Technology The science ticket. Science for peace and development

The science ticket. Science for peace and development

A syringe lying on a table. (Illustrative image) (LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP)

Initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated each year around the world on the 10 November. It is an opportunity to recall UNESCO’s mandate and commitment to science.

Military budgets and dedicated research have broken records, such as recent announcements of hypersonic missiles capable of flying from 5 to 30,000 km / hour, torpedoes shooting underwater at 450 km / hour, or militarization from space.

We must not be afraid of science itself, it is the use we make of it that raises the question.

Catherine Bréchignac, former president of the National Center for Scientific Research

“People use knives to cut their meat, others to kill their neighbor. A very basic tool that gives gigantic proportions because some use it in such insane ways”, adds Catherine Bréchignac, member of the Academy of Sciences.

In his latest work, The Sardine and the Diamond, the usefulness of order and disorder published in Looking for Midi, Catherine Bréchignac refers to order and disorder in nature and in our societies. On the management of publications, in particular, those on Covid-19, she suggests having them sorted by artificial intelligence. Although competition rages on between laboratories to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, researchers continue to cooperate because, deep down, they are working for the good of humanity.

The competition within the framework of the Covid makes that we go faster. Drug companies want vaccines to be found as quickly as possible, but researchers in laboratories are working for the good of humanity.

Catherine Brechigniac

This is the case when it comes to the climate and areas of the earth such as Antarctica or the seabed, which are considered common goods of humanity.

“There is also a space treaty, signed under the auspices of the United Nations”, reminds us Jacques Arnould, in charge of space ethics within the CNES (national center for spatial studies) and author of numerous books on this question.

Illustration of an asteroid close to Earth
Illustration of an asteroid close to Earth (GETTY IMAGES)

This treaty stipulates among other things, that the exploration and use of space must be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all humanity, that the celestial bodies cannot be the object of any appropriation. , that the construction of military bases is prohibited there. And no weapon of mass destruction can be put into orbit.

But this treaty was signed in 1967, at a time when we did not see too much economic or military interest in space, which is no longer the case today. These fundamental rules are shaken, notably by the Space Act, where American citizens are allowed to commercially exploit space resources. We are talking, for example, of appropriating Psyche, an asteroid floating between Mars and Jupiter, which would contain rare metals worth 700 billion billion dollars …

On earth, we have two large territories which have been declared a common heritage of humanity, Antarctica and the seabed. Controlling Antarctica is not very easy, but it is still possible. Controlling space is even more complicated.

Jacques Arnould, from CNES

To militarize or commercialize space is obviously not for science to decide, but it is the use we make of it and “all astronauts, whether they are on board the international station or have been to the moon, have this concern for universality. Astronauts who find themselves 400 km away or on the surface of the moon see this earth and say that everything that they do must be in the service of the entire planet and to work for peace between us all “, highlighted Jacques Arnould.

“Science without conscience is the ruin of blade”, wrote Rabelais, it is more relevant than ever.

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