An ecological civilization should care for the natural and built environments, the cultural heritage, the collective bonds, education, health, ethics, aesthetics, equity and justice. But this involves many actors, in a planet united only by the media and ‘globalization’ and divided by confrontation and competition.
Nowadays there is a diffuse border between pure and applied mathematics. The pure mathematician – an atypical scientist inclined toward the abstract – – is capable of switching at any time to the role of applied mathematician in order to address and solve the pressing global issues that threaten humanity. From assisting manned space missions to modelling the processes of ice melting or the spread of an epidemic, the applied mathematician’s contributions are crucial for humankind. The confidence we have in the truths of applied mathematics, which – within the philosophy of science – is part of the so-called Wigner’s puzzle, is a kind of evolutionary feature of the discipline.
In Germany, solutions to provide independent, participatory research support in response to civic concerns appeared on the agenda already 30 years ago. But it is merely as recently as five years ago that research engagement with civil society became prominent for a larger group of actors. One of the solutions to better interact with citizens has been provided through Science Shops
Ilaria Capua, recently elected Member of the Italian Parliament, under the umbrella of the Civic Choice movement, talks to EuroScientist about the kind of reforms that are needed to ensure a sustainable future to Italian research. Prior to her appointment, she has had a successful career as a prominent virologist involved, in particular, in research in H5N1.