As President Clinton is scheduled to proclaim May 7-13, 2000 as "Global Science and Technology Week," we appreciate this opportunity to highlight a growing phenomenon that may affect and interest our nation's science teachers and their students -- that is, the globalization of science. By the "globalization" of science, we generally mean the increasing opportunity -- and the increasing need -- for the world's best scientific minds to collaborate on new discoveries and on problems facing our global society -- poverty, disease, pollution, and sustainable energy production. During Global Science and Technology Week, this Administration hopes to convey to students across the nation that all people, not just Americans, share common hopes and concerns, and that international collaboration in science is an expanding route to addressing globally shared questions. As the Russian writer and physician Anton Chekhov pointed out, "There is no national science just as there is no national multiplication table."
During this week, we encourage science educators to highlight examples of international scientific cooperation and the diversity of scientists working together to solve the complex problems of our day. While many teachers can undoubtedly name numerous cases of such efforts, we can also mention a few that might prove engaging to students. For example, a well-known example of international scientific collaboration is the International Space Station. Here, the United States is partnering with fifteen other countries to build and operate a world-class research center in the unique environment of space. The participating nations are striving to solve crucial problems in medicine, ecology and other areas of science. More information on the International Space Station can be found at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/iss/home.html.
Students can view photos of a distant star-forming region within our galaxy provided by the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, built by an international partnership of seven nations (http://www.gemini.edu/public/). Its twin, Gemini South, is under construction in northern Chile. Together, they are expected to obtain unprecedented views of stars, galaxies, and the most distant outposts of the known universe. They will allow today's scientists to collect data on astronomical events that took place billions of years ago and provide insights into the origins of the universe. In the words of Jean René Roy, chairman of the Gemini Board, "By combining resources, this international partnership has produced world-class instruments far more powerful than would have been possible for individual countries."
Another international collaboration with far reaching significance is
the Human Genome Project. This is an international scientific undertaking
that will help reveal the basis of genetic diseases such as muscular dystrophy
and Alzheimer's (http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/
International cooperation in science and technology is also strengthening the efforts to save lives that might be lost to natural disasters. Collaboration among scientists studying and monitoring volcanoes is expanding globally, thanks to the capabilities of new technologies (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/).
When contemplating the impact of international scientific cooperation on our future, we might note a vision the President shared when he addressed the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998. President Clinton pondered how our world would look 50 years from now -- when many of today's students have become scientists and engineers. The President expressed his vision of a future, "where climatic disruption has been halted; where wars on cancer and AIDS have long since been won; where humanity is safe from the destructive force of chemical and biological weapons; where our noble career of science is pursued and then advanced by children of every race and background; and where the benefits of science are broadly shared in countries both rich and poor."
During Global Science and Technology Week, we hope to emphasize that
this vision will be most fully realized through future global collaborations
of today's young people. Thus, we ask committed educators across our nation
to emphasize to young students that science is our planet's common ground,
and that scientists from all nations must continue to work together toward
its advance, for the benefit of all its people. Last, we invite the
members of the National Science Teachers Association to share with students
the Administration's recognition and commitment to the international nature
of science through the President's proclamation of May 7-13, 2000 as Global
Science and Technology Week. The proclamation, and additional information
on Global Science and Technology Week is available at