STAFF REPORT IBD: Collaboration among scientists and experts is very important for the development of human societies and creating harmony in the world; scientists work not only for the satisfaction of their curiosity to understand the universe, but they also want to search new principles and invent new technology for the benefit of mankind.

Renowned speakers from the science community, during the recently held five-day First International College on Plasma Physics highlighted the significance of the science subjects and their application in the welfare of the society.

The aim of this college, participated by over 15 foreigners and 100 local researchers, is to promote research and collaborations among the developing countries with a special focus on the region.

Plasma – a collection of charged particles – is a state of matter that makes up most of the Universe. One of the areas of plasma research is to use its magnetic field to create the environment needed for a fusion reaction to take place. Plasma physics research is important because it might allow scientists to control thermonuclear fusion reactions for power generation.

The college was conducted in collaboration with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics at the National Centre for Physics (NCP), QAU Campus, Islamabad, where Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad (NI, HI, SI) was the chief guest of the ceremony.

“This is the first regional activity of ICTP organised in Pakistan. During the past few years, the NCP has emerged as an active research centre of the country and it is facilitating many researchers and students of different universities and institutes who are carrying out their research work at the Centre.

He said the ICTP has started arranging scientific and academic activities in developing countries and with this additional programme, ICTP is playing a very important role in the promotion of science and technology throughout the world.

In his inaugural speech, Director General NCP Dr. Hamid Saleem said that holding this international college is part of the attempts to provide young Pakistani researchers with a broader scientific exposure. “Had the college been held abroad, only a few Pakistanis would have been able to participate,” he remarked.

Dr. S. M. Mahajan from USA, who is also the director of this activity, showed satisfaction with the scientific culture developing at the NCP. He paid rich tribute to Prof. Abdus Salam saying Dr. Salam is really an inspiration for the scientists and researchers of developing countries.

Scientists from various countries including the USA, Japan, China, Belgium, Italy, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Russia, Thailand, Uganda, Nigeria, Nepal, Indonesia, Egypt and Jordan participated in this activity.

“Public commitment and resources are absolutely essential for the promotion of a scientific culture in any society,” said Dr. Mahajan in his remarks.

He called for having more of such centres and institutions, and they must positively compete and cooperation with each other.

“Building science institutions is something the state and scientists will have to do, one cannot expect the private sector to invest in an initiative that might only deliver in the long-term,” he said adding different institutions need to cooperate and build a network of sorts for which, eventually, public resources will need to be utilised.

The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) had started using an indigenously developed small “tokomak” fusion reactor in 2008 to study nuclear fusion power through plasma while the NCP also has a research department dedicated to the field.

Foreign participants also seemed amazed by the number of women scientists who attended the conference.

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