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ICTP Connections: Brazil

Documentary showcases ICTP partner institute in São Paulo

02/10/2020 - Trieste

The original idea of ICTP is to have regional centers where students, instead of having to go to Trieste, could have the same type of education in their own continent.During its more than 50-year history, ICTP has built strong connections with thousands of scientists, especially those in disadvantaged countries. In order to capture its far-reaching impact throughout the developing world, ICTP commissioned Trieste filmmaker Nicole Leghissa to make a documentary about these connections.

Leghissa spent two months in 2014 travelling around the world to explore how the lives of scientists have been positively impacted by ICTP, and how they in turn are using their experiences to build scientific capacity in their home countries. The resulting documentary, "From Theory to Reality", highlights the success stories of six scientists in six countries.

We are revisiting these stories because they are a reminder that ICTP's impact on scientific research in the developing world remains as relevant as ever.

Even during the uncertainty of the current global pandemic, ICTP is working hard to help scientists around the world to feel less isolated and go on with their research with access to free resources and online seminars. These ICTP success stories can inspire researchers and scientists and alleviate isolation during these difficult times.

We have created separate features for each of the six scientists who appear in the documentary. Here, we highlight the ICTP partner institute in Brazil, ICTP-SAIFR, and its Director Nathan Berkovits.

Nathan Berkovits CvThe ICTP South American Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-SAIFR) was founded in the wake of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Trieste in November 2010 by ICTP and the São Paulo State University (UNESP) directors. ICTP-SAIFR is a regional hub for local scientific development and a focal point of fundamental research in theoretical physics in South America. It plays a crucial role as a place where students and scientists from all over the continent can come together for activities, research and learning opportunities. It is active in cutting-edge research in physics and mathematics, and has a strong inclination for innovative and multidisciplinary research at the intersection of physics, mathematics and biology.

ICTP-SAIFR Director Nathan Berkovits has had a life-long connection and keeps a strong collaboration with ICTP, participating in summer and spring schools and workshops on String Theory. He has also organized several Latin-American String Schools in São Paulo in collaboration with ICTP.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, while both ICTP in Italy and ICTP-SAIFR in Brazil were closed, Berkovits organized a two-week Workshop on Fundamental Aspects of String Theory, including high level lectures by Ashoke Sen, entirely held online. All of the lectures are available here.