In September 2012, at the Annual Meeting of New Champions, or “Summer Davos,” in Tianjin, China, I talked to the World Economic Forum (WEF) organizers. At last, they told me, policy leaders and others have come to appreciate that basic research underpins the innovations that nations seek to live sustainably in a finite world. What they don't yet know is how to speak the language.
That is why Scientific American, along with our sister title, Nature, has been helping identify scientific speakers and topics for the WEF meetings—and why I am particularly excited about a new initiative, the Global Agenda for Science, Technology and Innovation. It was introduced at Davos, Switzerland, this past January and will be further developed at this year's WEF September gathering in Dalian, China. The goal is to announce a set of initiatives at Davos in January 2014.
To get a sense of the complexities of bringing innovations successfully to global markets, read our second annual “State of the World's Science.” The features in the report explore how to foster productive collaborations, how well different nations exploit scientific research and how the situations differ in China and Mexico.
Awards: Digital Learning
Inspired by our special report in August, “Learning in the Digital Age,” Scientific American and Macmillan Science and Education (our parent company) held an executive summit at Google's New York City offices with more than 120 attendees. Speakers included policy leaders from the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Education; members of academia; and business community innovators.
A highlight for me was giving actor, writer and director Alan Alda a Scientific American award for educating the public about science, through such efforts as his 11-year stint hosting Scientific American Frontiers on PBS and his teaching scientists how to engage the public at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. “There's nobody more passionate about their work than scientists,” said Alda, who has pioneered the use of improvisation to help researchers better connect with their audiences. “I read Scientific American cover to cover because it's full of wonder,” he added. “It just makes me so happy to see smart people's brains at work.” Find all the videos of the event by visiting “Learning in the Digital Age” on YouTube.