„Vienna Science March“ is forming up

Press release, 17. 3. 2017

Route of the Vienna Science March to be announced soon • Growing number of supporters • 400 events worldwide • US-Budget cut worse than expected

Five weeks ahead of the Vienna March for Science on 22 April the head of the organization team Oliver Lehmann announced first results. Only a week after the homepage www.sciencemarchvienna.at went online together with social media channels at @sciencemarchvienna, leading representatives of the Austrian scientific community started supporting claims and goals of the Vienna March for Science. After Helga Nowotny (Head of the ERA Council Forum Austria) was the first to sign, Heinz W. Engl (University of Vienna Rector), Margit Fischer (Head of ScienceCenter-network), Helmut Holzinger (President of Austria’s conference of universities of applied science) and Christa Neuper (Rector of Karl-Franzens-University Graz) aming others followed. The daily updated list of supporters may be found on http://www.sciencemarchvienna.at/en/supporters/. Continue reading “„Vienna Science March“ is forming up”

Helga Nowotny: “Grim truth”

“Grim truth” – and how to handle it

by Helga Nowotny

In his opening address at the 2016 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, Nobel Foundation Chairman Carl-Henrik Heldin drew parallels between our current milieu and the late nineteenth-century world in which Alfred Nobel lived and worked.

Nobel’s era was one of rapid industrialization and economic expansion. Progressive political ideas about peaceful international cooperation flourished, but nationalism, xenophobia, geopolitical tensions, and terrorism were also on the rise. Anarchists assassinated a Russian Czar, an Austrian Empress, and American and French presidents, and the outbreak of World War I dealt a near-fatal blow to European civilization.

The similarities to today’s world are obvious. Scientists continue to surprise us with amazing discoveries, and billions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty. But dark clouds have formed on the horizon. Terrorists have struck Europe with a vengeance, and millions of refugees fleeing wars and hunger are taxing European institutions, and straining social cohesion. Populist movements have emerged, calling for closed borders and new walls, and their rejection of expertise has led Heldin to a “grim truth”: that “we can no longer take it for granted that people believe in science, facts, and knowledge.”

Continue reading “Helga Nowotny: “Grim truth””