WELCOME ADDRESS: ICTS at TEN INAUGURATION
Good morning. ICTS is TEN and it is so good to see you all here. Welcome. I am glad that all of you could come from near and afar to our birthday party. Of course, as scientists, our idea of a party is to binge on ideas - and that is what the next three days promises to be. A feast laid out, of some of the most meaty scientific questions of our times. There certainly will be a lot to chew upon.
Coincidently, my son was also born in 2007, like ICTS - which is how I am well qualified to organise birthday parties. The first decade of any institution, like that of a child, is a very unique period. It is a time of free ranging exploration and play. The child thinks - “Let's try to roll down the stairs - should be fun”. It is a time of discovery and learning - “Ouch! That hurt!” - the child realises (when you actually roll down the stairs). It is a time of plasticity- when one can shape oneself in a unique way. It is a time of promise - the grown ups around you say - “Maybe this little one will do something amazing someday.” It is a magical period. And at ICTS we are still basking in the lushness of that feeling.
But the challenge, as for any child stepping into adolescence and youth, is to retain enough of, what Hermann Hesse called “the magic that dwells in all beginnings” As we all know, habits tend to solidify, preconceptions shroud the mind. The world impinges more and more on you, nudging you towards a gritty realism. You are left more and more on your own to chart your own path amidst all the perils and pangs. Self doubt creeps in - “Can one deliver on all that initial promise?”.
“Yes, we can! ”. “We shall overcome” or as we say in India “Hum honge kamyaab”. I say this because I feel a strong current of goodwill and support for ICTS and its three pronged mission - of research, programs and outreach. The fact that so many of you are here today reflects that. In the Indian scientific community, ICTS is increasingly seen as a national resource of collective value - by and for scientists. And around the world, I have felt the strong desire to see ICTS succeed. Nowhere is this feeling stronger and more manifest than in the commitment and involvement of our by International Advisory Board, chaired my Guru, in so many ways - David. I am also thankful that a large number of our board members are here for this occasion. And then there is Spenta, the proud and nurturing Father, so to say, - very much with us to see us through the thickets. Avinash, The rock-solid uncle, continues to lend his steady hand to the steering. In fact, the whole ICTS family is very much a family - pulling together for a cause (as you will no doubt see in the next few days) as well as supporting each other.
ICTS is also a part of the extended TIFR family, which in turn is a part of the DAE establishment. I am happy to read out a message from Prof. Sandip Trivedi, Director TIFR- who is unfortunately in the antipodes and could not be here in person.
[Sandip Trivedi’s message]
Dr. Sekhar Basu, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, DAE sends his message which I read out
[Dr. Basu’s message]
I feel fortunate that we are in these circumstances with so much support and hence my confidence - ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab”