Calogero (Feza Gursey Inst. Adv. Board Member) – President Yetiş Correspondence

[12 Temmuz / July 12]

To the attention of Prof. Nuket Yetis, President of TUBITAK

Via e-mail addressed to:

Dear Professor Yetis:

I am writing to you in my capacity as member of the Advisory Board of the Feza Gursey Institute (FGI), and as someone who visited the Institute several times in the past (when Yavuz Nutku, a highly esteemed colleague and very good friend of mine was still alive) and gave various scientific talks there. I am writing because it has been brought to my attention that there are plans to close down FGI, or at least to further reduce its effectiveness which I understand has been already undermined recently by financial and personnel cuts.

This trend seem to me most unfortunate. FGI has been a center of excellence in theoretical and mathematical physics for decades. It has essentially contributed to keep Turkey in the international scientific map in these scientific fields, which subtend applicative developments key to technological modernization. It is easy to destroy an institute of this kind by withdrawing the financial and organizational support key for its continued existence as a vibrant research center; it shall be quite difficult to reconstruct an analogous institution when it shall be understood how much such scientific centers, with an excellent international reputation, are essential for the development of the scientific culture and community indispensable for the present and the future of a modern country like Turkey.

For these reasons I hope that no further downsizing of FGI will be allowed to occur and that instead a reconstitution of its substantial scientific potential will be fostered.

Please accept my best regards.

Francesco Calogero

(not hand-signed because sent by e-mail)
Rome, 12 July, 2011

* * *

[18 Temmuz / July 18]

Dear Mr. Calogero,

Regarding the misleading and inaccurate information that has been spread
about the restructuring of the Basic Sciences Research Institute-TBAE
(also known as the Feza Gürsey Institute) of The Scientific and
Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), I would like to
clarify the grounds for the institutional restructuring decision. Please
see the attached document.

I wonder how such deceptive information was conveyed to you. That is why I
really thank you for your email that gave us the chance to remedy for the
flawed information.

Best Regards

Nuket Yetis
TUBITAK President

* * *

[20 Temmuz / July 20]

Dear Prof. Yetis: Many thanks for your kind reply.

But please note that I never expressed doubts about the continuing scientific relevance of TUBITAK.
My concern was the survival as an indipendent institution of TBAE (the Feza Gursey Institute), of the Advisory Board of which I am a long-standing member. You wrote that I am the victim of “misleading and inaccurate information…about the restructing of the Basic Sciences Research Institute-TBAE (also known as the Feza Gursey Institute)”. But it seems to me that your letter confirms the intention to eliminate TBAE as an indipendent institution by absorbing it inside a much larger institution (TUBITAK BILGEM). You wrote that “Incorporation of the institute [TBAE] to TUBITAK was a necessary restructuring in order to foster the institute’s substantial scientific potential”—but provided no justification for this assertion, other than describing the much larger structure of TUBITAK BILGEM and stating that “the creation of a sinergy and critical cooperation between basic sciences and applied science and engineering is aimed”. My concern was and is, that you are thereby destroying an autonomous institution that had a significant record of contributing fundamental research in mathematics and physics. And may I note in this respect that, before proceeding in this direction, no advise was sought from the international board of scientific advisors of TBAE.
A long standing scientific institution with an excellent record in fundamental science is a significant asset for a country. Tampering with it in such a drastic manner—without seeking the advise of the relevant international scientific community—is, it seems to me, unwise. I still hope that the decision to proceed in this direction can be reversed.
Please accept my best regards.

Francesco Calogero

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