implications for the links that exist between the 'femto' (or lower) scale of particle physics and the phenomena on cosmological scales. This cosmic connection for issues such as the Dark Matter (DM) and the Baryon Asymmetry in the Universe (BAU), makes possible the exciting expectation that this physics will be simultaneously probed by the Cosmological, Astrophysical observations, and at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), arguably the greatest experimental adventure on the energy frontier. The heavy ion collisions at LHC are expected to produce Quark-Gluon Plasma, thereby recreating little bangs with conditions which our Universe had (about ten microseconds) after the Big Bang. This can thus possibly probe yet another instance of cosmic connection.

    After discussing this, I will end by pointing out how the information from the high energy and the Cosmic frontiers, combined with neutrino physics, may help us unravel the secrets at the heart of matter.

     

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  • Robert Griffin, Dept. of Chemistry, MIT
    http://web.mit.edu/chemistry/www/faculty/griffin.html

    http://web.mit.edu/fbml/cmr/griffin-group/index.html

    Prof. Robert G. Griffin received his B.S. degree (with Honors) in 1964 majoring in Chemistry at the University of Arkansas. He attended graduate school at Washington University (St. Louis, MO) where he worked with Prof. Samuel I. Weissman on EPR experiments directed at understanding the spectra and electron transfer processes of radical ions in solution. In 1970 after completing his Ph.D., he moved to MIT to perform postdoctoral work with Prof. John S. Waugh. At that time the field of high resolution NMR in solids was in its infancy, and he was involved in multiple pulse NMR experiments that reported the initial observation of chemical shift anisotropies in single crystals and powders. In 1972 Prof. Griffin accepted a position at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory (FBML) as a staff scientist, and rose through the ranks to become Director in 1992. He joined the faculty of the MIT Chemistry Dept. in 1988 where he teaches Physical Chemistry. In 2007 Professor Griffin received the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for outstanding contributions to magnetic resonance and the Gunther Laukien Prize of the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC). In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance (ISMAR), and in 2009 an honorary member of the NMR Society of India. In July 2010 he will receive the ISMAR Prize awarded triennially for his development of high frequency DNP experiments.

    Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in Liquids and Solids at High Magnetic Fields: Why Two Electrons Are Better Than One

    Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is probably the most versatile analytical technique available to chemistry and biochemistry because it is non-perturbing and offers site-specific atomic resolution available with few other approaches. It is very forgiving as to the physical state of the sample, being applicable to gases, solutions and to amorphous and crystalline and microcrystalline solids. In addition, for similar reasons NMR (or MRI) is widely used in many other areas of science ranging from basic nuclear physics to medical imaging.

    Despite its enormous versatility, the sensitivity of the NMR experiments is relatively low because it is based on observation of low energy spectroscopic transitions between nuclear Zeeman levels. As a consequence, there are continuing efforts to develop new NMR methods and instrumentation that improve the signal-to-noise of the experiments. Some of the most successful of these involve experiments that move polarization from a highly polarized spin reservoir to a weakly polarized one, leading to an enhancement in the NMR signal intensities proportional to the ratio of the magnetic moments of the two spin species. It is now appreciated that the largest gains in signal intensities in these experiments can be achieved by transferring polarization from an electron spin(s) to a nuclear spin system. This is generally accomplished via microwave irradiation of the electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrum, an experiment known as dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) NMR. Since contemporary NMR experiments are performed at magnetic fields of ~5-23 T, the required microwave radiation falls into the frequency range 140-660 GHz, or the millimeter wave regime (λ≈0.45-2.1 mm).

    This presentation does the following: (1) provides an introduction to the basic physics of the DNP phenomena; (2) discusses the special instrumentation required for implementation of DNP/NMR experiments in high magnetic fields; (3) shows that carefully designed biradical polarizing agents can yield enhancements of ~250 and therefore reduce signal averaging times by ~62,500; and (4) demonstrates the application of the technique to address otherwise inaccessible biophysical problems -- the mechanism of light driven energy transduction in retinal proteins.

     

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  • Sourendu Gupta, Dept. of Theoretical Physics, TIFR, Mumbai
    http://theory.tifr.res.in/~sgupta/

    Sourendu Gupta received his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Bombay in 1988. After spending a few years in IMSc Chennai, University of Bielefeld, CERN and HLRZ Juelich, he joined TIFR as faculty in 1993. He works on hot and dense materials in and away from equilibrium, mainly made up of constituents which are strongly interacting.

