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Seminar - Social Sciences for the Scientific and Technological Advancement Remarks of a Scientist Carrying Owls to Athens Gerd H. WOLF European Economic and Social Committee Mainly based on: - OPINIONS of the European Economic and Social Committee

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remarks of a scientist carrying owls to athens

Seminar - Social Sciences for the Scientific and Technological Advancement

Remarks of a ScientistCarrying Owls to Athens

Gerd H. WOLF

European Economic and Social Committee

Mainly based on:

- OPINIONS of the European Economic and Social Committee

- A presentation by the same author at the

„Science and Society Forum“, Brussels, March 2005

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide2

Some statements from the EESC´s „Own Initiative OPINION“

Investment in Knowledge and Innovation

INT/325 --- CESE 983/2007 --- July 2007

  • Top performances in the scientific and technical field,
  • and their entrepreneurial conversion into a competitive, economic force,
  • are essential preconditions to safeguarding our future (not least with regard to energy and climate issues).

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide3

The basic prerequisite for achieving this goal is a social climate that is open to progress and innovation,

in which society fully understands this and all its implications,

so that politicians at all levels create the necessary conditions and take decisions that are conducive to such progress.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide4

This also includes raising awareness of the fundamental significance of basic research,

as this lays the necessary foundations for future innovations.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide5

Nota bene:

  • Most of the major discoveries and breakthroughs were the – often unexpected ! – outcome of fundamental research.
  • A single new discovery or concept snowballed into an avalanche of innovations, advances and cross-fertilizations.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide6

As a result, the living conditions of people in the countries and regions involved have changed and improved as never before in human history.

In the last 135 years, the average life expectancy of the population has more than doubled.

In the last 50 years, agricultural yield in terms of surface area has almost trebled.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide7

In the successful industrialised countries, the talk is now

of obesity rather than malnutrition,

of information overload rather than a lack of information, and

of an ageing population rather than child mortality.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide8

The development of energy-consuming industrial processes, machines and transport systems made a decisive contribution to this.

  • Energy freed people from the burden of the heaviest physical labour, multiplied their productivity, provided heating and lighting, and made previously unimaginable mobility and communication possible.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide9

Energy became the food and fuel of modern economies.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide10

Looking backwards:

In the pre-industrial era humans too were used as engines and freight carriers.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide11

Naval battle of Lepanto (Nafpaktos) 1571 (Doge´s Palace, Venice)

Venetian –Spanish fleet against the Turks

thousands of galley rowers

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide12

Just 100 years ago !

Tread wheel driven crane

Bruges 1540

Hallstatt women carrying wooden containers of salt on their backs

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide13

DAWNING OF A NEW ERA

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up - William Francis Turner 1838

slide14

Message 1

Society needs to become better aware of the huge progress achieved, and this by comparison with the life conditions which existed before.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide15

Message 2

Society needs to become familiar with the purpose, the working methods, the working conditions, the potential and the limitations of science and technology.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide16

The perception of science and development by society

  • purpose of science and development
  • working methods of science and
  • development
  • support and governance of science
  • and development
  • assessment and balance of risks and
  • chances
  • capability to forecast the future

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide17

Purpose of science and development

The purpose of science and development is to create new and more profound knowledge, to develop new skills and capabilities, and to enrich our culture.

History has shown, that in the past the results of science and development promoted the well-being of mankind to a degree which was in former times unimaginable.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide18

Working methods of science and development: What is Research 1

RESEARCH IS THE STEP INTO THE UNKNOWN !!!

Advances are based on

ingenuity, intuition, imagination,

continuity, persistence, care,

chance and hard work,

but also on novel instruments and devices.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide19

Working methods of science and development

What is research 2 ?

