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His theory about success, and vice-versa

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SCIENCE SPEAKS: Nobel Laureate David Gross delivering a lecture as part of the inauguration of ICTS in Bangalore on Monday.
SCIENCE SPEAKS: Nobel Laureate David Gross delivering a lecture as part of the inauguration of ICTS in Bangalore on Monday.

Staff Reporter

Nobel Laureate says people have wrong notions about the role of theories

Bangalore: The ultimate product in physics is a successful theory. This is what Nobel Laureate David Gross tried to establish during his talk on “Role of Theory in Science” organised as part of the inauguration of International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) in Bangalore on Monday.

Pointing out that many people have wrong notion that “it is just a theory”, Prof. Gross said that theories play an important role in science, particularly physics. “Theories play vital role in quantifying and modelling observations and suggesting new observations; and experiments only strengthen the theories.”

“Ultimately it is the theorists who write the textbooks,” he said in a lighter vein.

Referring to the future of theories, Prof. Gross felt that Google could be a threat to the future of theories of science, quoting Google’s research director’s statement. The latter had expressed certain reservations saying “essentially all models (theories) are wrong but some are useful”.

Prof. Gross, who is the Director at Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, University of California, also found limited capabilities among people also a threat to the future of theories. He, however, felt that the institutes like the ICTS have a lot of work ahead.

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