Right before our independence day, a group of us make our way to IAS, NTU Singapore again for the historic event of the signing of the charter for ASEAN Federation of Physics Society (AFPS), which is followed by a workshop on Frontiers of Physics in collaboration with CERN (see here). How did I get involved in this? I guess it is coincidental, being a frequent visitor to IAS for many conferences and workshops. I was asked to bring along some young physicists. Thus I asked Chan Kar Tim and Nurisya Mohd Shah to come along since I hope they will continue the efforts when I retire. We also invited people from other groups; only one agreed but the person did not turn up in the end. Also invited Nurisya's husband, Faisal being editor and founder of Majalah Sains; it would have been good that the event to be covered by Majalah Sains (and it did here and here).
The official representative of Malaysia is the President of Institut Fizik Malaysia, Prof. Kurunathan Ratnavelu. The other Malaysian who came is Dr. Clarissa Ai Ling Lee, now attached to Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development in Sunway University. The three of us were there in the first meeting and this is the second meeting. The meeting began with some welcoming addresses (see programme here), followed by a briefing and discussions among the official representatives from ASEAN countries.
Over in the afternoon, there were presentations from each country. I was asked to present for Malaysia and I took note of the message that one ought to give suggestions of what could be the activities of the forthcoming AFPS. Thus my preparation was focused on suggestions, given that we have described the physics research ecosystem in Malaysia in the first meeting. Later, I found out that other representatives gave introduction to physics activities in their respective countries. So the presentation I gave was slightly different from the rest.
Much later in the afternoon, there was the historic signing of the AFPS charter by respective official representatives (pics below courtesy of Faisal).
Here is the group photo for the meeting:
At the end of the day, it is agreed that Prof. K.K. Phua will be temporarily be the president of AFPS until the proper elections and that IAS, NTU will be the secretariat for AFPS for the first three years. For more photos, see here.
The next day was the workshop where top-notch physicists from CERN and elsewhere gave presentations on current status of physics. I was very interested in what John Ellis had to say, since I followed his work in the mid-80s. He had a slide on what he thinks are the important seven problems in fundamental physics (alluding to 007). I noted that he did not have the problem of three generations of fermions and asked him about that. He replied that if he had to go beyond seven, he would list it down. Here are more pics courtesy of Faisal:
For more photos of the workshop, see here.
It was during this event that I learned about my other half's niece had a brain tumour. So on reaching home, we made it a point to visit her and my sister-in-law. She has undergone a brain surgery (with follow-up surgeries) but was informed they could not completely remove the tumour. She has also undergone radiotherapy and has not really recovered and is still on support system. May Allah gave her strength to recover and carry on with her life.