    Extreme QCD

    Quantum field theories are the working language of physics. Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is one such theory which describes strongly interacting particles. Extreme QCD has emerged as a recognizable field of study within the last few years, as a result of strong interactions between experimental and theoretical physicists. It shares problems with well-established fields as diverse as high-energy, nuclear, astro, and condensed matter physics, and draws on techniques from even further afield. I will give an overview of this fast-evolving field.

     

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  • Malcolm Longair, Cavendish Laboratory, Univ. of Cambridge
    http://www.phy.cam.ac.uk/people/longairm.php

    Prof. malcolm Longair is the Emeritus Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy, the Director of Development, Cavendish Laboratory, and the Professorial Fellow of Clare Hall. He is the Commander of British Empire (CBE), Fellow of Royal Society (FRS) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE). He was appointed the ninth Astronomer Royal of Scotland in 1980, as well as the Regius Professor of Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, and the Director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. He was head of the Cavendish Laboratory from 1997 to 2005. Prof. Longair has served on and chaired many international committees, boards and panels, working with both NASA and the European Space Agency. He has received much recognition for his work over the years, including a CBE in the millennium honours list for his services to astronomy and cosmology. His main research interests are in high energy astrophysics and astrophysical cosmology. Over recent years, these have centred on the astrophysics of the most luminous extragalactic radio sources. Most recently, he has become involved in studies of the origins of cosmic magnetism and the capabilities of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in advancing these studies. He has chaired numerous committees for specific science projects, including the Planck and Euclid mission of ESA. He is currently working on the third edition of his text book High Energy Astrophysics.

    The Frontiers of Astrophysics and Astrophysical Cosmology

    Astrophysics and astrophysical cosmology are the science of origins: the origins of planets, stars, galaxies, the Universe and now life itself. The lecture will survey problems of fundamental physics which arise from the most recent observations in all these areas and review future facilities needed to address them. The basic problems to be tackled will include high energy astrophysics, including observational studies of the physics of matter in strong gravitational fields and relativistic astrophysics, astrophysical cosmology, including the study of the Dark Universe, and the revolution in the study of the formation of planetary systems. As part of that future agenda, the feasibility of carrying out studies of comparative planetology on Earth-like exoplanets will be addressed. The emphasis will be upon the case for the next generation of experimental and observational facilities to address these problems of fundamental physics.

     

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  • Sidney Nagel, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Chicago
    http://nagelgroup.uchicago.edu/Nagel-Group/LabHome.html

    Prof. Sidney Nagel is the Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Physics, The James Franck Institute and The Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago.

    He works in the field of soft and complex matter physics. Examples of topics of interest include the physics of granular material, jamming, glass transition phenomena, singularities in fluid flows, contact line deposition and memory and rejuvenation in glasses.

    He was awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University of Chicago, the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Oliver E. Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Physics Far from Equilibrium and the Perspectives Provided by Soft Matter

    What has been called ``soft condensed matter'' could be given many other names. The systems studied in this field of research are often composed of large particles with many internal degrees of freedom. This confers upon the composite many characteristic properties: they tend not only to be soft, but are also slow to relax, disordered, and dissipative. Although quantum effects are often unimportant, thermal effects and entropic interactions can be dominant. One of the most important features of such systems is that they can easily be driven far from equilibrium so that non-linear effects are important. Studying these systems brings us face-to-face with many aspects of physics about which we are currently most ignorant.

    Moreover, soft-matter systems provide the texture of the world around us. They are accessible to everyone. Yet seemingly innocent questions about our environment can raise deep scientific issues.

    In this lecture, I will first review some of the generic properties of ``soft-matter''. I will then focus on one important aspect of physics far from equilibrium where soft-matter systems offer unique perspectives and insights. I will stress the opportunity that this branch of physics has, not only for asking fundamental questions about the world around us, but also for creating a synthesis of the different views of non-equilibrium dynamics that appear throughout physics.

