Bilbao wanted to provide on an intermittent rainfall by the new normality with its large week of knowledge. The main streets were lined with billboards and banners that reminded an electoral campaign. But the faces that hung from trees and streetlights were not politicians, but of wise. What must be recognized that is much more stimulating.
The Vizcain capital hosted for the second time the awarding of the Border Prizes of Knowledge after the BBVA Foundation was chosen as a permanent headquarters that by the prestige of its winners and compete with the Nobel in the recognition of human talent.
The Coronavirus forced to suspend the delivery of last year's edition and this time was held a double gala of antipandemic revenge at the Euskalduna palace with the presence of 24 of the 35 world leaders who have been awarded in their fields. The borders of knowledge, equipped each with 400,000 euros in each of its eight categories, are a recognition of scientific research, social sciences and artistic creation. On this occasion, after 18 months of coronaviric struggle they intend to exercise as a response of hope against the two great global challenges that await us: climate change and technological revolution.
Because what has marked this appointment is undoubtedly a cycle change, as exciting as demanding.
"We are already in the new era of anthropocene. The pure nature, unaltered by the human being, no longer exists, "announced in the discourse of Him Ian Burton, one of the award-winning in the area of climate change and international reference of studying its impact. "Now we must undertake adaptation to our own technology and the environment that we have created: we have to adapt to ourselves and the world we have created».
We are before the reset. The need for the human being to star a step forward. That was the idea of most interventions.
The MIT Kerry Emanuel Professor, who in the 80s predicted that global warming would increase the strength of hurricanes, recalled the audience how climate science was born "driven by curiosity", which has been "the majority engine of the great advances of science and has also given great jumps forward in technology and medicine; Jumps that nobody expected at the beginning of the investigation ».
Without basic science we would have taken a decade in the vaccine, not a year
"Without basic science," Emanuel continued, "we would have taken a decade, instead of a year, to develop vaccines against Covid who have saved millions of lives."
For its part, Rosa Menéndez, president of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CISC), made another great toast for science and spirit that has made it great, the argument to see the future with optimism: "The scientific advances needed to identify And addressing these challenges are born from curiosity, creativity and also delivery of people as the winners, to which today we appreciate this effort. "
The act, which lasted a couple of hours, had the presence of Lehendakari, Íñigo Urkullu, which closed the act and recalled the victims of the Volcano de la Palma, and the Mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, as well as outstanding members of politics, the company and the media, such as Stefania Bedogni, Director General and Counselor of Editorial Unity.
The transformation driven by information technologies was another of the highlighting global challenges at the ceremony. John Hennessy, Stanford Professor and current President of Alphabet, Google's parent company, drive together with his co-award-winning David Patterson of the microprocessors who are vital today in our day to day and feed mobile and computers, underlined the importance of cultivating A free thought, which in its case generated "anti-intuitive and sometimes" controversial ideas. " "This award," said Hennessy, "celebrates not only those ideas (...) but also perseverance, even if they call you crazy."
Humanity has never had so much responsibility as now
In another field as important and futuristic, Bernhard Schölkopf, awarded next to Isabelle Guyon and Vladimir Vapnik for his contributions in artificial intelligence, treated the opportunities and also the risks that this new technological revolution presents to us: «The machines that process information touch the Human condition more subtle than those that are limited to processing energy. We are starting to see it in many aspects: Artificial intelligence can diagnose diseases, manipulate information, influence electoral processes, even contribute to the manufacture of weapons that make autonomous decisions without having to perform accounts. "
Another of the main global challenges that has been very present at the ceremony has been that of economic crises Mark Gertler, from the University of New York, detailed in his speech how his research and that of his three colleagues in recognition (teachers Ben Bernanke, Nobuhiro Kiyotaki and John Moore) was fundamental to deal with the financial crisis of the beginning of the century and in the great recession, how hard was it in Spain.
Nor can you forget interventions from other award-winning others that have been key with imaginative and capital contributions in different disciplines, as in biomedicine, with research related to pain detection and treatment; The study of our cognitive behavior to understand ourselves and others, the musical vanguard or the fusion between science and culture, which represents like nobody, the venerable Gerald Holton, who a few months after 100 years, thanked his prize with a video.
The challenge is raised, the glove collected. Now there is a path, it may slow, because knowledge needs its deadlines, but constant insurance.
Perhaps it is enough to remember the words that Peter Shor pronounced, the great mathematician who alerted quantum computers could decipher any encrypted code, when asked what lessons we had learned: "Ask good questions can contribute as much as having answers."
Certain. Let's ask the future then.Updated Date: 22 September 2021, 18:47