Science in society

How scientific choices need to be made, bearing in mind the effect it could have to society

Applied mathematicians in the service of pressing global issues

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. Read more [...]

The emerging trends of Nobel Prizes in science

This article reviews the Nobel history since inception which shows that the Prizes in science conferred on individuals in the first 50 years are shifting to the Prizes being shared. It is,in part, because the science has become more complex, collaborative, expansive, and expensive. With the critical need for teamwork to tackle Big Science, we recommend that the policy of “no more than three” sharing the Prize be loosened on case by case basis and the nomination be made open for scientific organisations. We also suggest concrete steps for improving the gender gap among the Nobel Laureates. This necessitates proactive nominations of Nobel worthy work done by women and making structural changes in Nobel committees toward better gender ratio. Finally, our analysis shows that the U.S. is emerging as a Nobel Super Power leading to a divide not only with European countries but the world at large. Read more [...]

Archaeological heritage vulnerable to climate change

Climate change poses a threat to archaeological heritage. However, archaeological heritage seldom appears in the IPCC-reports on climate change. There is an urgent need to connect archaeology with this phenomenon, according to scientists, as rising sea levels and the increase of extreme weather events pose a real threat. Measures have to be taken to protect vulnerable sites, which often are situated in coastal areas. The general public can help, as various projects along Europe’s coast show. Read more [...]

Researchers Associations beyond borders: how many computations to design an interactive constellation?

In the rapidly evolving global research enterprise, new scientific and societal challenges require multidisciplinary approaches and the involvement of a higher and diverse number of stakeholders. Accordingly, researchers are increasingly required to work across disciplines, sectors and institutions at regional, national and international levels. Researchers associations are an invaluable resource to support researchers along their career development and to foster researchers communities. How many combinations could be imagined to bring together researchers associations and to foster researcher's networking beyond national and discipline borders? The session aims at collecting input as a basis for a strategy on how to systematise the collaboration between important actors in the field of research career development. Read more [...]

Environmental impact of transportation on Europe: view of science and industry

Climate change is a fact and all of us should be concerned about it. One of the main causes of climate change is the human-caused environmental impact, especially in developed countries like Europe or North America. A number of European companies and institutions are determined to give an example to the whole world and stop the increase of emissions produced on the continent. Transport accounts for a fourth of global CO2 emissions and it is one of the few industrial sectors where pollutant emissions are still growing. Our generation has a chance to stop this trend and build a better future for our children. Read more [...]