Lecture Announcement of Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Title: Mankind Faces Sunny Future and so Taiwan
Speaker: Prof. Ehud Keinan 吳迪啟南教授 (The Schulich Faculty of Chemistry, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel)
Time: 3:30 PM, May 28 (Thursday)
Place: Song-Pei Lecture Hall, Dept. of Chemistry,1F (臺大化學系一樓松柏講堂)
Contact: Mr. Elvis Chang 張芫睿先生 (02-33661145)
As a result of the population growth, humankind faces severe global challenges, including limited availability of energy, raw materials, food and fresh water, air pollution and health problems, which seem daunting because they cannot be solved on the basis of our current technologies. Since the times of Thomas Malthus (1798) till these days, ignorant prophets and cynical politicians have always come up with apocalyptic predictions and gloomy forecast for the future of humanity. In contrast, I predict that the humankind will survive on this planet for many years to come, that the above-listed challenges will be met by yet unknown technologies, and chemistry will play a central role in any solution. The future of humankind seems brighter than ever for 5 main reasons:
- The explosion of human knowledge outgrows the explosion of population.
- Science is totally unpredictable.
- Social networking grows exponentially.
- Personal liberty propagates worldwide.
- Human dignity propagates worldwide.
Our real problems are not those listed above, but rather the increasing gaps between the advanced societies and those who are left behind in the darkness of scientific and technological ignorance, in misconception and pseudo-science. It is our responsibility as scientists to help closing these gaps, at least within our own society.
Much of this analysis is relevant to Taiwan whose future, as an independent country seems brighter than ever. An analogy can be drawn between the unique transformation of the Taiwanese people in recent history and the geological processes of metamorphosis, where high temperatures and pressures may transform regular rocks and minerals into gemstones. Although the ethnic composition and cultural heritage of the people of Taiwan is no different from other nations around the Chinese expanse, geopolitical events over the past 100 years have shaped a unique society, a human gemstone that can serve as a role model for other nations worldwide.
1. Ehud Keinan, Gloomy Forecast for the Prophets of Apocalypse and Bright Forecast for Chemists. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52: 2667–2672. doi: 10.1002/anie.201209383.
2. Ehud Keinan, Effective Area. Smart Science (ISSN: 2308-0477), in press, 2015.