Forty-one young scientists have completed an important step in their career paths: they have received ICTP's Postgraduate Diplomas after a year of intense study in various fields of physics and mathematics.
A ceremony marking the occasion took place at ICTP on Monday 28 August. Of the 41 graduates, six students were recognized as the top scholars in their sections, including the following:
- High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics: Raji Ashenafi Mamade
- Condensed Matter Physics: Ronald Santiago Cortes
- Earth System Physics: Deborah Osei-Tutu
- Mathematics: Fatemeh Zeinabadi, Rubio Gunawan The
- Quantitative Life Sciences: Adrielle Theresa Cusi
The goal of the Postgraduate Diploma Programme is to prepare talented students from disadvantaged countries for graduate studies. Twenty-two of this year's Diploma graduates have been accepted to doctoral programmes around the world, including in Europe and the United States. Seven other students will begin master's degrees.
"Every year the Diploma graduation ceremonies are quite special; it is really great to see the diversity we have at ICTP," noted ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar in his welcome remarks at the ceremony. "I am sure many of you have made life-long friends here, from totally different parts of the world. This spirit of ICTP is something that you will carry with you. I hope you will keep this commitment that is at the core of ICTP of having science for all, and to celebrate science as a common heritage of humankind."
In addressing the Diploma graduates, Diploma Programme coordinator Mikhail Kiselev echoed Dabholkar's sentiment, saying, "It was a difficult year for you: you studied hard, you learned a lot, you matured in your field of theoretical physics, but you also learned how to live in a multicultural society, how to respect different cultures and different opinions, and this is very important."
This year, for the first time, a special prize funded by and named for long-time friends and supporters of ICTP Qaisar and Monika Shafi was presented to one of the best students of the year. Deborah Osei-Tutu of Ghana, whose Diploma thesis focussed on earthquake dynamics, received the prize. She will pursue a master's and then a doctoral degree in Germany at the Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich. A profile of Prize winner Osei-Tutu is available here.
On accepting the award during the graduation ceremony, a beaming Osei-Tutu said, "I thank you so much for this opportunity. Thank you to Professors Qaisar and Monika Shafi, for your commitment and for this award; I am very grateful. I have not won this alone; I have won with my colleagues, and so I dedicate this award to the class of 2023 Diploma graduates."
At every year's Diploma graduation ceremony, graduates are invited to address the audience about their experience of the intense programme. Among the 2023 graduates who reflected on their time at ICTP was Nicola Aladrah of Syria, a Diploma student in High Energy Physics. "ICTP is not just a scientific institute, it is a family," he said, adding, "I understand now that effort is not merely an ingredient, but the very foundation of progress. Here I have also come to understand that science has no borders, no religions, no differences. By this I understand the true meaning of science, the true meaning of becoming a scientist. ICTP not only invested in the Diploma students individually, but also in developing our countries; we will carry the science we took here everywhere we will go."
A video recording of the Postgraduate Diploma graduation ceremony is available on ICTP's YouTube channel.