  • the interplay between
  • hypothesis, experiment
  • and criticism
  • groping in the mist
  • following hunches
  • compiling and collating
  • data
  • finding new signals
  • detecting inconsistencies
  • tracing underlying patterns
  • recognising correlations
  • developing mathematical
  • models,
  • developing concepts and
  • symbols
  • developing new equipment
  • searching for simple solutions
  • and harmony
  • confirming, extrapolating,
  • generalising and reproducing

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide20

Working methods of science and development

WHY DUPLICATION ?

The crucial feature is the step from the scientific quest phase to the reproducibility of findings and demonstration of their range of validity.

Duplication is an essential element of scientific method. It is the only guarantee against errors, assertions or even falsification.

It serves the consolidation, deepening and dissemination of knowledge.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide21

What are the best working conditions for science ?“Bottom-up" approach as often as possible and "top-down" approach only where absolutely necessary.Self organisation operating in -cooperation on pooling resources, exchanging information and complementing expertise, but- competition for the best ideas, results, methods, facilities, structures and talent.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide22

What are the best working conditions for science 3 ?Citation from OPINION INT/358 (CESE 1141/2007):Only a plurality of methods, approaches and choice of issues can ensure the best outcomes, procedures and innovations in each case.Plurality is not wasteful, but is a necessary means of optimising and making progress in the search for new knowledge and techniques.(Competitive evolution)

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are the best working conditions for science 4
Freedom

Self-organization

Continuity and reliability of support

Long-range perspective, yet possibility to change course

A stimulating, multidisciplinary environment, yet possibility to withdraw

Reducing the excess in procedures for:

Applications

Reporting

Monitoring

Refereeing

Administration

Scientists need time for research !

What are the best working conditions for science 4 ?

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide24

Two remarks about risks

1. The risk potential of new ideas, technologies or research programmes cannot in principle be fully assessed on an objective basis. (What will be the impact of successful geriatric research?)

2. With the knowledge of that time (Jenner), would present society still permit the test of smallpox vaccination? Or rather, would smallpox still be with us?

Risk and chance are two sides of the same coin.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

can science forecast the future
Can science forecast the future ?

Only in well-defined, limited cases, and only for a well-defined time-scale

Obstacles are:

  • Limited data
  • Complexity
  • Chaos (deterministic chaos)
  • Quantum effects

By and large, this also holds true for politics. Politics means acting on behalf of society and inevitably also includes experimenting with society.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide26
END

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

how to find these opinions in the internet
How to find these OPINIONS in the Internet
  • http://www.toad.eesc.europa.eu/
  • under documents > OPINIONS
  • choose language
  • insert < Wolf > for „rapporteur“
  • select document

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide28

APPENDIX

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

science and innovation

Science and Innovation

A Scientist's View

Gerd Wolf, Science and Society Forum 2005, March 10th

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

where do we stand now
Where do we stand now?
  • Citizens of the EU have achieved a level of prosperity, knowledge and legal certainty which is unprecedented in the history of their nations.
  • Over the last century, average life expectancy has increased by about 30 years.
  • Over the last 50 years, agricultural yields have almost tripled . We now discuss obesity rather than malnutrition.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are our capabilities 1
What are our capabilities ? (1)
  • We keep ourselves informed and in touch with the whole world (INTERNET).
  • We land a research robot on one of Saturn's moons.
  • We observe galaxies billions of light years away.
  • We measure femtoseconds and minute quantities of trace elements.
  • We navigate our cars by satellite.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are our capabilities 2
What are our capabilities ? (2)
  • We develop and use super-computers.
  • We build aircraft capable of carrying more than 500 passengers.
  • We use X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging to scan the human body.
  • We transplant organs, analyse DNA, genetically modify crops and livestock, and conduct research on stem cells.
  • Painless open-heart surgery has become commonplace.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide33

Then

What are the questions?

Where are the problems ?

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

one answer
One Answer
  • Many fundamental questions are waiting to be answered (e.g. dark matter, nature of quantum physics, brain and individual,…).
  • Many problems are waiting to be solved (e.g. climate, energy supply, health,…).

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

one problem area science and society
One Problem Area: Science and Society
  • Society’s perception of science (achievements, potential, dangers) and of the necessary working conditions.
  • Interaction between science and society.

