Honorary President Yuan T. Lee  (
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1986)

"As we entered the 21st century, we found the human society on earth is undergoing two important phase transitions. Firstly, the earth which used to be “infinite” or “unlimited” for mankind for thousands and thousands of years has now become “finite” or “limited”, as the population on earth has increased dramatically during the 20th century and reached 6 billions, and human activities have been intensified with excess consumption of natural resources, yet we are still following the trajectories of the development of human society of the past when the earth was practically “infinite” or “unlimited” both in terms of natural resources available and the capacity of the earth to absorb or digest the waste produced by human activities. Especially, in the usage of energy and the impact on environment, we are heading toward a wrong direction all together.

Secondly, although we have witnessed the process of globalization of human society during the last two decades, the globalization is only half-way through, and because of it we are suffering from many consequences. Some of the human activities started to become globalized, and are carried out beyond national boundaries, especially in the areas of economy, science and arts, yet the nation-state based competitions are as strong as ever. In the half globalized world, only those people who use the entire world as their stage for their activities have benefited enormously, and it is not surprising that we will have to tackle such problems as the widening gap between the rich and the poor, both among countries and people in a country, and the threat to solve problems by military might. These problems could be easily avoided if the entire world were to be completely globalized, or if the entire world were to become “one community”, or we make it into a reality that “Boundaries between nations are merely lines on a map.”

(Speech 18 th SEPTEMBER 2005, INNSBRUCK)

Source: SCIENCE WITHOUT BORDERS. Transactions of the International Academy of Science. Vol.2. 2005/2006, ICSD/IAS , Innsbruck, 2006, 16-20.

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