Happy Holidays – And Celebrate Science

Terry D. Etherton

Pontifical Academy of Sciences

To all the readers of my blog, I wish you a Happy Holiday Season and the best for a wonderful New Year!  There is much to celebrate in life!  And, there also is much to celebrate in the world of science.

At this time of the year, many individuals celebrate Christmas.  Interestingly, in the spirit of religious celebration, the proceedings from a scientific symposium hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences were just published in the November, 2010 issue of New Biotechnology.  The symposium “Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development” was hosted by the Catholic Church, and held at Vatican City in May, 2009.  The “take home” message from the symposium is summarized in an Editorial published in New Biotechnology by Dr. Werner Arber – that science and scientific advances “can undoubtedly and decisively contribute to solving the growing problem of world hunger.”  What a powerful message to convey at this time of the year about the need for science, and value of science in feeding a growing world population.

The importance of science also reverberates powerfully in the message by Pope Paul VI who in referring to the tragedy of world hunger concluded his message by asking God “to direct the application of scientific research to the production of new food supplies, since one of the greatest challenges that humanity must face, together with the danger of nuclear holocaust, is the hunger of the poor of this world” (Arber, 2010).

With this, I urge you not to forget about the 1 billion individuals in the world who are hungry.  And, the need to continue innovation in science to discover and “deliver” the next generation of scientific advances that will benefit humankind in the future.

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