Note, however, that scientists are part of society.

  • Scientists need to learn about the demands and concerns of society, but society also needs to learn about the required operating conditions for science.

I will not mainly address this problem – which is done by other speakers – but rather focus on another problem area : invention / innovation .

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

competition and innovation 1
Competition and Innovation (1)
  • A crucial determinant of Europe's future development and position is global competition.
  • This competition is characterized by changing industrial and economic structures, labour market situation and raw material parameters.
  • On scientific and technological performance hinge not only economic competitiveness and the resulting attraction for investors, scientists and engineers, but also cultural and political status and influence.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

competition and innovation 2
Competition and Innovation (2)
  • Growth, success and economic strength – and the resultant capacity for social services and cultural development – depend essentially on innovation.
  • Innovation needs not only investment in research and technological development but also optimized working conditions for science and research.
  • The European Research Area was conceived to meet that challenge, to join forces and to create a European added value.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

addressing some questions related to science and innovation
Addressing some questions related to science and innovation
  • What are the sources of innovation ?
  • What is basic research ?
  • Do we need duplication ?
  • Can science forecast the future ?
  • What are the best working conditions ?
  • How do we couple science and technology, academia and industry ?

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are the sources of innovation 1
What are the sources of innovation ?(1)
  • Most of the major discoveries and breakthroughs were the – often unexpected – outcome of fundamental research.
  • A single new discovery or concept can snowball into an avalanche of innovations, advances and cross-fertilizations.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are the sources of innovation 2
What are the sources of innovation ?(2)
  • Examples are:

electricity, fertilizers, radio-waves, vacuum tubes, thermodynamics, x-rays, nuclear energy, penicillin, magnetic nuclear resonance, polyethylene , semi-conductors, DNA, lasers, computer chips, genes, GPS, nanotechnology, .....

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

what are the sources of innovation 3
What are the sources of innovation ?(3)
  • To permit a targeted approach, objectives must be defined and the way ahead needs to be sufficiently clear.
  • Science and technology benefit from each other through continuous symbiosis.

In the meantime, these relations have also been re-acknowledged by politics

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

example opening speech of the german chancellor celebrating the einstein year
Example: Opening speech of the German Chancellor celebrating the Einstein Year
  • “The example of Einstein makes it clear that only freedom of thought and research, freedom from governmental regimentation and economic dependence, enabled his momentous achievements.
  • This is why we can say that only basic research …………..is in a position to provide the most important raw material for future prosperity – new knowledge”.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

continued
continued:
  • “It must, of course, be our goal to convert scientific findings into innovations more rapidly than in the past.
  • At the same time, however, basic research needs the certainty of being able to work without the pressure of immediate exploitability and without the constraint of continually demonstrating utility.”
  • “When Einstein formulated the basic equation for the laser in 1916, he did not have the faintest idea of the innovation that would follow five decades later”.

Please note that the “laser equation” was only one of his many discoveries, and that Einstein was an excellent communicator !

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide44
a step into the unknown

the interplay between hypothesis, experiment and criticism

groping in the mist

following hunches

compiling and collating data

finding new signals

detecting inconsistencies

tracing underlying patterns

recognising correlations

developing mathematical models,

developing concepts and symbols

developing new equipment

searching for simple solutions and harmony

confirming, extrapolating, generalising and reproducing

Advances in science are based on ingenuity, intuition, imagination, continuity, persistence, care, chance and hard work, but also on novel instruments and devices.What is basic research?

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

why duplication
Why duplication ?
  • The crucial feature of scientific knowledge is the step from the scientific quest phase to the reproducibility of findings and demonstration of their range of validity.
  • Duplication is an essential element of scientific method and progress. It is the (only) guarantee against errors, assertions or even falsification.
  • It serves the consolidation, deepening and dissemination of knowledge.
  • Nature decides and confirms.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

can science forecast the future46
Can science forecast the future ?

