WHILE OTHER countries are cutting down research and development cost, UK is putting in large sums of money in this field. “In fact it is putting in the highest amount in the region. We have an enlightened government, perhaps,” said Dr Christopher Prior, Fellow and Head of Intense Beams Group at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford.
The Laboratory is world’s leading pulsed neutron and muon source. Dr Prior is in Indore to take part in the fourth Asian particle accelerator conference being held at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology.
In an informal talk with Hindustan Times, the mathematician, who teaches at Oxford, said that RAL supports an international community of around 1,600 scientists who use neutrons and muons for research in physics, chemistry, materials science, geology, engineering and biology. He said it was currently expanding to twice its size that would lead to new opportunities in soft condensed matter, bio-molecular sciences, advanced materials and nano-scale science.
But hasn’t mathematics failed to draw too many youths in last one decade and not many are interested in doing Ph D? “No, it’s a wrong perception. The students are coming in large numbers. Their number has been pretty constant, as mathematics is a subject of widest opportunities. You will find mathematicians in science, engineering, finance, industry,” he remarked.
However, he admitted that the number of mathematics branches for PhD students is limited in UK universities. “This is because of the (inadequate) funding. It’s the government (UK) policy. But then there is no denying that there are lots of new ideas coming in this field,” Prior added.
Of the ongoing Asian conference on accelerators, he said that such meetings provide interesting opportunities to meet people from different parts of the world. He said, “It opens up new ideas and provides fresh insights about so many things apart from science.”