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A year dedicated to celebrating basic science

In July 2022, a whole year devoted to celebrating basic sciences for sustainable development gets under way


Logo of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development
(Image: IUPAP)

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2022 to be the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD). This initiative is championed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) together with other international scientific unions and international scientific organisations across the world, including CERN, covering all disciplines of basic science.

In parallel, IUPAP will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its foundation in Brussels. IUPAP was established to assist the worldwide development of physics, to foster international cooperation in physics, and to help in the application of physics to solving problems of concern to humanity. IUPAP is the only global scientific union dedicated to physics, connecting physicists from all fields and all continents.

The year of festivities will start with a webcasted ceremony hosted by UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris on 8 July, where CERN will be represented by Director for International Relations Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle. The programme is being finalised and includes addresses from the President of the Republic of Honduras, the UN Secretary-General, the Director-General of UNESCO and the President of IUPAP. Former CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer, now President of the SESAME Council, will lead a high-level panel discussion on the role of science in decision-making processes, and there will be a round table with leading scientists discussing the role of basic sciences in education, the foundations of applied sciences, disruptive discoveries, serendipity, openness and inclusiveness. Finally, there will be sessions on how basic sciences, as a public good, can serve in addressing the global challenges set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and on the importance and impact of investing in basic sciences. It is expected that the closing ceremony of the IYBSSD will take place at CERN Science Gateway in September 2023.

The UN Sustainable Goals (Image: United Nations)

In the following week, from 11 to 13 July, the IUPAP Centennial Symposium will take place at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste. The organisers hope that many people will be able to participate in person, but the meeting will be fully hybrid with the possibility of active remote participation. The Symposium will include plenary talks by keynote speakers and other activities with an emphasis on aspects of IUPAP history and international collaborations – including the integration of communities from developing countries – as well as physics education and many other items consistent with the IUPAP mission.

Among the speakers are Nobel laureates Takaaki Kajita, Giorgio Parisi, Donna Strickland and William Phillips, to mention just a few. On its opening day, the Symposium will be linked via videoconference to the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP 2022) taking place in Bologna at the same time. On this occasion, Anatoly Zagorodny, President of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, will give an address to the combined meetings directly from his office in Kyiv. The IUPAP Symposium will also include several panel discussions on topics such as the underrepresentation of women and other groups, early-career researchers, science advising policy, physics outside academia, physics for development and physics education.

Remote participation: