Former president of India visits Fermilab

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone gives an overview of the laboratory’s research activities to His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, and Mrs. Mukta Dutta Tomar, Consul General of India, Chicago, (middle left and right) on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall, along with Fermilab physicist Shekhar Mishra and Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Today’s scientists have an urgent mission to make the world a safe, sustainable, peaceful and prosperous place for all— this is the charge that His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, put forth in his lecture at Fermilab on April 25.

Dr. Kalam, who was accompanied by Mrs. Tomar, Consul General of India, Chicago, received an overview of the laboratory from Fermilab Director Pier Oddone that highlighted Fermilab-India collaborations and the development of superconducting radio-frequency technology for applications in Project X.

Dr. Kalam spent the day with senior Fermilab management and key members of scientific staff. He also met with more than two dozen Indian scientists. The ensuing tour of the laboratory consisted of a visit to the LHC Remote Operations Center at Fermilab, the SRF Test Facility and a trip 330 feet underground to the MINOS and MINERvA detectors.

In his talk, titled “World Knowledge Platform: Synergizing Core Competencies of Multiple Nations,” Dr. Kalam praised Fermilab for its efforts toward potential new discoveries through the proposed Project X and collaborations with scientists in India.

Dr. Kalam highlighted several ways that modern-day technologies make it possible to learn from the past, to improve the present quality of life and to pave the way for future societal improvements.

The challenges our society is confronted with today require the best minds from many parts of the world to come together and engage in multi-disciplinary and multi-national collaborations, he explained.

“Humanity is devoting more and more attention to climate change, energy, water, disease, economic turbulence and terrorism, which are all of concern to the entire world and the solutions for which are beyond any individual nations or group of nations,” Dr. Kalam said. “So friends, in all areas of technology development, which will bring benefit to the society at large, we need to think globally and act locally.”

To close, Dr. Kalam led the audience in the recitation of an Indian spiritual hymn, entitled “Righteousness.

His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam, former president of India, tours Fermilab’s Superconducting Radio-Frequency Test Facility during his visit on Monday. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Christine Herman