Panel Discussion

How Can Science Change the World for the Better?


Abstract

Nobel Prizes have honoured major scientific breakthroughs, which deeply impact everybody’s life today. Medical discoveries have saved millions of lives and greatly extended the human lifespan. Inventions in chemistry and physics have enabled and enriched our modern world, from fertilizers to high-tech materials, from transport to modern communication – and more. Beyond that, science has fostered a much deeper understanding of the world and of ourselves.

Still, with new technologies and with ever-growing populations, the world faces new problems, which are yet to be solved: climate change and its global impact, providing energy in a sustainable way, water supply and global health issues, to name a few that affect everybody on our planet.

This panel will discuss a variety of questions that arise from these observations: What are the most important challenges today and in the future? How do we prioritise them, and what can science contribute to their solutions? How do we incorporate a shared understanding of ethics into the decision and research processes? Is blue-sky and basic research efficient enough, or does science need to focus on the most pressing issues? Last but not least: What would a better world actually look like?


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