World laureates to discuss technology and share insights in Shanghai

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More than 40 Nobel laureates are in Shanghai for the 2019 World Laureates Forum, which begins today. The laureates will discuss the latest in science and technology, including artificial intelligence, neurodegenerative diseases and the discovery of new drugs.

The organizers of the forum at Pudong’s Lingang New Area have invited winners of the Nobel Prize, Wolf Prize, Lasker Prize, Turing Award, MacArthur Fellowship and Fields Medal to brainstorm on “technology for the common destiny of mankind.”

Academicians, young scientists, entrepreneurs and financiers from industries related to science and technology will participate in the forum as well. Compared with last year, this year’s forum, which ends on Thursday, has a larger size, more diverse participants and broader social influence.

Gregg Semenza, a 2019 Nobel Prize winner in medicine, who is on his third visit to China, said in the future scientists will pay more attention to prophylactic drugs. Semenza said besides his field of research in biomedicine he enjoys astronomy and blackhole.

He said he is looking forward to meeting fellow scientists and experts at the forum near Dishui Lake.

Aaron Ciechanover, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004, believes the next medical revolution to provide personalized and customized medical services will ensure a much longer lifespan for human beings.

The 72-year-old Israeli biochemist said they can now detect diseases from people’s DNA and give personalized treatment according to the characteristics of the DNA.

The second WLA Young Scientists Forum will be held today while the International “Big Science” Projects Strategic Dialogue and eight other forums will be held tomorrow.

The WLA Mobius Forum is scheduled for Thursday. Participants will discuss the future of science and the advances made in technological innovation.

All the spotlight yesterday was on William Kaelin Jr., this year’s Nobel Prize winner in medicine.

Kaelin urged scientists to do a better job as a community.

“I think scientists, artists and educators should try to be citizens of the world, to share ideas and information. I think this is a very exciting conference in that regard,” said Kaelin.

He said it is always exciting to meet youngsters who will shape the future.

“I’m here primarily because I welcome the opportunity to interact with the young people, I hope I can be helpful some way,” he said.

Kaelin told Shanghai Daily that he hadn’t decided how to spend the Nobel prize money but said he may donate part of the money to charity.

While expressing his excitement and anticipation, Kaelin pointedly said there are a good number of scientists who would “cut corners … or maybe not careful as they should be, or simply overinterpret their findings.”

“It’s not about producing a result that is going to make me happy, it’s about producing results that are hopefully true that other people can build upon,” Kaelin argued.

Michael Levitt, who attended the forum last year, addressed similar observations on the role of young scientists.

“Science is a bit strange because the old people are sitting in a chair, giving advice,” the 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry told Shanghai Daily. “The job of the old people is to make life easier for young people, to give them opportunities and resources.”

Last year, Levitt spoke in detail about why youth matters. This year, ahead of the forum, he again encouraged young scientists to do something they would enjoy.

“Don’t do something that you think is going to be important, because the important things are always surprising,” he said.

By Xu Lingchao and Ke Jiayun
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