Published 22 February 2024 by Tanvir Islam Rajib

Physics Will Love You!

A report inspired by participating in the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting which was opened by Countess Bettina Bernadotte on 30 June 2019.

Lindau Alumnus 2019 Tanvir Islam Rajib is the very person to bridge two Lindau Physics Meetings: While participating in the most recent physics programme at Lake Constance, today he works on quantum physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University. This Organisation in turn will be the host of the International Day 2024 during the upcoming Lindau Meeting at the end of June. Here, he shares his journey into the universe of quantum science and his Lindau experiences.

Although I initially aspired to become an engineer, I faced a setback when I didn’t qualify for the university entrance exam. However, an opportunity arose at Jahangirnagar University (JU) in Bangladesh, where I was admitted to study Physics. Despite my initial reluctance and criticism from those around me, except for my supportive mother, I embraced this challenge. Attending the orientation program organized by the Department of Physics at JU proved to be transformative. During the program, a quote from the renowned plasma physicist, Professor A A Mamun, resonated with me: “If you love physics, physics will love you”. This statement sparked a newfound interest and determination within me.

Experiment in the Zheltikov Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing Lab
Experiment in the Zheltikov Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing Lab; Photo/Credit: Matvei Pochechuev

Subsequently, I consciously decided to pursue a career in physics and have since dedicated myself to preparing for a future as a researcher in this field. My mindset shifted from reluctance to embrace the opportunities presented, and the support of Professor A A Mamun, who later became my joint supervisor for my MS thesis, further solidified my commitment to this path.

The pivotal moment occurred in a quantum mechanics class where I was captivated by the profound and counterintuitive concepts that govern the behavior of particles at the quantum level. Every time quantum mechanics confused me, and this confusion led me to learn more about it. The interaction of an electron with other particle phenomena like the photoelectric effect, Compton effect, pair production, etc. makes me go in-depth and explore the atomic and subatomic world of possibility: Quantum Mechanics. The wave-particle duality and all those puzzling unsolved problems in physics just amplified my interest more and more.

Ultimately, my decision to become a physicist was fueled by a deep curiosity about the fundamental nature of reality, and my research topic emerged organically as I navigated the rich landscape of physics, drawn by the allure of unanswered questions and the promise of making meaningful contributions to our understanding of the world.

Currently, I am in the early stages of researching HOM interference. During my literature review, I came across a prominent scientist who authored an outstanding review article on this topic. We had the opportunity to meet at the 69th Lindau Meeting, exchanged greetings, and even shared souvenirs. Establishing this connection has paved the way for a potential collaboration in the near future.

The Transformative Experience of the Lindau Meeting

Science Walk with Brian D. Josephson (fifth from right), Nobel Prize in Physics for Josephson Effect, 1973. Me (fourth from left) and other young scientists at #LINO19
During Tanvir’s (fourth from left) Science Walk with Brian D. Josephson in occasion of #LINO19

Attending the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting was, besides that encounter, a life-changing experience that provided me with unique insights, invaluable knowledge, and a sense of inspiration that has left an indelible mark on my academic and personal journey. This prestigious event, which brings together Young Scientists and Nobel Laureates from various research fields of physics, offered me a platform to interact with some of the greatest minds in the world particularly, Steven Weinberg, Bill Phillips, Wolfgang Ketterle, David Gross, Theodor W. Hänsch, Sir Konstantin S. Novoselov, Brian P. Schmidt, David J. Wineland, Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, and Donna Strickland as well as fostered intellectual growth, networking opportunities, and personal development.

Tanvir taking a selfie with Nobel Laureate Bill Phillips
Selfie with William D. Phillips

Engaging in discussions, lectures, and informal conversations with Nobel Laureates gave me a deeper understanding of complex scientific concepts and cutting-edge research. Hearing directly from these luminaries allowed me to grasp the intricacies of their groundbreaking work, inspiring me to think critically and explore new dimensions in my research. This exposure to diverse fields and perspectives broadened my horizons and fostered interdisciplinary thinking, a skill crucial in addressing complex global challenges.

Connections That Blossom Into Collaborations

The Lindau Meeting is a nexus of scientific talent from around the world. Attending the event offered me unparalleled networking opportunities. I met fellow Young Scientists whose passion and dedication mirrored my own, creating connections that have since blossomed into collaborations and friendships across continents. Moreover, interactions with Nobel Laureates provided mentorship and guidance that have been instrumental in shaping my academic and professional path. These connections have not only enriched my knowledge but also opened doors to collaborative research projects and career opportunities.

Enrich Your Scientific Journey

Beyond the academic and professional benefits, the Lindau Meeting contributed significantly to my personal development. Engaging with Nobel Laureates who shared their scientific achievements, life experiences, and personal philosophies left a profound impact. Their humility, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the pursuit of knowledge served as a source of inspiration. They were learning from their failures and successes and instilled in me the importance of perseverance and the belief that transformative change is possible through dedication and continuous learning. The Lindau Meeting not only broadened my knowledge but also deepened my commitment to advancing science and its positive impact on society. It was a privilege to be part of this global community of scholars, and I am profoundly grateful for the enduring benefits it has bestowed upon me.

My advice to young scientists attending the 73rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Physics is to “Keep Your Curiosity Alive”. Embrace the opportunity to learn, network, and collaborate at Lindau; engage with Nobel Laureates and fellow scientists, ask questions, and be open to diverse perspectives to enrich your scientific journey.

Tanvir Islam Rajib

Tanvir Islam Rajib is a physicist engaged in PhD research at the Zheltikov Nonlinear Optics and Quantum Sensing Lab within the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, USA. He is focusing on exploring the applications of entangled photons through Hong-Ou-Mandel interference, with specific interests in quantum communication, quantum metrology, and quantum imaging. In 2019, he represented Bangladesh at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Physics.