Twentieth-century transformations prove power of science, says secretary at 69th SBPC

The essential role of science in the advancement of life in the last century demonstrates its ability to solve contemporary challenges. Jailson de Andrade, secretary of Research and Development Policies and Programs of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), attended this Sunday (16) of the opening session of the 69th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society For the Progress of Science (SBPC), in Belo Horizonte (MG).

Jailson was optimistic about the federal government’s budgetary difficulties and about the lack of commitment of world leaders to environmental issues. “After the crisis, the country and the planet can be strengthened”, he said. “We have reason to believe in the recovery because we are in a special moment of humanity. Today, we have Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Objectives, established by the United Nations.”

Another reason to believe the potential of research, in the words of the secretary, would be in transformations operated in the recent past of mankind. “The 20th century began with an average life expectancy of 40 years and ended with a rate of almost 80. There were 1.6 billion people in 1900 and 100 years later there were 7 billion people. Life and we multiply the population of the planet by four - this can only be done by the primordial role of science and technology, which managed to expand the productivity of agriculture, for example. This data arouse our optimism, now on the verge of the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

However, the planet needs to be aware that it is experiencing difficult times, under threat of non-compliance with extremely solid scientifically based treaties, such as the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “This agenda is based on the science of the best quality of our century”, he commented. “American naturalized Scottish chemist Fraser Stoddart, the 2016 Nobel Prize, has stated that the world needs more scientists in politics just to bring more thought”.

Solemnity

MCTIC’s Executive Secretary, Elton Zacarias, and the President of the Brazilian Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), Mario Neto Borges, presented the José Reis Prize for Scientific and Technological Dissemination to Reinaldo José Lopes, from Folha de S. Paulo. In its 37th edition, the competition represents a recognition to journalists, institutions or researchers who work to form a scientific culture and to popularize research activities among the general public.

The president of SBPC, Helena Nader, recalled that the state of Minas Gerais is hosting the eighth time the event. “The first was in 1951 at the former Institute of Industrial Technology in Belo Horizonte, and then there were meetings in Ouro Preto in 1956 and Poços de Caldas in 1961. The Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais [Federal University of Minas Gerais] [UFMG] in 1965, 1975, 1985 and 1997”.

Helena also commented on ExpoT&C, a free and open to the public exhibition, from Monday (17) to Saturday (22), distributed by an air-conditioned tent of a thousand square meters on the Pampulha campus of UFMG. “This is a rendering of accounts for the civil society from which tax money is being used, because all of us, universities and public institutes, are paid and financed by the contribution of each Brazilian worker. The exhibition informs the people: look where your resource is being employed”.

The dean of UFMG, Jaime Arturo Ramírez, explained the theme of the 69th Annual Meeting of the SBPC: Innovation - Diversity - Transformations. “What stands out is our incisive performance as a public institution that is compelled to constantly reinvent itself, to welcome the innovative spirit and to give back to the society that sustains it, and which both of us expect, the necessary and desired transformations Our country is going through a critical moment in its history, which requires of us reflection and direction in relation to education, science and technology, citizenship, democracy, politics and ethics”.

Also attending the ceremony were the presidents of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC), Luiz Davidovich, the National Association of Graduate Students (ANPG), Tamara Naiz, and the Financier of Studies and Projects (Finep), Marcos Cintra, of the Nuclear and Technological Development of the Brazilian Navy, Bento Costa Lima Leite de Albuquerque Junior, MCTIC's Secretary of Informatics Policy, Maximiliano Martinhão, and former ministers Clelio Campolina Diniz and Celso Pansera.

Held since 1948, with representatives of scientific societies, authorities and managers of the national science and technology system, the SBPC Meeting is a forum for the dissemination of advances in science in the various areas of knowledge and public policy debates on science and technology.

Source: MCTIC

Photo: At the UFMG campus in Belo Horizonte, SBPC holds its 69th Annual Meeting, which was attended by Secretary Jailson de Andrade.

Credit: Ascom/MCTIC