VENUE: J.N. Tata Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Avi Wigderson

The "P versus NP" problem: Efficient computation and the limits of human knowledge

5:30 pm, 27 December

The “P vs. NP” problem is a central outstanding problem of computer science and mathematics. In this talk I will attempt to describe its technical, scientific and philosophical content, its status, and the implications of its two possible resolutions



David Gross

The Role of Theory in Science

5:30 pm, 28 December

On the occasion of the inauguration of the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, TIFR, I shall share some of my observations and conclusions as to the various roles of theory in science. Physics is the field of science where theory is most established and it is the most mature and powerful of the sciences. But theory, much of it derived from physics, is growing in importance in the neighboring fields of astronomy, chemistry and biology. Theory can both deepen our understanding of separate areas of science, as well as provide the intellectual glue of interdisciplinary research


Albert Libchaber

The Origin of Life: from Geophysics to Biology?

5:30 pm, 30 December

One of the deepest and most controversial questions of our time is that of the origin of life. In this public lecture a hypothesis is presented, according to which the temperature gradients existing in the earth - which led to plate tectonics and the formation of undersea thermal vents - also led to the evolution of life around these vents. Movies will be shown of experiments, in which all stages of this scenario are justified: how thermal gradients led to plate tectonics, to DNA amplification in thermal vents, to polymerisation of peptides at high pressure, and to the organization of bacteria. This mixture of physics, chemistry, and biology illustrates how life can originate without the intervention of the sun, driven only by geophysical thermal gradients.

Due to unforseen circumstances, the Public Lecture by Sir Michael Atiyah on 27 December, announced earlier, stands cancelled.