Chairman of World Laureates Association
2006 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
for the Executive Committee
(Michael Levitt, Steven Chu, Venki Ramakrishnan, Randy Schekman)
No one imagined at the end of 2019 what would be the state of the world at the end of 2020. Pandemic viral disease, profound economic dislocation, and attendant uncertainty and despair, remain causes for grave concern at the beginning of 2021. There are nonetheless reasons for hope, both immediate and in the future. With effective vaccines now available, we can be sure of a better 2021 and the eventual end of the pandemic. Hard times will continue at the beginning of the year, but by the end, much of the world's population will have gained immunity to the virus and enjoy life again.
Victory over the virus has come at great cost in blood and treasure. At the same time, it represents the hope for the future. Victory was a triumph of science. It was achieved by international cooperation on the development of new methods of disease control. Not only were vaccines made and brought to the public in less than a year, ten-fold less time than required in the past, but the new methods will allow even more rapid production of vaccines against novel microbes that will inevitably arise in the future. Beyond advances in vaccine development, new methods of diagnosis and therapy, with similar more rapid application to novel microbes, will be available as needed in the future.
The World Laureates Association has sought to contribute by promoting basic science, supporting the development of young scientists, and advocating for international cooperation. Pursuing the theme of "Science and Technology for the Common Destiny of Mankind," the World Laureates Association has encouraged the activities and interaction of leading scientists and their junior colleagues. This outreach and support will continue and be expanded to further the advance of science and its applications in the future.
If the world was poorly prepared for the pandemic, and many have suffered, we may now look forward with optimism and renewed energy for addressing other great challenges, among them climate control and destruction of the environment, peace among nations, and prosperity for all.
Happy new year!