Femto-Column: Short Essays
on Science and Humanity
Tatsuo Tabata

"Femto" is "a combining form used in the names of units of measure that are one quadrillionth (10 to minus 15) the size of the unit denoted by the base word" (Random House Webster's College Dictionary). Femto-meter, fm, is a unit suitable to express the size of atomic nuclei. Thus, "femto" is used here for the name of a very short column.
Copyright © 2002 by Tatsuo Tabata

To the Contents of Femto-Column

57. (A Special Story)
Nobel Statement "The Next Hundred Years"

On December 11, 2001, one hundred and fifty Nobel Prize laureates gathered in Stockholm and Oslo to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the prizes. One hundred and ten members among them signed the statement entitled "The Next Hundred Years," urging industrial nations to work cooperatively to solve the problems that might contribute to global terrorism and unrest in the developing world.1 The Statement can be summarized as follows:

The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation is manifestly unjust.

The only hope for the future lies in co-operative international action, legitimized by democracy. We must persist in the quest for united action to counter both global warming and a weaponized world. We urge all governments to commit to these goals that constitute steps on the way to the replacement of war by law.

John Polanyi of the University of Toronto, a 1986 chemistry laureate and the driving force of the Statement, says in the journal of American Chemical Society that the statement was released to all the leading daily newspapers of U. S. A., but that none of them reported it because of the resistance by the strong opinion in the country that the war against terrorism was a matter of the highest priority. We need to let people the world over know the Statement by every method of communication.

You can find the full text of the Statement and the list of signatories at the following URLs:

The latter site provided by Polanyi includes the pages of the Introduction and the Preamble of the Statement. The Preamble says, "September 11th's appalling terrorist attack occurred after the Statement was written." The foresight of Polanyi and other laureates who prepared the statement is wonderful.

  1. W. Kondro, "Nobel statement:Laureates plead for laws, not war," Science Vol. 294, No. 5551, p. 2455 (2001).

20 Feb 02

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