Only in well-defined, limited cases, and only for a well-defined time-scale

Obstacles are:

  • Limited data
  • Complexity
  • Chaos (deterministic chaos)
  • Quantum effects

By and large, this also holds true for politics. Politics means acting on behalf of society and inevitably also includes experimenting with society.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

slide47
Freedom

Self-organization

Continuity and reliability of support

Long-range perspective, yet possibility to change course

A stimulating, multidisciplinary environment, yet possibility to withdraw

Reducing the excess in procedures for:

Applications

Reporting

Monitoring

Refereeing

Administration

Scientists need time for research !

What are the best working conditions for science ? “Bottom-up" approach as often as possible and "top-down" approach only where necessary

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

how to better couple science and technology academia and industry 1
How to better couple science and technology, academia and industry ? (1)
  • The best carriers of knowledge are the heads of the experts.
  • Therefore, we need laboratories for basic and for applied research working side-by-side to stimulate frequent contacts.
  • Therefore, we need instruments and social boundary conditions which stimulate the exchange of personnel between academia (e.g. technical universities) and industry.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

how to better couple science and technology academia and industry 2
How to better couple science and technology, academia and industry ? (2)
  • We need more R&D performed in industry and experts working there.
  • Industry needs to be receptive.
  • Industry needs incentives (e.g. tax regulations) to better fulfil its part of the task. This holds in particular for SMEs.
  • Industry needs protection against overregulation concerning novel products.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

community patent language
Community Patent, Language
  • We urgently need a Community Patent.
  • We need a grace period for patent-applications.
  • We need to use a common second language throughout Europe, as is already the case within the technical-scientific community (English).

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

some further proposals
Some further proposals
  • Science as a profession – including contracts of service – must be made more attractive.
  • The rules of the Single Market have to stimulate, rather than to discourage mobility. The remaining barriers within the Single Market have to be removed.
  • Competition between research systems and institutions for the best structure, methods, facilities and personnel policy must be allowed, stimulated and supported.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

research policy and the interest of society a thorny issue
Research policy and the interest of society, a thorny issue.

Interaction between science and society – where appropriate by legislation and through governmental authorities – mostly concerns

  • type and extent of research funding,
  • research objectives and subjects,
  • evaluation of research findings,
  • people involved in research, and
  • how far research is or should be steered in a particular direction.

Science delivers the knowledge, industry delivers the products, but citizen and society decide on the use.

I will not dig deeper into this broad subject.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

but one should bear in mind 1
But one should bear in mind (1)
  • that the scientific community is generally earlier aware of upcoming chances, opportunities or risks of new discoveries and of new technologies.
  • that the risk potential (of new ideas, technologies or research programmes) cannot in principle be fully assessed on an objective basis. (What will be the impact of successful geriatric research?)
  • that the scientific community knows – relatively – best how to carry out research, and which issues to address.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

but one should bear in mind 2
But one should bear in mind (2)
  • that self organisation in science operates in the area of conflict between cooperation and competition , i.e.

- cooperation on pooling resources, exchanging information and complementing expertise, but

- competition for the best ideas, results, methods and structures.

  • that the main task of politics should be to

- decide on the allocated support , and

- ensure that self organisation and self control of science are effective, and that competition rules the game.

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement

summary
Summary
  • Complete the Single Market.
  • Complete the European Research Area.
  • Double the EU R&D budget and raise the corresponding national R&D budgets.
  • Provide incentives for more R&D in industry (and SMEs).
  • >> Reach the 3% (of GDP) goal.
  • Stimulate the interplay between basic research, applied research and product development.
  • Stimulate mobility between academia and industry.
  • Protect against overregulation and excess bureaucracy.
  • Provide optimal working conditions for R&D.
  • Provide more attractive contracts of employment.
  • Acknowledge the basics of science and research – freedom, autonomy, excellence, competition, cooperation.
  • Accept: NO CHANCE WITHOUT RISK

Seminar October 16th, 2007 --- G. H. Wolf, EESC --- Social Sciences for the Scientific Advancement