“the universe … is written in mathematical language, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures…”
With these words Galileo in 1623 broke with the scholastic tradition and advanced the idea that mathematics is a fundamental tool for the natural investigation. For Galileo mathematics meant geometry – infinitesimal calculus would be invented only later by Leibniz and Newton.
Geometry boldly re-entered the theoretical physics scene in the 1980s, with the so-called “first superstring revolution”, and since then it has played a central role in it. This led to an incredible synergy between geometry and theoretical physics, where the usual perspective is somehow inverted: on the one hand, geometry yields new mathematical tools for the investigation of the physical world, but on the other hand physics suggests innovative and powerful mathematical ideas, that often lead to the solution of problems that were quite intractable with the classical techniques.
The Institute for Geometry and Physics (IGAP), a new joint venture between SISSA and ICTP, will be a new actor in this scientific and cultural landscape, and aims at becoming a meeting point between mathematicians and physicists, a hub devoted to the exchange of ideas, techniques and experiences, and the training of young researchers interested in this fascinating research area. Using the quarters in the old SISSA building in Miramare, the Institute will organize meetings of interdisciplinary and fundamental nature, and will be a reference point for PhD students, postdocs and senior visitors, also hosting an intense programme of talks and lectures. The Institute’s keywords will be interdisciplinarity, excellence, internationalization.