rn:Nobel Laureates: the future of each depends on the good of all


Jan Slakov

Note from Jan: I just found a very good article by John Polanyi, one of the
Nobel Laureates who worked on the statement below. I'll add it to this
posting as well.
From: "Brian" <•••@••.•••>

Sent: Friday, December 07, 2001 5:10 PM
Subject: 100 Nobel Laureates Issue Statement

 Friday, December 07, 2001 
 From the Best Minds in the World 

OSLO, Norway-December 7, 2001 (OTVNewswire)--At the Nobel Peace Prize
Centennial Symposium here yesterday celebrating the 100th anniversary of the
Nobel prize, 100 Nobel laureates have issued a brief but dire warning of the
"profound dangers" facing the world.  Their statement predicts that our
security depends on immediate environmental and social reform.  The
following is the text of their statement:


The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not
from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate
demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the
majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming,
not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their
fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate and manifestly unjust.

 It cannot be expected, therefore, that in all cases they will be content to
await the beneficence of the rich. If then we permit the devastating power
of modern weaponry to spread through this combustible human landscape, we
invite a conflagration that can engulf both rich and poor. The only hope for
the future lies in co-operative international action, legitimized by democracy. 

 It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in
which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead, we must persist in the quest
for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world.

 These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move
toward the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace.

 Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As
concerned citizens, we urge all governments to commit to these goals that
constitute steps on the way to replacement of war by law.

 To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a
new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all. 

[See list of signatories below.]
Stupidity is the enemy; idealism is our only hope
Canadian laureate JOHN POLANYI tells why he and his colleagues have issued
their challenge

            The Globe and Mail - Toronto 

            Friday, December 7, 2001 – Page A21 

Nobel Prize winners are presumed to be intelligent. But why pay attention to
the views of the 100 who have supported the statement above, issued to
coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize? Because one's
perception of truth comes not from intelligence but from a sense of values.
Scholarship embodies values: This was evident to Alfred Nobel, the Swedish
tycoon and explosives manufacturer. In his will, he stipulated that his
prizes recognize idealisk riktning -- idealistic tendencies.

And what led to the Nobel Prize winners' statement? Not a sense of oracular
wisdom but of obligation. Individuals who had shared the experience of
discovery would likely be able to agree on a great deal more. Alfred Nobel
was right; science engenders "idealistic tendencies."

Why? Because the pursuit of discovery shot through with idealism. Discovery
originates in the unsupported belief that the book of creation is open to
being read. So deep is this idealism that many are willing to devote the
best years of their lives to the quest for discovery, though the odds
against success are huge.

Idealism must also triumph over the painful fact that the first to read
nature's story may well be someone other than oneself. But the truth must be
acknowledged whatever the hands that uncover it. Christian truth cannot be
elevated over Muslim truth. Nor can accepted truth, backed by the massed
armies of orthodoxy, be protected against the claims of upstart facts. One
can trace the sense of "Nobel-esse oblige" to these idealistic origins.

What, then, do these 100 voices say? The opening sentence is bold enough to
claim that the dominant forces shaping history are rational. This was
contentious when written in early July, and appeared still more so following
Sept. 11. The ferocity of that attack led Americans to believe that the
attackers were insane. But it came to be recognized that the sustained
terrorism has its causes and purposes.

The question is important, because what lies (to a large extent) within the
realm of reason can (to a large extent) be countered by policies grounded in

Of course, the statement is as much about threats from states as from
non-state groups, and about threats of mass destruction as about
conventional threats. The dominant setting for conflict in each case, it
claims, is a world in which the rich and the poor live in full sight of one

If, in addition, the poor are voiceless, they may well be induced to speak
through violence. Particularly so if their predicament is aggravated by the
environmental carelessness of the rich.

It is a peculiar folly, under these circumstances, for the rich to seek
greater riches by selling weapons to the poor. Even without this, the
prosperous grow ever more vulnerable. Advanced societies are complex and
fragile. They operate efficiently by being open, not guarded. Like any
complex mechanism, they are, therefore, vulnerable to the wrecker's ball.

To avoid a tragic outcome, the statement says, we shall be forced to do what
we should have done previously. That is to recognize abroad what we have
long recognized domestically: the right of all to food, shelter, education
and freedom of expression. This is a revolution in thinking that is already
under way. What is lacking, in this country as elsewhere, is a sense of urgency.

A Chinese leader, asked whether the French Revolution was a success,
reportedly replied that it was too soon to tell. But it's not too early to
identify its origins: the willful blindness of the French ruling class of
the 18th century. Possessed of wealth and power, they offered only promises
to the poor.

Unless we recognize that the future of each depends on the good of all, the
coming years will bring escalating conflict. One need not be a rocket
scientist to see that.

But the recognition that science has thrived on change could persuade us to
behave more like rocket scientists. We might even come to realize that
idealism is the highest form of realism. 
Nobel laureate John Polanyi, a University of Toronto chemistry professor,
was involved in framing the Nobel statement above.