     

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  • T. Padmanabhan, Inter-Univ. Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune
    http://www.iucaa.ernet.in/~paddy

    Professor Thanu Padmanabhan, Distinguished Professor and Dean of Core Academic Programmes at IUCAA, Pune, is a renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist who has authored over 200 research papers and nine books including six graduate-level textbooks published by Cambridge University Press. In recent years, he has provided a thermodynamic persective of gravity, in which gravity arises as an emergent phenomenon. This approach, which has far reaching implications for quantum gravity, has won prizes four times (2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008) in the last seven years from the Gravity Research Foundation, USA including the First Award in 2008. An elected Fellow of all the three Academies of Science in India, he is currently the President of the Cosmology Commission of the International Astronomical Union and a Sackler Distinguished Astronomer of the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. He has won numerous awards including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (CSIR), The Millennium Medal (CSIR), G.D. Birla Award, Homi Bhabha Fellowship, J.C.Bose National Fellowship, INSA Vainu-Bappu Medal, Al-Khwarizmi International Award, Miegunah Fellowship of University of Melbourne and the Infosys Science Foundation prize for Physical Sciences. In recognition of his achievements, the President of India awarded him the medal of honour, Padma Shri, in 2007.

    Matters of Gravity

    Combining the principles of general relativity and quantum theory still remains as elusive as ever. Recent work, that concentrated on the points of conflict and contact between quantum theory and general relativity, suggests a new perspective on gravity. It appears that the field equations of gravity in a wide class of theories - including, but not limited to, standard Einstein's theory - can be given a purely thermodynamic interpretation. In this approach gravity appears as an emergent phenomenon, like e.g., gas or fluid dynamics. I will describe the necessary background, key results, their implications and possible future directions of research suggested by the recent progess in this area.

     

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  • H.C. Pradhan, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai
    H.C. Pradhan completed his B.Sc. (1965) and M.Sc. (1967), both from University of Bombay, and the doctorate in theoretical nuclear physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1971). After post doctoral fellowships at McMaster University and University of Wisconsin (Madison) he returned to India to pursue his liking for teaching. He taught physics at first at Ramnarain Ruia College and then at Western Regional Instrumentation Centre, both University of Bombay institutions (1974-1988).

    In 1988, he joined Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR. He was Dean of HBCSE Faculty from August 1999 to October 2008. Since October 2008, he has been the Centre Director of HBCSE.

    During the last two decades HBCSE has seen considerable growth both in quality and quantity. As a close associate of Dr. Arvind Kumar, Centre Director of HBCSE from 1994 to 2008, Pradhan has significantly contributed to HBCSE’s growth. He has played a leadership role practically in all activities of HBCSE: teacher development, networking with educational institutions, material development, science popularization, talent nurture including Olympiads and research.

    Dr. Pradhan’s research is in physics, mathematics and general science education. His current interests are students’ alternative conceptions in physics and mathematics, laboratory development in physics, students’ knowledge organization in science and capacity building of undergraduate physics students.

    An Endeavor in Science Education : Pursuits and Perspectives

    Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) is a National Centre of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) engaged in science and mathematics education at school and college levels. Promotion of equity (reaching broad sections of society) and excellence (recognizing and nurturing talent), as well as carrying out research in science, technology and mathematics education (STME) have been the major objectives of the Centre, and the pursuit of these has been unique in various ways.

    In the present talk we shall begin with how HBCSE came to be established and what its earlier projects were. We shall then trace the broadening of the horizon and expansion of scope of the activities over the years, leading to the institution as at present that is active in various practical aspects of education, as well as in first rate research in the field of science education. A brief description of HBCSE’s present specific activities, namely, Olympiads, the National Initiative in Undergraduate Science Project, Teacher Training, Material Development, Science Popularization and Research in STME will follow. Critical reflections on the status of these activities will be presented along with thoughts on what needs to be done to enhance their effectiveness. Some possible new initiatives supplementing the present ones and aimed at consolidation will be discussed.

     

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  • Alfio Quarteroni, Inst. of Analysis and Scientific Computing, EPFL, Lausanne
    http://iacs.epfl.ch/cmcs/AQ/public.htm

    Alfio Quarteroni has been Director of the Chair of Modelling and Scientific Computing at the EPFL, Lausanne (Switzerland), since 1998. He is also the Professor of Numerical Analysis at the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), and the Scientific Director of MOX, Politecnico di Milano. He is an author of 18 books and more than 200 papers published in international Scientific Journals and Conference Proceedings. He has been an invited speaker in more than 200 International Conferences and Academic Departments. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of 20 International Journals and Editor-in-Chief of two Book Series published by Springer.

    Prof. Quarteroni has been honoured with the NASA Group Achievement Award for pioneering work in Computational Fluid Dynamics, the membership of the Lombard Academy of Science, the Galileian Chair at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Laurea Honoris Causa in Naval Engineering at University of Trieste, Fellowship of the International Association of Computational Mechanics (IACM) and membership of the Italian Academy of Sciences.

