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     Volume 2 Issue 14| April 4, 2010|


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International Conference on Recent Advances in Physics

Rashat Rahman

The department of Physics, University of Dhaka (Physics DU) has recently organised a conference titled “International Conference on Recent Advances in Physics, 2010 (RAP-2010)”. The conference was inaugurated on 27 March and it continued till the 29th. About 12 foreign researchers from US, UK, Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and India joined this conference and contributed to it by presenting academic papers.

The students of this department are always enthusiastic about recent happenings in the international arena of physics. Sharing the thoughts with university faculties and renowned scientists is an effective step to get integrated with the global highway of knowledge. In order to facilitate the local researchers with such an opportunity, DU Physics department with collaboration of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh organised the prestigious event. A website was developed for this purpose where the interested local and international participants were invited to register. Later, all academics who showed interest in presenting papers in the conference were cordially invited to attend the Inauguration Ceremony at 9am on 27th March in the Senate Bhaban of DU. The MS students of the department were especially encouraged to join the ceremony and they registered for the program with great deal of interest. The rest of the students (Students of Bachelor of Science) also took part in the program eagerly.

The foreign invited speakers started to arrive in the city from 26 March. They were about 12 in number and all of them are eminent scientists in their respective fields. The delegates included Prof. Sutapa Chowdhury, Calcutta University, India, Dr. Taichi Hayashi, Kyoto University, Japan, Prof. Subhranshu Manna S N Bose Center for Basic Sciences Kolkata, India, Dr. Shailesh Narayan Sharma, National Physical Laboratory, Delhi, India, Prof. Akihiko Takada, Dept. of Molecular and Material Science, Kyushu University, Japan, Prof. Yoshiaki Takahashi, Dept. of Molecular and Materials Science, Kyushu University, Japan, Prof. Tooru Taniguchi , Dept. of Physics, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan, Prof Arghya Taraphder, Dept. of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, Prof. Adrian Wilson, Dept. of Physics, University of Warwick, UK, Prof. Eung Je Woo , Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Kyung Hae University, Korea. They were accommodated in the Senate Bhaban and the Center of Advanced Research.

Physics DU formed an organising committee that included almost all the faculty members. The Chair of Department of Physics, Professor Sultana Shafee acted as the president of the organising committee. Other executive members of the organising committee are Prof. AFM Yusuf Haider, Prof. Dr. Maqbulur Rahman, Prof. Muhammad Ibrahimm, Prof. Kazi Monwar Abedin, Dr. Khandker Saadat Hossain, Dr. Ishtiaque M. Syed, Dr. Tanvir Noor Baig, Dr. Mizanur Rahman, and Dr. Dalilur Rahman. The committee was assisted by 16 volunteers and they all were MS students of the department.

A souvenir was published on this auspicious occasion. In this international conference, The Daily Somokal, The Star Campus of Daily Star and RTV joined as media partners. The University of Dhaka, University Grants Commission of Bangladesh and Ministry of Science and ICT, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, sponsored the program.

The 1st day of the program at Senate Bhaban was presided over by the president of the committee Professor Sultana Shafee. Architect Yafesh Osman, honorable state minister, Ministry of Science and Technology and ICT, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh was present in the function as Chief Guest along with Special Guest Prof. AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice Chancellor of DU, and Prof. Harun-or-Rashid, the Pro-Vice Chancellor. The inauguration started with our national anthem and was followed by the “Welcome Address” and “Introduction of Foreign Invited Speakers”. There were a sizable number of participants present in the inaugural session. The registered participants were provided with a conference bag which contained a souvenir and a compilation of the abstracts of the papers.

In Laser Physics and Optics Session held on 28th March, two invited talks and a number of contributed papers were presented. In his invited talk, Dr. Nasim K. Rahman of European Institute of Advanced Studies discussed the possible connection between the Raman Effect and the electroweak theory. In his invited talk, Prof. AFMY Haider of the Department of Physics, DU, discussed the research being performed in Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and its various applications at the Nonlinear Optics and Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory of the Center of Exellence of DU. He also presented papers on quantitative determination of the elements of economic importance present in Bangladesh and use of laser Raman spectroscopy to study food adulteration. In the other contributed and poster papers, presented by Prof. AFMY Haider, Prof. K Monowar Abedin, Dr. MM Haque, Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman and others, plasma diagnostic methods, impurity detection in metals, analysis of Barapukuria coal, beach sands and coral in Bangladesh by LIBS, generation of FIR radiation, SERS, and lifetime measurements of excited Yb atoms were discussed.

