Alan MacDiarmid

The World is Becoming Smaller

Monday, 27 June 2005
15:00 - 17:00 CEST


Why is it that some countries (even countries that have no natural mineral, oil or coal resources) are more highly technologically developed than others – bearing in mind that “technological development” is not necessarily the same as “quality of life”. All countries have available the same four “raw materials” – air, water, sand (for silicon chips) and people. The obvious difference lies with “people”! (What causes this difference?) ‘Science is people’ – and science is the technology of tomorrow. As the chief executive officer of the DuPont company (one of the largest chemical companies in the world), pointed out about a year ago: DuPont expects to get about 1/3 of its revenue by the year 2015 from “things” that have not even been invented yet. Buildings do not invent things – it is the people inside the building that do the inventing. The world is rapidly becoming smaller – the world today is very different from the world five years ago and the world five years from now will be very different from the world today. Electronic communication in its various forms – emails, computers, facsimiles, video conferencing, good quality relatively inexpensive telephone services – and also increased ease and reduction in cost of travel, bring people closer together and in so doing increase the potential for collaborative creative scientific/technological development. People in different countries can collaborate almost as well as if they were in the same building – indeed a small world!

We can make use of the smaller world of today by uniting to solve the greatest problem facing all people in all countries today – how to have sufficient (non-carbon dioxide producing) energy to supply the world’s urgent energy needs by a world-wide “crash program” like the U.S. man-in-space Apollo space program. Sufficient relatively inexpensive energy will give us more relatively inexpensive water – which will result in more food for the world – thus eliminating not all but many of the greatest world problems today – war, terrorism, poverty, poor health and poor education.

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