Nobel Laureate in UNIMAS!

November 18, 2008

Nobel Laureate in UNIMAS!

This afternoon was an exciting one. We had a Nobel laureate here in UNIMAS!

This is actually an event under the "BRIDGES- Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace" series facilitated by the International Peace Foundation. It invites people from Thailand and Malaysia to participate events with the Nobel Laureates starting from Nov 2008 until April 2009. There will be a series of keynote speech and dialogues held in high schools and higher institutions, with researchers, students and academicians from both countries.

Professor Gerardus ’t Hooft is a 1999 Nobel Laureate for Physics who is regarded as one of the most influential particle theorists in history, playing a leading role in the renaissance of high-energy physics in the late 20th century.

Since it is really an exciting event to have a nobel laureate in our campus giving speech, the venue was already quite full when we arrived 5 mins before 1.30pm. And not too long after, the hall was overwhelmed with audience that some of us students had to give seats to the staffs and sat on the staircases instead.

Professor 't Hooft giving speech entitled 'Education and Collaboration in Fundamental Science as Bridges between Nations'.

And the dialogue session after the talk was really an enjoyable one. Questions were asked from the audience from various perspectives, eg. language, balance between fundamental science and applied science, time management, whether or not god shares anything in common with human (human and planets are all made of particles) etc. Although I couldn't really follow him most of the time (due to the ascent in the English he speaks. He's a Dutch), I do get inspired by his answers (from those that i could understood).

When answering one of the questions on how to become a Nobel laureate, he said it is not aiming for the prize itself but really it is about answering those little little questions. Don't go for big questions as they are difficult. And it is not about winning the Nobel prize that makes a scientist happy, but it is rather the excitement of discovering something for the first time, being the first to be able to answer the question or understand something that makes scientist thrilled.

I realised it is a question of how passionate and obsessed you are in doing science, and these are the reasons that won him a Nobel prize (although it isn't his initial intention).