    The Group of Alfio Quarteroni has carried out the mathematical simulation for the optimisation of performances of the Alinghi yacht, the winner of the past two editions (2003 and 2007) of the America's Cup.

    Mathematical Models, Computational Complexity, and Applications to Medicine, Sports and the Environment

    Mathematical models of multiphysics problem can be conveniently accommodated in the framework of domain splitting. In this context, domain decomposition methods and geometric multiscale methods allow for a substantial reduction of the numerical complexity. In this presentation I will introduce a general mathematical setting, then I will address several applications, to the field of cardiovascular modeling, that of traffic flow in metropolitan areas, and that of sports and competition.

     

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  • T.V. Ramakrishnan, Dept. of Physics, BHU, Varanasi
    http://www.physics.iisc.ernet.in/~tvrama/

    T. V. Ramakrishnan is a theoretical physicist whose interests are in the field of condensed matter. His work has enabled us to understand the freezing of a fluid to a crystalline solid, and the spatial localization of electrons in disordered media. He is associated with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He is recognized for his contributions to research in Physics through Fellowships of national and international academies, for example the Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore), the Royal Society,London and the Academie des Sciences, Paris. His present professional interests are in the areas of high temperature superconductivity and strongly correlated electronic systems.

    Many Electrons Strongly Avoiding Each Other: Making Sense of the Strange Goings On

    Specially in the last few decades, a number of families of metallic condensed matter systems with unusual electronic properties have been explored. They seem to be characterized by local repulsion being (much?) larger than the kinetic energy of electron motion. Some examples are cuprates exhibiting high temperature superconductivity and intermetallic compounds containing rare earths (heavy fermions). The question of the quantum many body dynamics of an Avogadro number of electrons avoiding each other is thus a fundamental one for making sense of the strange goings on in them. After a very brief introduction to this strangeness, I will describe a microscopic attempt which suggests a new paradigm for such strongly correlated electron liquids different from models of an independent particle gas or of a solid. I will also describe a phenomenological approach to superconductivity in the cuprates; the results of a theory inspired by this approach compare well with a wide range of experiments and suggest that it may be a fruitful direction to go.

     

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  • G. Ravindrakumar, Dept. of Nuclear and Atomic Physics, TIFR, Mumbai
    http://www.tifr.res.in/~uphill

    G. Ravindra Kumar obtained his Ph.D. in 1990 from IIT Kanpur. He has been at TIFR since 1992 and is presently a Professor in the Department of Nuclear and Atomic Physics. His areas of interest are experimental studies of high intensity laser pulse interaction with matter, creation and understanding of extreme states of matter and nonlinear optics. His work has a significant interdisciplinary flavour. Some of his recent contributions are (a) the unravelling of ultrashort, multi-megagauss magnetic pulses in dense, hot plasmas (b) design and demonstration of novel targets for near complete absorption of laser light plasmas- these have potential applications in laser fusion schemes (c) new methods to monitor relativistic electron transport in dense, hot matter and (d) measurement of turbulent structures in femtosecond, intense laser produced plasmas.

    He has received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award for Physical Sciences in 2003 and the B.M. Birla Prize for Physics in 2000 and a DAE-SRC Outstanding Research Investigator Award for 2006-2011. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy. He is a life member of the Indian Laser Association, the Indian Society of Atomic and Molecular Physics, the Plasma Science Society of India and a member of the Optical Society of America.

    High Energy Density Science with Laser Light

    Intense, ultrashort light pulses have revolutionized physics in the last two decades. They have not only provided a platform for testing models for matter that has been pushed to extreme conditions of high temperature coupled with high density, but have also thrown up new phenomena at regular intervals. Some of these include self-channeling of pulses through long lengths in plasmas, pair production and light induced nuclear physics (all at 1 eV of photon energy!)

    As intense laser-plasma interactions began to be explored, they led to synthesis of ideas from different traditional disciplines. Today, the study of these interactions and their spin-offs unifies practitioners of research areas ranging from astrophysics to accelerator physics and condensed matter physics to biology.

    This talk will introduce the subject and then focus on a couple of very basic issues: one dealing with how light couples to such plasmas and the second that deals with the consequence of such coupling, namely the production and behaviour of `hot' particles (ranging up to MeV). I will present some results of experiments at TIFR: creation of gigantic magnetic fields, the passage of relativistic particles through dense, hot matter and interesting consequences in terms of electron and ion acceleration, ultrafast hard x-ray emission, laser fusion, laboratory astrophysics etc.

