news highlights

Interdisciplinary Initiative

New SISSA-ICTP institute unites physics and geometry for innovation

Interdisciplinary Initiative
Interdisciplinary Initiative

05/07/2018 - Trieste

ICTP and the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) will combine their strengths as international centres of physics and mathematics excellence to form a new institute dedicated to the two fields.

The Institute for Geometry and Physics (IGAP) will promote innovative and interdisciplinary research, highlighting the complementary and profound role that physics and mathematics contribute to each other. It will be based in Miramare, Trieste, in SISSA’s previous headquarters next to ICTP. The new structure strengthens the on-going collaboration between the two Institutes on these topics, boosting their strong capacity in mathematics and physics. It aims to create long-lasting training projects, with the ambition to become a reference point at the national and international level in the field.

“There is no development without a dialogue between physics and mathematics. Luckily, in Trieste this dialogue is already very active and the new Institute builds on this,” says SISSA Director Stefano Ruffo, adding, “It is a great opportunity in particular for students to meet scientists working in a difficult field which is constantly developing. The value of long-lasting programmes of seminars, workshops and informal interaction like the ones that will be offered here is well known worldwide.”

"We are excited about the potential advances in knowledge that will result from this interdisciplinary partnership between ICTP and SISSA. It will not only enrich our overall research agenda but also add to the prestige of Trieste as Italy's city of knowledge," says ICTP Director Fernando Quevedo. "Thanks to ICTP's extensive international research network, IGAP's influence will extend far beyond Italy, including to the developing countries that are at the core of ICTP's mission."

Embodying the interdisciplinary nature of IGAP will be the inaugural speaker at the 9 July ceremony, theoretical physicist and mathematician Cumrun Vafa, the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard University. Vafa sees the new institute as an important step in advancing our understanding of natural forces and laws. "Einstein found that geometry can explain the gravitational force. In the past 50 years we have seen how true and how important that relation is: geometry implies physics and physics implies structures and geometry. Physics and geometry together have proved to be an amazingly powerful tool in answering puzzles in physics on the one hand and shedding light, at the same time, to deep questions of mathematics," he explains.

The inauguration ceremony for IGAP will take place on Monday 9 July at ICTP's Budinich Lecture Hall, starting at 16:30. It will be livestreamed at