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Forum preparation


The opening of the preparatory meetings: José Arana Varela, director-president of the FAPESP CTA; Helena Nader, SBPC chairman; Celso Lafer, FAPESP chairman; Marco Antonio Raupp, minister of Science and Technology; Jacob Palis, Brazilian Academy of Sciences chairman; and Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP scientific directorEDUARDO CESAR

From August 29 to 31, FAPESP hosted the first of seven preparatory meetings for the Global Science Forum, to be held in November of 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. Its theme will be “Science for Global Development: from Education to Innovation.” A videoconference with Michael Clegg, a professor of genetics at the University of California, opened the preparatory meeting. At the last minute, the hurricane Isaac kept him from flying to Brazil. Clegg talked about the role of the network of academies of science and about the networks they form. A varied selection of themes was discussed, from ways of making science to governance problems, from efforts in the field of education to the challenges that the fields of knowledge face in the twenty-first century. Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, the scientific director of FAPESP, made a presentation on “The different facets of science,” addressing the extreme complexity of science, a mode of knowledge that is inspired by ideas. “The place of ideas, the place of the sciences is not only in universities, but in companies as well,” Brito said. He showed, through examples, that there are some ideas that take a long time to get to the market, whereas others reach it faster. Then there are those that are developed merely for the pleasure of knowledge. He observed that the relationship between science and its applications invariably follows a winding path. Luiz Davidovich, a professor from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, talked about the various perceptions and the importance of basic science during the course of history, such as the quantum physics that was outlined in the early twentieth century by young scientists with no utilitarian aspects in mind, but that over the course of time came to be used in applications such as lasers, chips and magnetic resonance scanners.