Nobel laureates lobby for stalled India science project
New Delhi: A group of physicists, including two Nobel laureates, have appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to help overcome environmental objections against the planned Rs900 crore India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO), the country’s most ambitious basic science project, to be located deep under the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve at Masinagudi in Tamil Nadu.
Losing time: A neutrino detector being assembled at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. In a letter to the Prime Minister, physicists said further delays could hurt the project’s overall success. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Further delays could defeat the purpose of the project because similar projects elsewhere could undermine India’s effort, they said.
“Already plans are afoot both in USA and China for building huge underground neutrino labs. Time is running out and the competitive edge that INO had is slipping away. Any further significant delay will be very detrimental to the success of (the) whole project, and may indeed make the project moot," says the letter, viewed by Mint, and signed by 11 particle physicists from Japan, the US, Canada and Italy. They include Nobel laureates Sheldon L. Glashow of Boston University and Masatoshi Koshiba of the University of Tokyo, both of whom have discovered new properties of subatomic particles.