Zhohres I. Alferov Physics, 2000 
Sidney Altman Chemistry, 1989 
Philip W. Anderson Physics, 1977 
Oscar Arias Sanchez Peace, 1987 
J. Georg Bednorz Physics, 1987 
Bishop Carlos F.X. Belo Peace, 1996 
Baruj Benacerraf Physiology/Medicine, 1980 
Hans A. Bethe Physics, 1967 
James W. Black Physiology/Medicine, 1988 
Guenter Blobel Physiology/Medicine, 1999 
Nicolaas Bloembergen Physics, 1981 
Norman E. Boriaug Peace, 1970 
Paul D. Boyer Chemistry, 1997 
Bertram N. Brockhouse Physic, 1994 
Herbert C. Brown Chemistry, 1979 
Georges Charpak Physics, 1992 
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji Physics, 1997 
John W. Cornforth Chemistry, 1975 
Francis H. Crick Physiology/Medicine, 1962 
James W. Cronin Physics, 1980 
Paul J. Crutzen Chemistry, 1995 
Robert F. Curl Chemistry, 1996 
His Holiness The Dalai Lama Peace, 1989 
Johann Deisenhofer Chemistry, 1988 
Peter C. Doherty Physiology/Medicine, 1996 
Manfred Eigen Chemistry, 1967 
Richard R. Ernst Chemistry, 1991 
Leo Esaki Physics, 1973 
Edmond H. Fischer Physiology/Medicine, 1992 
Val L. Fitch Physics, 1980 
Dario Fo Literature, 1997 
Robert F. Furchgott Physiology/Medicine, 1998 
Walter Gilbert Chemistry, 1980 
Sheldon L. Glashow Physics, 1979 
Mikhail S. Gorbachev Peace, 1990 
Nadine Gordimer Literature, 1991 
Paul Greengard Physiology/Medicine, 2000 
Roger Guillemin Physiology/Medicine, 1977 
Herbert A. Hauptman Chemistry, 1985 
Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry, 1986 
Antony Hewish Physics, 1974 
Roald Hoffman Chemistry, 1981 
Gerardus 't Hooft Physics, 1999 
David H. Hubel Physiology/Medicine, 1981 
Robert Huber Chemistry, 1988 
Francois Jacob Physiology/Medicine, 1975 
Brian D. Josephson Physics, 1973 
Jerome Karle Chemistry, 1985 
Wolfgang Ketterle Physics, 2001 
H. Gobind Khorana Physiology/Medicine, 1968 
Lawrence R. Klein Economics, 1980 
Klaus von Klitzing Physics, 1985 
Aaron Klug Chemistry, 1982 
Walter Kohn Chemistry, 1998 
Herbert Kroemer Physics, 2000 
Harold Kroto Chemistry, 1996 
Willis E. Lamb Physics, 1955 
Leon M. Lederman Physics, 1988 
Yuan T. Lee Chemistry, 1986 
Jean-Marie Lehn Chemistry, 1987 
Rita Levi-Montalcini Physiology/Medicine, 1986 
William N. Lipscomb Chemistry, 1976 
Alan G. MacDiarmid Chemistry, 2000 
Daniel L. McFadden Economics, 2000 
César Milstein Physiology/Medicine, 1984 
Franco Modigliani Economics, 1985 
Rudolf L. Moessbauer Physics, 1961 
Mario J. Molina Chemistry, 1995 
Ben R. Mottelson Physics, 1975 
Ferid Murad Physiology/Medicine, 1998 
Erwin Neher Physiology/Medicine, 1991 
Marshall W. Nirenberg Physiology/Medicine, 1968 
Joseph E. Murray Physiology/Medicine, 1990 
Paul M. Nurse Physiology/Medicine, 2001 
Max F. Perutz Chemistry, 1962 
William D. Phillips Physics, 1997 
John C. Polanyi Chemistry, 1986 
Ilya Prigogine Chemistry, 1977 
Burton Richter Physics, 1976 
Heinrich Rohrer Physics, 1987 
Joseph Rotblat Peace, 1995 
Carlo Rubbia Physics, 1984 
Bert Sakmann Physiology/Medicine, 1991 
Frederick Sanger Chemistry, 1958; 1980 
José Saramago Literature, 1998 
J. Robert Schrieffer Physics, 1972 
Melvin Schwartz Physics, 1988 
K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry, 2001 
Richard E. Smalley Chemistry, 1996 
Jack Steinberger Physics, 1988 
Joseph E. Stiglitz Economics, 2001 
Horst L. Stormer Physics, 1998 
Henry Taube Chemistry, 1983 
Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics, 1993 
Susumu Tonegawa Physiology/Medicine, 1997 
Charles H. Townes Physics, 1964 
Daniel T. Tsui Physics, 1998 
Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu Peace, 1984 
John Vane Physiology/Medicine, 1982 
John E. Walker Chemistry, 1997 
Eric F. Wieschaus Physiology/Medicine, 1982 
Jody Williams Peace, 1997 
Robert W. Wilson Physics, 1978 
Ahmed H. Zewail Chemistry, 1999