In the Theoretical Physics session, Prof. S. S. Manna as an invited speaker gave a talk on explosive percolation. The explosive percolation theory was discovered only a couple of years ago through a seminal paper published in Science. This was followed by five contributed talk mainly on non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. Of the topic discussed are Multifractral and the scale-free network theory. Note that the complex network theory was introduced by Barabasi & Albert in 1999 and they are now regarded as the most cited scientists of the decade.

In atmospheric physics session, different phenomena related to weather were discussed and it was concluded that Bangladesh must develop its own model for prediction purposes. About climate change two different opinions were expressed in the talks. One speaker opined that the increase in global temperature will continue and the calamities associated with it will intensify. On the other hand, another scholar argued against it saying that factors like sun spots, climate cycles, glaciations periods etc. have to be taken into account before coming to the conclusion of continuous global warming.

In the Condensed Matter Physics sessions, there were six invited speakers out of which 4 were foreign and 2 were local. The foreign speakers gave talk on polymer physics - specially structure and visco-elastic properties of bloch-copolymers and structure and dynamics of ionic liquids, quantum many body physics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics. While the local invited speakers gave their talks on liquid metal and magnetic properties of nano-material. Besides, there were a number of contributory papers and posters on this subject area. During the conference the local researchers and graduate students exchanged their views and ideas with the foreign researchers. As a result there may be possibilities of collaboration among them. The researchers were very much impressed with the potential of our students and the quality of researches performed here in spite of the financial and technical shortcomings.

On 28 March night, a buffet dinner was arranged by the Department of Physics where invited guests, participants and MS students joined the dinner.

I was one of the volunteers and our duty was to look after everything so that the conference could go on well with all its solemnity. It was really a great experience to welcome such a huge number of interested young audiences who all came here to learn about different areas of physics as per their interests. They never refrained from asking questions to the speakers and probably this is how the younger generation finds their way through the magical world of physics.

We volunteers considered ourselves very lucky because we could share our views with the foreign scientists very easily. They had no hesitation in sharing their knowledge with us. In fact, I was so surprised that every foreign scientist knew about our independence day. They noticed me wearing a Bangladesh flag T-Shirt and immediately reacted that they knew why I wore it on 26 March. All of us realised that apart from passion for Physics, it was honesty, sincerity and diligence that made them eminent successful scientists. We really felt very grateful to them because they came here and made us believe that we can also do well in science, particularly in Physics. I am confident that if this kind of conference takes place regularly, the gap between the scientific endeavors in the developed countries and developing ones will surely be shortened.

The initiative that was taken by the Physics DU was highly appreciated by the intelligence community in Bangladesh. Students from Brac University, IUT, BUET, Khulna University and many other reputed universities came and joined the conference. Students found the poster session very interesting. We had an international participant who directly came from Tehran University. He presented his poster which was highly praised by the visitors. That was very encouraging to our students also.

The Physics DU is always proud to have had many distinguished physicists as its previous members among who were S N Bose and K S Krishnan. We know that our department can produce great scientists like them in future. Who knows, may be one day we will get our Physics Nobel Laureate, a graduate from Physics DU. Hopefully, we can utilise this opportunity given by our respected teachers. Thanks should be given to Professor Sultana Shafee because without her suggestions and guidance this conference could never be a success. The faculty members of Physics Department worked really hard. The second law of thermodynamics says that it is impossible to build a 100% efficient machine, but at the end of the conference I was left with no doubt that if we could convert the efforts given by the faculties of Physics DU into a working engine, it would have given 100% efficiency.

Sometimes it is difficult to resist conveying the quote given by Earnest Rutherford, "Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting." One may disagree with it but there is no denying that physics will continue to play a decisive role in the development of the human civilization. Therefore it is of great importance that we as a nation invest more in physics and other branches of physical science. We genuinely believe that initiatives like RAP will go a long a way in advancing the cause of research in Bangladesh.

(MS Student, Department of Physics, University of Dhaka)




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