ICTS Public Lecture: The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Register for this ICTS public lecture by Robbert Dijkgraaf (Director of the Institute for Advanced Study)
entry is free !

*** The public lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on the theme " The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge "
Panelists would be -

Narayana Murthy, Manjul Bhargava, Jennifer Chayes, Vijay Raghavan, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Spenta Wadia and Rajesh Gopakumar.

This public event is brought to you by ICTS-TIFR, Institute for Advanced Study, Infosys Science Foundation and Christ University.

Title of the talk :-
" The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge "

Abstract :-
In his classic essay, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge,” Abraham Flexner, the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the man who helped bring Albert Einstein to the United States, describes a great paradox of scientific research. The search for answers to deep questions, motivated solely by curiosity and without concern for applications, often leads not only to the greatest scientific discoveries but also the most revolutionary technological breakthroughs. In short, no quantum mechanics, no computer chips. Robbert Dijkgraaf, the Institute’s current director, explains how Flexner’s defense of the value of “the unobstructed pursuit of useless knowledge” may be even more relevant today than it was in the early twentieth century. Dijkgraaf describes how basic research has led to major transformations in the past century and explains why it is an essential precondition of innovation and the first step in social and cultural change.

About the Speaker :-
Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leon Levy Professor since July 2012, is a mathematical physicist who has made significant contributions to string theory and the advancement of science education. His research focuses on the interface between mathematics and particle physics. In addition to finding surprising and deep connections between matrix models, topological string theory, and supersymmetric quantum field theory, Dijkgraaf has developed precise formulas for the counting of bound states that explain the entropy of certain black holes. For his contributions to science, Dijkgraaf was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, in 2003. He was named a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2012 and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Past President (2008–12) of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and past Co-Chair (2009–17) of the InterAcademy Council, Dijkgraaf is a distinguished public policy adviser and passionate advocate for science and the arts. Many of his activities––which have included frequent appearances on television, a monthly newspaper column in NRC Handelsblad, several books for general audiences, and the launch of the science education website Proefjes.nl are at the interface between science and society. In 2017, Princeton University Press published The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge in which Dijkgraaf and IAS founding Director Abraham Flexner articulate how essential basic research and original thinking are to innovation and societal progress, a belief that has informed the mission of the Institute for nearly ninety years.

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Christ University, Hosur Road, 560029
07 January , Sunday 16:00

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