     

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  • Sunita Sarawagi, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT, Mumbai
    http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~sunita

    Sunita Sarawagi researches in the fields of databases, data mining, and machine learning. Her current research interests are information integration, graphical and structured models, and probabilistic databases. She is Associate Professor at IIT Bombay. Prior to that she was a research staff member at IBM Almaden Research Center. She got her PhD in databases from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelors degree from IIT Kharagpur. She has several publications in databases and data mining and several patents. She serves on the board of directors of ACM SIGKDD and VLDB foundation. She was program chair for the ACM SIGKDD 2008 conference and has served as program committee member for SIGMOD, VLDB, SIGKDD, ICDE, and ICML conferences. She is on the Editorial Board of the ACM TODS, ACM TKDD, and FnT for machine learning journals.

    Statistical Machine Learning for Complex Predictions in Large-scale Scenarios

    The past decade has seen a major comeback of machine learning in diverse applications spanning web search, machine cognition, computational bio-informatics, commercial data analysis, and environment sensing. This has resulted in two major shifts. First is the shift from single prediction models like classification and regression to complex predictions like a vector of interacting labels and structured objects such as trees and alignments. The second shift is in the orders of magnitude blowup in the scale of data analyzed both in terms of the number of instances and the number of dimensions. This talk will review how recent advances in statistical machine learning are addressing these shifts.

     

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  • Shobhona Sharma, Dept. of Biological Sciences, TIFR, Mumbai
    http://www.tifr.res.in/~dbs/faculty/sslab/index.htm

    Shobhona Sharma completed her Ph.D. from TIFR and was a post-doctoral fellow at New York University Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center, USA. She joined TIFR as a Fellow in 1987 and is currently a Professor here. She is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, an advisory member of Malaria Foundation, New York, USA; a member of Scientific Advisory Committees of Lady Tata Memorial Trust, Mumbai, National Institute of Malaria Research, Delhi; MSU, Biochemistry, Vadodara and Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneshwar, India.

    She has obtained the award for excellence in Molecular Aspects of Vector Borne Diseases 1996, conferred by National Academy of Vector Borne Diseases; Pratima and Sucharu Chakrabarty Science Samman, 2003, presented by Governor West Bengal; Wisitex Foundation Award Vigyan Ratna in Science 2004-2005; Research Travel Award by Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, USA (2009).

    The major focus of the research of Prof. Sharma has been on the molecular biology and immunology of the malarial parasite. In the last few years, extensive collaborations with physicists, chemists, pharmacologists and clinicians have resulted in the following lines of research: a) Evaluation of susceptibility and acquired immunity to malaria; b) Properties of parasite infected red cells under fluid force fields; c) Glucose utilization and metabonomics using NMR; d) Nano-lipid carrier mediated drug delivery in malaria.

    Molecular Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases and Biomedicine

    Epidemiology is the study of distribution and determinants of diseases and injuries in human populations. Molecular epidemiology assesses the contribution of potential genetic and environmental risk factors identified at the molecular level, to the etiology, distribution and control of the disease in populations. In the context of infectious diseases, the molecular properties of the host, the disease pathogen and the physiological host-pathogen interactions add new dimensions to the complexities of the diseases. Tissue culture and animal models have allowed great insights into the biology of certain diseases. However, often there are no suitable models for certain disease pathogens. More important, often we find that human responses are very different. This enhances the importance of the molecular epidemiological studies in suitable human populations.

     

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  • V. Srinivas, School of Mathematics, TIFR, Mumbai
    Vasudevan Srinivas was born on 6th June, 1958 in Delhi. He earned the B.Sc. degree from Bangalore University in 1977, studying at St. Joseph's College, and earned MS (1978) and Ph.D. (1982) degrees from the University of Chicago, USA. His Ph.D. dissertation, in the area of algebraic geometry, was written under the guidance of Spencer Bloch. After a stint at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, he joined the TIFR, Mumbai as a Visiting Fellow in January, 1983. He was appointed as a Fellow at TIFR in August, 1983, and has been working there since then, currently as a Senior Professor.

    Srinivas has worked mainly in algebraic geometry. One of his abiding interests has been the study of algebraic cycles on singular algebraic varieties. Other themes in his work are on the interface with commutative algebra, for example, on projective modules, divisor class groups, unique factorization domains, and Hilbert functions and multiplicity. He has also worked on aspects of positive characteristic algebraic geometry. An important work of his, not on any of the above themes, is the solution of Zariski's problem (Riemann-Roch problem for surfaces), obtained together with Cutkosky. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, and of the INSA. He is a recepient of several awards, including the TWAS Mathematics Prize, and is an invited speaker at the forthcoming ICM at Hyderabad.

