Asian Science Camp 2016 (ASC) was held August 21–27 in Bengaluru, India. Delegates from 46 countries united to present and exchange ideas in science.
The Promotion for Academic Olympiad of Science—under the patronage of her majesty Princess Galyani (POSN), along with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Thailand—organized a Thai Science Camp in April of this year, partly as a mock camp in preparation for the real ASC.
This camp also ran for the purpose of choosing the ten delegates who would represent Thailand at ASC. I was one of the 10 candidates selected.
With a specialization in physics, Asian Science Camp offered me several opportunities, including the chance to meet and talk with Science Nobel laureates and Fields Medalists during in-session group discussions, out-of-session high-tea conversations, and even during plenary sessions. A couple of these famous scientists were Professor Johannes Bednorz, who conducted research in high-temperature superconductivity; Professor TakaakiKajita, who theorized the neutrino oscillations; and Dr. CNR Rao, who worked on solid-state molecular structure.
However, the most interesting and interactive discussion was not with any of the scientists, but rather it was with a mathematician. Even though my specialty is physics, this Fields Medalist taught me not only the contents of mathematical physics but also the process of research, the order of importance in each process, and even the philosophy of studying the field of science in the future. His name is Professor CédricVillani, a mathematician from the Henri Poincaré Institute of Mathematics in France.
Villani’s plenary session was mainly about his work on computation of the entropy of a thermodynamic system in microstate, from Boltzmann’s equation (S = kB 1n W). His other works concern Landau damping and plasma oscillations, which won him the Fields Medal in 2009. But the significance, in my opinion, is not his computation (as it is beyond my knowledge of mathematical computation), but I believe the main lesson I got from him was his conversation on research.
The question I asked was “What is the significance of your computation in the Boltzmann equation?” The answer was not what I or any of my friends expected.
Professor Villani, with his intense voice, responded “the answer to your question is that there is no significance in the computation itself.” To paraphrase the rest of his answer, Prof. Villani said that the fun was “not during the process of computation, but” he said with exclamation, “that the starting of it, or the initiation of what you are working on is what makes all this mess,” pointing toward the triple integral Landau damping equation, “exciting.”
Besides working with the Nobel laureates and a Fields Medalist, I participated in the poster contest. During the ASC, the 300 participants were grouped (randomly) with other international students. Each of these groups was required to come up with a scientific topic. Our topic was “the Universe’s life,” and, to include other viewpoints in cultures around the world, “the Universe’s life that ties in with world religions.”
The tie-in I found was that the theory of the fate of the universe is actually inherent in each religion. For example, according to the Bible, the concept of Armageddon— where the world ends in fire—runs parallel to the theory of the “big crunch,” which proposes that when the universe is 10,000,000,000,000,000 years old, temperatures will increase and everything—stars, the Earth, humans, and very atoms—will fuse back together into a blistering temperature, ultimately turning into a singularity.
Credits:- Article: Natt (Bill) TowiwatRuamrudee International School
RIS is a pre-school through grade 12 private, not for profit school located in Bangkok, Thailand. Founded by Redemptorist Fathers 60 years ago, RIS fosters a “Union of Hearts” in which the spirit of family love and caring is emphasized, while students from all religious denominations are welcomed into its multi-faith community.