Maharashtra’s son Atish Dabholkar appointed Director of Italy-based ICTP

Atish is a theoretical physicist of international repute

Nagpur: In a development that would make Maharashtrians proud, Atish Dabholkar, a theoretical physicist, has been appointed as Director of Italy-based International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). The 56-year old Atishkar is currently the head of ICTP’s High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics section and will take up his new assignment in November 2019.

Atish is nephew of social activist and rationalist late Dr Narendra Dabholkarwho founded Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) for eradication of superstitions in State. Atish hailed from Satara but spent his childhood in Gargoti village in Kolhapur district. The theoretical physicist is researcher of international repute and is well-known for his research on subjects like ‘String Theory,’ ‘Black Holes,’ and ‘Quantum Gravity’ including investigations that build on ICTP founder Abdus Salam’s Nobel-winning work on electroweak unification.

“It’s a great honour and responsibility to be chosen as ICTP’s next director,” says Dabholkar. “ICTP is a dynamic organization with a very high level of research and a unique global mission for international cooperation through science. It was envisioned as an international hub for excellence in science and as an anchor for building scientific capacity and a culture of science around the globe. This vision remains valid today, more than 50 years since its founding, but requires flexibility to meet changing realities and priorities.”

Born in 1963, Atish is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, one of India’s premier educational institutes. He earned a PhD in theoretical physics from Princeton University, followed by postdoctoral and research positions at Rutgers University, Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology.

Until 2010, he was a professor of theoretical physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University and a Visiting Scientist at CERN. He joined ICTP in 2014 on secondment from Sorbonne Université and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), where he has been a research director since 2007. He has received many honours, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (2006), the most prestigious national science prize awarded by the Prime Minister, for his “outstanding contributions for establishing how quantum theory modifies the entropy of black holes and his pioneering studies of supersymmetric solitons in string theory”.

When Dr Stephen Hawking came to meet Atish:
Impressed very much by the work of Atish Dabholkar, the world renowned scientist Dr Stephen Hawking, on wheel chair, came to meet the Indian theoretical physicist at his office in California. It was due to efforts of Atish, Dr Hawking graced the ‘String’ held in Mumbai in 2001. He had also delivered a lecture at Sion-based Shanmukhanand Hall.