May 29, 2023

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“Stop the conflict between Russia and Ukraine with science diplomacy”

He sang faith in the “wonderful destiny and progress of mankind” leopards In “La ginestra” it is consumed at the speed of voracious “technological consumption”. Yet trust in power, in the helmsman at the helm of this ship, the West, lost in the face of the historic challenges we face, is precipitating. magistralis library of George Parisi – the Noble to Physics Who was awarded the Golden Seal yesterday at BarryPraising the University «and universities southwhich must grow” – he bound together science and peace in 41 minutes of an impassioned speech addressed to students, but also to politics and the greats of the world “so that they could show a little wisdom of Kennedy and Khrushchev”, putting an end to the conflict between Russia And Ukraine and accompanying the planet towards nuclear disarmament. Referring to the Cuban Missile Crisis: “We stopped at the edge of the abyss and we are still alive, but now the times of the Cold War are back – Parisi said – and it is our duty to defuse the conflict” because, although there are about 10,000 nuclear warheads in the world today compared to 60,000 in the 1980s, “a weapon of this type could still devastate the northern hemisphere”. Even today, on the border with Europe and with more than 10 million displaced from Ukraine, “it is difficult to find an agreement if we confine ourselves to confrontation between the contenders – continued the Nobel Prize – but to open global negotiations, imagine a nuclear-free zone in Europe and an agreement on denuclearization Weapon, everything becomes possible ».

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The role of science

The possible is an objective within the reach of “scholarly diplomacy” which in the past did indeed play a direct role in constructing peace politics. Consider setting up CERN, in 1954, “three years before the Treaty of Rome which created the European Economic Community,” Baresi recalled. Twelve countries were part of CERN in Geneva, six more than the EEC, and scientists outside the Berlin Wall have collaborated as well. Because the love of science builds cathedrals of solidarity essential to one universal secular prayer: human progress, and thus freedom from war as a means of resolving conflicts.
Baresi quotes Josef Rotblat, the great Polish-Jewish physicist who conceived of the atomic bomb, fled Nazism and in 1944 refused for ethical reasons, unique among his colleagues, to continue working on the bomb project. In 1955, Rotblat, who years later received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with ten other scientists (including Einstein and Russell), signed the Manifesto against the spread of atomic weapons, and two years later organized the Pugwash Conference in Canada, which laid the foundations for the first treaty on Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, signed in 1970. «As Rotblat did – Baresi said – even today we turn to scientists directly or indirectly involved in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to intervene and denounce. The real dangers associated with the use of nuclear energy”. The prestige of science and the trust accorded to it is rapidly declining.” Anti-science tendencies are advancing, which during the Covid pandemic have claimed millions of victims. “This universal distrust may be due to a certain arrogance of some scientists – the physicist added – who present science as an absolute truth even when it is not.” or from refusing to “accept one’s limits,” which can end up weakening the prestige of the scholars, who are seen as elite. And there are still bad scientists with opaque ties to political and economic forces.” Even the crisis of democracy plays against science: “Changing this perception is not easy, but it is necessary because if too many citizens turn their backs on science and politics and chase consensus, they risk doing so in turn.”

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science potential

However, the potential of science, and the tools it offers us for the future, is enormous and indispensable for addressing the crises we face: war of course, but also climate change. Parisi said again: «To do this successfully, a brutal effort is needed on the part of all, and a great social and financial cost. Politics must ensure that this cost is acceptable to all and distributed in a proportionate, just and equitable manner: whoever used the greatest amount of resources should contribute the most ». For if it is true that science is often exploited for war – think of Archimedes’ brilliant war machines – then peace can be better served, which will give way “only if we overcome the many inequalities of today, and let ourselves be guided by the basic instinct of self-preservation.” . “Ahead of us, if we will — reciting Rotblat’s Manifesto of Disarmament and eventually taken up by the Italian physicist — there is a steady progression of happiness. Should we instead choose death because we cannot overcome our battles? Remember your humanity and forget the rest.” Let’s try at least.

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