Concerns of General Secretary Xi Jinping | How to make technological innovation better benefit mankind?–Comments from the “super brains” of the global scientific community
Date: 2020-11-02
Source: Xinhuanet
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(Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era–New Era, New Deeds, New Chapter ·Concerns of General Secretary Xi Jinping)

How to make technological innovation better benefit mankind?–Comments from the “super brains” of the global scientific community

Xinhua News Agency, Shanghai, November 2. Title: How to make technological innovation better benefit mankind?–Comments from the “super brains” of the global scientific community

Recently, President Xi Jinping addressed the 3rd World Laureates Forum via video. “China is ready to implement a more open, inclusive, and mutual beneficially international scientific strategy, and is willing to work with top scientists and international sci-tech organizations around the world to strengthen research on major scientific issues, make breakthroughs in common sci-tech problems and deepen cooperation and coordination in key strategic sci-tech projects.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic is raging globally, extreme weather and climate events happen frequently, and the global economy is facing an economic downturn, the significance of “Science and Technology for the Common Destiny of Mankind” becomes even more prominent. The 3rd World Laureates Forum (2020) was held in Shanghai on October 30. More than 300 “super brains” from the scientific community gathered in China to discuss “how to make technological innovation better benefit mankind.”

To address the common issue: A global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, from consensus to co-treatment

After a 14-day quarantine period, Roger David Kornberg, Chairman of the World Laureates Association, arrived in Shanghai to participate in the forum as scheduled.

The forum held online and offline attracted more than 300 scientists from all over the world, including 61 Nobel Prize winners...The 3rd World Laureates Forum (2020) was not only held as scheduled, but also saw an increase in the number of participants, creating an online traffic of 1.5 billion views worldwide.

“If you want to go fast, walk alone; and if you want to go far, walk together.” At present, the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a common issue facing the world and needs to be addressed urgently, so it is especially necessary to break the barriers to cooperation. Many participating scientists said that instead of competing in vaccine research and development, it is better to encourage countries to cooperate to form a global vaccine alliance and share research results. 

Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, said that even when vaccines and drugs are available, there remain the questions: how to ensure that vaccines are distributed fairly? How to make vaccines available to poor countries? How to avoid political problems caused by the use and distribution of vaccines? Looking further into the future, how to ensure that countries can withstand another pandemic that may be more serious? How do we coordinate countries around the world to respond quickly to such incidents?

“To defeat the COVID-19 pandemic requires closer and higher-level global cooperation,” said Zhong Nanshan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He believed that in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other pandemics that may break out in the future, mankind needs to work together. “More than high-sounding words, it’s something that needs to be practiced conscientiously and stuck to for a long time.”

To seek cooperation: China’s opening-up “builds a platform” for global scientists

International cooperation can better connect the “first mile” of basic research and the “last mile” of achievement transformation and market applications.

There are countless examples of using resources and achieving scientific breakthroughs through international cooperation. For example, through the cooperation of thousands of scientists from all over the world, Higgs boson was discovered by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, enabling physicists to find the answer to the ultimate question: the basis of mass (as Higgs boson generates the mass of other particles).

In the big science era of global openness and collaborative innovation, as the host of the World Laureates Forum, China has initiated and promoted the development of the forum. For three consecutive years, China has been promoting international cooperation on an open stage, providing more occasions for scientists to think.

During this year’s forum, Shanghai especially extended an olive branch to global laureates: the establishment of the World Laureates Development Fund in Shanghai has created opportunities for global cutting-edge research; the official opening of the World Laureates Community allows global scientists regardless of nationalities or ages to join, and to find solutions to common problems facing mankind in interdisciplinary research and exchange of ideas.

“Science knows no borders. Only through international cooperation and pooling the wisdom of all mankind to conduct biomedical research can we produce low-cost treatments, allowing cell and gene therapies, and biological medicines to benefit everyone globally,” said Raymond C. Stevens, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute.

In the future, China’s pace of opening-up and cooperation in science and technology will only accelerate. “Such transnational forums as this where everyone can communicate need to be held regularly, and the global scientific community must maintain the ecology of open communication.” Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu pointed out that although each country has its own development plan, and there is competition among each other, in the field of innovative technology, only cross-border cooperation can accelerate the progress of scientific research, which benefits all mankind.

To create the future together: to inherit the scientific spirit for the benefit of all mankind

At the “Tablecloth Forum” held during the World Laureates Forum, “teens in the academy” had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Nobel laureates.

Wu Juntao from Shanghai High School, who has been looking forward to “changing matters” since she was a child, unsurprisingly fell in love with chemistry in middle school. She has participated in the research of the “Copper-based Catalyst Derived from Waste Electronic Materials for the Reduction of Electrochemical Carbon Dioxide”; Tang Jie from Xiamen Foreign Language School, inspired by the movie The Wandering Earth, conducted a study on “Simulation of the Accretion of Roche-lobe Binary Stars Between Jupiter and Earth” under the guidance of a professor at Xiamen University and carried out scientific research based on the imagination of interstellar crossing in childhood…

A total of 55 teen scientists participated in this forum, from 17 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country, aged between 15 and 18. During the exchange, many Nobel Prize winners communicated with the teenagers in plain words: have the rebellious spirit of “not listening to others”; science may not be interesting, but it is well worth your exploration; be full of passion, have perseverance, be adventurous, not be afraid of making mistakes, and be a kind person.

“The ultimate goal of fundamental science is not to cultivate Nobel Prize winners. I believe that countless young people around the world regard many experts here as idols, but you must look further away,” said Zhong Nanshan. “Young people must ask “why” more often. We need to let more young people who have the potential to become future award winners truly serve human society and let science serve the public.”   

At the conference, the World Laureates Youth Education Alliance was formally established to interest youngsters in science, raise their science awareness and improve their ability to explore. Currently, 1,024 primary and secondary schools have become the practice bases of WLA Science Education Alliance. The scientific spirit of exploring the unknown will pass on.