2 November 2010

Address by the Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, E.V.Mitrofanova

Distinguished Madam Director-General, Distinguished Mr Zhores Ivanovich Alferov, Distinguished Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to UNESCO, Mrs Shi Shuyun, Distinguished colleagues, We are today gathered together here for a very notable event, which is the presentation of the UNESCO Medal for “Contribution to development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies”, awarded by an international jury to the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Zhores Alferov and to the Executive Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences of the People’s Republic of China, Professor Bai Chunli. As you all well know, science is the basis of all advanced technology and the basis of economics. We can say that practically all that humankind has at its disposal comes from the achievements of modern science. This realm is a powerful component of development. Because UNESCO well understands this, the policy of utilizing science and technology to advance development is an important part of its work. It was also in this connection that the UNESCO Medal for “Contribution to development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies” was established, and its first laureate is naturally Zhores Ivanovich Alferov, a scientist who has done so much for science and advanced technology and for the development of industry in this domain. Academician Alferov is universally acclaimed. In all countries of the world he is a welcome guest, given that his fundamental work in the realm of semiconductor heterostructures was distinguished in 2000 with the Nobel Prize for Physics and lent impetus to a great many applied developments in micro- and nano-electronics, including various laser applications, modern audio- and video-technology, mobile telephones, solar energy transformers, light-emitting diodes, fibre-optic communication, and informatics. The scientific authority of Academician Alferov is extremely high. He is an honorary doctor of many universities and an honorary member of many academies, and the recipient of many prestigious awards. Thanks to Alferov’s research, the technology of constructing semiconductor systems has reached such a level that, on the basis of heterostructures, it has proved possible to control in quite a new manner the properties of electronic and luminous flux in crystal, and we have seen the advent of a variety of completely new phenomena which are widely used today. The physics of small-scale electronic systems has come into being, along with what are known as quantum pits, quantum wires and quantum dots. And today Zhores Ivanovich Alferov is concerned with obtaining and researching the properties of reduced-scale nanostructures – of quantum wires and quantum dots. A central place in UNESCO’s activity is occupied by education, giving people the maximum opportunity to become familiar with the values, tenets and notions underlying respect of human rights and democratic freedoms, rejection of violence and the strengthening of a spirit of tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among people, groups of people, nations and States. And in this domain the efforts of Academician Alferov have yielded outstanding results. In the course of many years, Alferov has been combining scientific research with teaching, and his students – now noted scientists, prominent engineers and organizers of production – are developing in Russia and other countries the industry of advanced technology. As the scientific leader of a pilot project of federal scope involving the establishment of the biggest Russian high-tech “innograd” in Skolkovo (something akin to Silicon Valley), Alferov is resolving the strategic tasks of developing science in Russia, diversifying the economy and involving science in the economy. For us it is a great honour to welcome here such an outstanding scientist, organizer and popularizer of science as Academician Alferov. And we thank him for agreeing to address us and share his view of the outlook for the development of science in the twenty-first century. While in Russia nanotechnologies are associated with Academician Alferov, in China the person who comes to mind in this respect is certainly Professor Bai. Bai Chunli is widely known, popular and in demand in the scientific world. The scope of his research takes in the design and production of molecular nanostructures, self-assembly, new nanomaterials, molecular nanodevices, the visualization of single molecules, and the elaboration of the corresponding methods of description for nanoscale structures. As a member of various international academies, Professor Bai Chunli is an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences as well. Professor Bai is also one of the authors of the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), having written for the “Nanoscience and nanotechnologies” section an article on nanoprogrammes in Asia. I congratulate Professor Bai Chunli of the People’s Republic of China on this award and also China’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO. She is accepting the award on behalf of Professor Bai, who was unfortunately unable to come to Paris in person. I wish our laureates every success in their work for the benefit of the whole of humanity and I want to voice the hope that they will be providing further fruitful cooperation with our Organization on projects of common interest and use for all of us. Thank you for your attention.