Science Diplomacy: A New Paradigm in the Post-truth world

Felix Bast


In my science outreach talks, I introduce my mother as a cat; she is like Schrodinger’s cat, a famous thought experiment in Physics. The experiment designed by the celebrated eponymous German physicist goes like this: place a cat in a box containing a radioactive substance and close the box; is the cat dead or alive? According to the principles of physics, the cat is in a ‘quantum state’, half-dead and half-alive. Such is the state of my mother; she, aged 71 years, had undergone nine open-heart surgeries in the past, living on her 3rd cardiac pacemaker, and is a cancer survivor. She is alive today thanks to a 20th-century American scientist, Wilson Greatbatch, who invented the cardiac pacemaker. If her pacemaker fails, whom I call a bionic woman is dead. I am also grateful to countless scientists around the globe who have made remarkable strides in biomedical research for her life. In 1800, the mean life expectancy of the world was only 40 years; it is now around 72.6 years, thanks to the remarkable progress our scientists have made over the last two centuries.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the majority of the problems that humanity is facing at present are global and scientific, be it climate change, ecological collapse, nuclear holocaust, overpopulation, poverty, food security and so on. In addition, the world also has the multifaceted problem of Post-truth, the disappearance of shared objective standards for truth. Put plainly, post-truth or alternative facts refer to fake news…read more on NOPR