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A Home for Global Science

ICTP & local institutes welcome International Union of Pure and Applied Physics to Trieste

A Home for Global Science
A Home for Global Science

14/05/2021 - Trieste

ICTP's host city - Trieste - has been selected as the new home for the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), adding to the already significant presence of international research institutes in Italy's so-called "City of Science".

In announcing the news about the transfer of its secretariat from Singapore to Trieste, IUPAP also confirmed the appointment of ICTP scientist Sandro Scandolo as its Deputy Secretary General for Administrative Affairs. Scandolo is a condensed matter physicist and serves as ICTP's Acting Senior Coordinator (Research & Partnerships).

"This development confirms Trieste's role as a crossroads of world science, and rewards the strongly international outlook of local research activity," explains Scandolo, adding, “Our success is also due to teamwork involving all the local institutions active in the physical sciences: Trieste University, Elettra, and the local offices of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and the National Research Council (CNR). Thanks are also due, of course, to ICTP, the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), and FIT for its invaluable coordination work."

The transfer of the IUPAP administrative offices will be a gradual process completed by the end of 2021. At that point, Stefano Fantoni, President of the Trieste International Foundation (FIT), will take the post of Secretary General. Fantoni was the driving force behind the 2020 European Science Open Forum that took place in Trieste, and championed the move by IUPAP. FIT will act as the "conductor" of all the Union's activities and initiatives.

IUPAP was founded in Brussels in 1922 with 13 member nations and with the British Nobel Prize winner William Bragg as its first president. It currently has 60 member nations and is governed by a General Assembly that meets every three years; ICTP hosted the meeting in 1984. The organisation consists of 22 commissions and 15 working groups dedicated to various branches of physics; one commission in particular deals with the definitions and names of the units of measurement in physics.

The success of Trieste's application to host IUPAP was the result of hard work and cooperation between the scientific institutes that constitute the so-called "Trieste Science System", a network of high-level research institutions, such as the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) and the University of Trieste, together with ICTP, and was made possible with the support of the Trieste Comune and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

IUPAP promotes international collaboration in physics by organising and sponsoring international meetings, promoting the free movement of scientists, encouraging research and teaching, and promoting international agreements on the use of symbols and physical units.

Forthcoming IUPAP initiatives will include actions to combat gender inequality in physics and programmes to support the development of research infrastructures in emerging countries. In 2022, IUPAP will coordinate global celebrations for the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, promoted by UNESCO.

"We received many generous offers from across the world," said Professor Michel Spiro, current IUPAP president. “The offer from the Trieste International Foundation was in the end selected by the Executive Council and IUPAP is looking forward to benefit from the competency of the Foundation and further strengthen its links with the international physics community based in Trieste.”

Trieste has a long tradition in hosting world-renowned scientists, with physicists such as Daniele Amati and Giancarlo Ghirardi. The physics community in Trieste hopes that the presence of IUPAP will contribute to the city's atmosphere of international collaboration and renew its vitality in science more than ever.

"Many important personalities in physics have given a huge contribution to the flourishing of the Trieste Science System," said Scandolo during the press conference on Tuesday. "People like Abdus Salam and Paolo Budinich for example, who founded ICTP and many other excellence institutions, are among the main promoters of the international level of Trieste's research." Scandolo also stressed the relevance of the coordination of the network of local science institutions to reach this important result. "With the moving of the biggest and most important international organisation of physicists to Trieste, the city's science network will be now even more complete."