Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sultans of string

Arun has pointed out an interesting article about the string theorists at the Tata Institute in India:

The article says a lot of interesting things about the interaction between the Indian culture and theoretical physics, and about many heroes of string theory from India and friends of ours.

Indian string theory has the best outcome per dollar in the world ;-) which is one of the arguments by Andy Strominger that have - during a dinner in the Society of Fellows that I attended - convinced Lawrence Summers, the famous president of Harvard University, to find some extra funding for our Indian colleagues.

Lawrence Summers asked how much money could improve their life by a significant amount, and Andy Strominger answered $100,000.

The rest has been trivial for Summers. He contacted his rich friend, philantropist Jeffrey Epstein, whose secretary called Andy Strominger and asked him where the $100,000 cheque should be sent. I assure all my readers that if a woman or a man writes a comment below this article suggesting that Lawrence Summers has nothing to do with this gift to Indian string theory, then she or he will be completely wrong. ;-) I will appreciate if she or he will stand corrected.


  1. Hi Lubos,

    Lawrence Summers had nothing to do with it this time. Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire based in New York, was responsible for the $100,000 gift to the string theorists at TIFR. The money is being managed by the Physics Department of Harvard University as a "TIFR String Theory Travel Fund", perhaps because Andrew Strominger facilitated the gift.


  2. Hi Lubos x2,

    I'm not sure what I think of modifying a post to re-fit the facts in response to a comment. Better than having to delete it, I suppose.

    Anyway I stand corrected.


  3. By what I see, Lubos _ought_ to be provoked to do still more pruning of posts.

    This because of some posters' stuttering (or "Parkinsonian")
    style of posting.


  4. Thanks! I've erased comments that have been posted multiply times - which is locally called flooding. ;-)

    These comments said, in my words, that this blog is the most efficient one in removing low-quality and unconstructive comments.

  5. I didn't mean to post multiple times. There was an error in the blog CGI or something when I posted.

  6. I'm sorry it sounded like I was making an unconstructive comment, but it wasn't my fault I accidentally posted thrice. I guess if the blog was actually working properly when I posted, you would have taken me more seriously.

  7. India has large number of faculty
    members working on loop quantum gravity
    such as Madhav Vardarajan, Amit Ghosh, Joseph Samuel, Ghanshyam Date and some more and almost all of them have been postdocs under Ashtekar (also of Indian origin) or