BENGALURU: Eminent theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Kip Stephen Thorne on Wednesday said there is no doubt within the scientific community about the harmful effects of climate change. However, there is a section of leaders who choose to deny climate change for ideological reasons, he added.
He was speaking at a function during the Infosys Science Foundation awards which were given to six eminent Indian contributors to the fields of science and humanities. Thorne spoke out strongly against leaders like US President Donald Trump and said it is the duty of scientists to educate the public about the power of science.
“There are very few people like Trump who don’t know the difference between truth and untruth. They live in a different world. We will get through this and I think the world will look back on this as a very strange era having that kind of a leader,” he said.
Addressing the awardees, Thorne said they shared a special responsibility to further the cause of science as they would be in the public eye. Thorne received the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C Barish for their contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
Talking about the role of Indian scientists and the LIGO India project, Thorne said the gravitational wave observatory will play a huge role as researchers will be able to understand the complex processes that occurred at the beginning of the universe. He praised the non-partisan support that the LIGO project in the US had received from all political parties.
The awardees include two scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), neurobiologist Upinder Singh Bhalla and Yamuna Krishnan who worked at NCBS before joining the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago.
The jury for the awards were Prof Pradeep K Khosla (University of California, San Diego) for Engineering and Computer Science; Prof Amartya Sen (Harvard University) for Humanities; Dr Inder Verma (Salk Institute of Biological Sciences) for Life Sciences; Prof Srinivasa S R Varadhan (New York University) for Mathematical Sciences; Prof Shrinivas Kulkarni (California Institute of Technology) for Physical Sciences and Prof Kaushik Basu (Cornell University and former SVP, World Bank) for Social Sciences. The award carries a purse of `65 lakh.
Engineering and Computer Science
Prof Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata
Prof Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature, King’s College London
Prof Upinder Singh Bhalla, Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru
Prof Ritabrata Munshi, Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata
Prof Yamuna Krishnan, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago
Prof Lawrence Liang, Professor, School of Law, Governance and Citizenship, Ambedkar University, Delhi