The B.M. Birla Science Centre, part of the Birla Group (a multinational conglomerate which is over 100 years old), has blossomed into India's foremost institution for the dissemination of science. Shortly after its inauguration in 1985 the Centre started a series of lectures by Nobel Laureates and other scientists of international renown, usually in Physics and Astronomy, sometimes in Life Sciences and Chemistry.
The present collection mostly consists of lectures on frontier topics in Physics and Astronomy. The transcript of each lecture is preceded by a short introduction to, and biography of, the Nobel Laureate/Scientist in question.
Introduction. Fifty Years of Cosmology. AstroParticle Physics. Science as an Adventure. The Early Universe. The Long-Term Future of Particle Accelerators. Energy and Evolution. The Wonders of Pulsars. Is the Future Given? Changes in our Description of Nature. Bubbles, Foams and other Fragile Objects. Beyond the Standard Model: Will it be the Theory of Everything? Living Joyfully with Complexity in Chemistry and Culture. A Confrontation with Infnity. The Creative and Unpredictable Interaction of Science and Technology. The Link Between Neutrino Masses and Proton Decay in Supersymmetric Unification. The Nature of Discovery in Physics. Symmetry in the Micro World ? A Conversation with Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner.
B.G. Sidharth got his B.Sc. (Mathematics Honors), M.Sc. and PhD from Calcutta University. After working for several years in Quantum Scattering, Dr. Sidharth's work entered on the fundamental problems facing Physics today. His 1997 papers, contrary to the ruling paradigm, predicted a dark energy driven accelerating Universe with a small cosmological constant. Remarkably, this was confirmed in 1998. His work deals with fuzzy spacetime and the unification of interactions and similar problems within this context. Besides a large number of research publications in international journals, Dr. Sidharth also authored and edited a number of books. In addition he has lectured widely in the United States, Canada, Europe and other places. B.G. Sidharth is the founder-director of the B.M. Birla Science Centre, Hyderabad, India, and its constituent, the International Institute for Applicable Mathematics and Information Sciences, Hyderabad, and Udine, Italy. He was associated with the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, for many years having been a Senior Associate. Dr. Sidharth is on the Editorial / Advisory boards of international journals, institutes and award committees. Last but not least he played host to many Nobel Laureates and other physicists of World importance.
From the reviews: "This work is a truly great collection of scientific accomplishments of the 20th century. These public lectures by internationally renowned scientists ... were given at the B. M. Birla Science Center in Hyderabad, India, between 1985 and 2000. The book is designed for the educated nonspecialist audience. ... Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and above." (F. Potter, Choice, Vol. 46 (3), November, 2008) "This book presents either a summary or the full text of 15 lectures given by distinguished scientists as a part of the B. M. Birla Memorial Lecture and Distinguished Lecture program. ! aimed at a general audience of non-specialist scientists and mostly deal with astronomy and astrophysics." (Fernande Grandjean and Gary J. Long, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 30 (4), 2008)