BENGALURU: “The most important qualities to be a good scientist are curiosity, passion and perseverance,” said Nobel Laureate David Gross, at a talk titled ‘My Life in Physics: From Quarks to strings’ held at Christ University, Bengaluru on Saturday, January 14, 2017.
The talk was organized by the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), Bengaluru in association with Christ University as a part of its ‘Kaapi With Kuriosity’ series.
David Gross, Chancellor’s Chair Professor of Theoretical Physics and former director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer for their discovery of asymptotic freedom.
Gross said that he decided to become a theoretical physicist at age of thirteen after reading popular science books and the three books that had a profound effect on him were: One Two Three…Infinity by George Gamow, The Evolution of Physics by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld and The Expanding Universe by Sir Arthur Eddington.
During the talk, Gross touched upon the developments in high energy physics over the last five decades.
He spoke about the beginning of experimental particle physics with Ernst Rutherford’s discovery of the nucleus in 1911, discovery of positrons in the 1930’s, discovery of various elementary particles in the 60s, the theory of the weak nuclear force and theory electromagnetism in the mid 70s (which formed the basis of standard model of elementary particles), Quantum chromo dynamics etc.
He also spoke at length about quarks (elementary particles and a fundamental constituent of matter) and their properties.
He also mentioned how ‘String Theory’ began with the understanding of the interaction between quarks.
Having been around for almost 50 years, String theory is continuously developing and growing, but is far from having a theory or a small class of theories that can be tested, commented the physicist.
When asked about the lack of significant contributions from the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in the past few years he replied that, “The INO was a wonderful chance for India to build a world class neutrino observatory and beat the world in measuring the properties of neutrinos. And science is a very competitive field and if you let politics and bureaucracy stop you in your tracks, someone else will do it first.”