ST. STEPHEN’S CENTRE FOR THEORETICAL PHYSICS
One of the most significant developments during the year under review is the establishment of the St. Stephen’s Centre for Theoretical Physics by two outstanding members of the Physics Department: Dr. Vikram Vyas and Dr. Abhinav Gupta in January 2014.
One of the serious lacunae of the undergraduate science education in India is the artificial divide between teaching and research. This accounts for the paucity of the original ideas in the sciences emerging from India and in the increasing reluctance on the part of young Indian scientist to take undergraduate teaching as a career. The objective behind starting the St. Stephen’s Centre for Theoretical Physics (SSCTP) is to try and remedy this situation by creating a framework that facilitates collaborative research involving the students and the faculty members.
Monthly Research Seminars:
- February 2014: A New Identity for the Dynamics of Gravity by Madhavan Varadarajan, Raman Research Institute, Bangalore.
The Centre inaugurated its monthly research seminar with two talks by Madhavan Varadarajan. His talks were focused on one of the central problems in theoretical physics: how to reconcile Einstein’s theory of gravity, which is a theory of space and time, with the rules of quantum mechanics. Madhavan described his ongoing research on reformulating Einstein’s theory of gravity in a manner which is more amenable to the usual rules of quantum mechanics.
- March 2014: Black Holes, Thermodynamics, and the Information Paradox in the AdS/CFT Correspondence by Suvrat Raju, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore.
Continuing with the theme of quantum mechanics and gravity, Suvrat Raju, a former student of the college, gave a talk which brought out the great tension that exists between the Einstein’s description of the gravity as a theory of space-time and quantum mechanics. He described how the study of black holes is revealing that the union between quantum mechanics and gravity would require a fundamental reformulation of our ideas of space, time and locality.