Speech at the Annual General Meeting of the American
Philosophical Society in celebration of the Franklin Tercentenary,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 27, 2006.
On this special occasion of the Tercentenary, I am
especially delighted to speak in honor of a polymath and an
American icon, Benjamin Franklin. Since his death in
1790, Franklin has been revered, memorialized, and made into an educational,
financial, and political icon. Through his collective work this
sage has climbed to the apex of human endeavor in the sciences, public
service, and statesmanship in international relations. Such great heights
for a man of wit and wisdom are reached by very few in the world, both
then and now...
The Future of Our World, 5th U. Thant
Distinguished Lecture, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan, April 15, 2003.
Over the last century, our world has experienced at times a "beautiful age" with promises of peace and prosperity, but then some imposing forces changed the entire landscape. History reminds us of recurrences, and the current state of the world is not so different that we may ask - what political and economic forces cause such disorder in a world seeking prosperity through globalization and revolutionary advances in technology? Here we will address the need for a rational world vision that must take into account developments in the population of the have-nots and dialogues of cultures. It is a vision of economic, political, religious, and cultural dimensions in world affairs. Only with such a vision can we shape a bright future for our world...
Light and Life,
Ninth Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Lecture, Rajiv Gandhi Institute
for Contemporary Studies, Bangalore, India, October 17, 2002.
Scientific research is the subject of this lecture, but I
wish to focus here on one of its pillars - the value of curiosity-driven research and its impact on our life, the life of
the "haves" and "have-nots". For this scientific endeavour,
I will demonstrate my point from the study of one phenomenon
that has occupied the thinking of humans
throughout history - it is the phenomenon of light. What
Science and Technology in the Twenty-First Century,
Academy of Sciences of Malaysia (ASM) Public Lecture, ASM, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 14,
Since the beginning of human civilization, science and technology has progressed in a
continuous process. Fire must have been an exciting new technology for the first humans
and to this day we are continuing research to fully answer the question, what is fire?
But the search for new knowledge is based on rational thinking, which is fundamental
for progress and for making new discoveries...
of Civilizations: Making History Through a New World Vision,
UNESCO Public Address, Paris, France, April 20, 2002.
The 2002 UNESCO conference, "Science et la quête du sens" in Paris,
was devoted to science and the quest for meaning; the English title,
"Science and the Spiritual Quest", emphasizes the spiritual dimension,
a realm beyond science. Similarly, this chapter, which is based on my
lecture given at the conference, is concerned with dimensions beyond
science - our human existence in civilizations and cultures that may or
may not be in a state of clash...
Time's Mysteries and Miracles: Consonance with Physical and Life Sciences,
Albert Einstein Public Lecture, IIT,
New Delhi, India, October 22, 2002.
Ever since the dawn of history, humans have been the benefactors of time's miracles,
but at the same time they have been baffled by time's mysteries. More than six
millennia ago, the philosophy and measurement of time occupied the minds of
scholars in the land of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and, even today we struggle with the
meaning of time. In this overview, I present some concepts and techniques developed
in the science and technology of time, and an exposé of some of the
miracles that are in harmony with physical and life sciences...