    The Bloch-Beilinson Conjectures

    The Bloch-Beilinson Conjectures are some of the deepest open questions in mathematics today, relating aspects of algebraic geometry, algebraic K-theory and number theory. The conjectures, on the one hand, have roots in classical results (Euler, Riemann, Dedekind, Hilbert, Artin, etc.) on special values and zeroes of zeta functions, in the period upto the early 20th century. In this realm is also the famous (as yet unsolved) Riemann hypothesis.

    Another source for the conjectures, somewhat more recent (going upto the mid 1970's), is work of Tate, Iwasawa, Lichtenbaum, Quillen and Borel, which first brought in the role of algebraic K-theory.

    The most recent inspiration, beginning with several key calculations of Bloch, relate these to algebraic geometry, and specifically algebraic cycles. Bloch's vision was articulated in a general, more precise form by Beilinson, around 1982, resulting in what we now call the Bloch-Beilinson Conjectures.

    Though there is some tantalising evidence supporting these conjectures, it is in some sense rather meagre, and has remained so after some 30 years of effort by the research community. Thus, these conjectures provide scope for much further research in the area, both in terms of finding further evidence in support of them (or possibly counterexamples, requiring them to be modified), and more importantly, of discovering some new paradigm which better ``explains'' them in more natural terms, leading to their possible general resolution.

    My lecture will attempt to give an introduction to this important circle of ideas.

     

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  • Leslie Valiant, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Univ.
    http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~valiant/

    Leslie Valiant was educated at King's College, Cambridge; Imperial College, London; and at Warwick University where he received his Ph.D. in computer science in 1974. He is currently T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1982. Before coming to Harvard he had taught at Carnegie-Mellon University, Leeds University, and the University of Edinburgh.

    His work has ranged over several areas of theoretical computer science, including complexity theory, computational learning, and parallel computation. In these areas he is particularly known for the notion of #P-completeness for classifying quantitative questions according to their computational difficulty, the PAC model of learning that defines what it means for a machine to learn, the bulk synchronous model of parallel computation, and the information routing method known as Valiant load-balancing. He also has active interests in computational neuroscience, evolution and the foundations of artificial intelligence.

    He received the Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1986, the Knuth Award in 1997, and the EATCS award in 2008. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).

    The Science of Machine Learning

    The question of how it is possible to generalize from experience has been a subject of philosophical speculation from antiquity. Through the efforts of computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians and engineers, computer programs now exist that can perform this task with useful effectiveness in a great variety of settings. In many important applications such as speech recognition, natural language processing, computer vision, robotics, fraud detection and spam detection, such machine learning solutions offer the most effective techniques known.

    This talk will take the perspective of computational learning theory, a field that has developed over the past quarter century to offer a fundamental basis for understanding such phenomena. This theory first offers definitions of what it means for a computational mechanism to learn effectively. Against this definition one can evaluate the success of particular algorithms and invent more effective ones. For some classes of functions one can prove that there exist algorithms for learning them. Equally importantly, for some other classes one can show evidence that suggests that learning them is computationally intractable.

    Finally we shall discuss how the framework of computational learning can be used to analyze adaptive phenomena that hitherto have not been identified as pure learning. We illustrate this using recent results on evolvability, a study of the classes of functions that can and cannot evolve on Darwinian principles.

     

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  • K. VijayRaghavan, National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, Bangalore
    http://www.ncbs.res.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=91&Itemid=9

    K. VijayRaghavan is a Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Bangalore, India. His research centers on the developmental neurobiology of animal movement and current interests lie in understanding the mechanisms underlying the formation of muscles, nerves and the development of locomotion in the fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster.

    VijayRaghavan's pre-doctoral studies were at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, from which he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002. He conducted doctoral work at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India and post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology, USA.

    Muscles, Nerves and the Development of Movement

    We have tried to understand how the components of the network of nerves, muscles and tendons are specified by the regulation of genes during development. We then go on to try to understand how these components are put together even before the animal is born, to allow it to move in a coordinated manner in the real world. The animal we use is the fruit fly, Drosophila. By manipulating the expression of genes at chosen times and cells during development we are beginning to understand how network function seen by the ability to crawl, walk and fly emerges.

     

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