Attendees of a physics conference in Paris last month received a high-profile welcome when French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived to give the opening remarks.
For those whose French might be a little rusty, organizers for the International Conference on High Energy Physics recently posted a translation of Sarkozy’s speech online.
In his address, Sarkozy expressed his commitment to sustain funding for basic research despite the temptation to cut back during tough economic times.
“Basic research does not focus on concrete applications, but a country that fails to give it priority is making a historic blunder," he said. "...We cannot afford to fall back on obsolete certainties. We must unremittingly strive to find new solutions and to steadily create new knowledge that will be our best weapon in fighting the recession.”
Sarkozy urged scientists to recognize their role in explaining science to the public.
“It is up to you, the scientists, to share your knowledge,” he said. “You do not lower yourselves when you express the infinitely complex in uncomplicated terms. In fact intelligence could be defined as the ability to explain complex phenomena in a straightforward way.”
Aren’t those sweet words to a science writer’s ears?
You can watch a video of the president’s speech at the ICHEP website.