Chris Essex is on the hot seat. Recently, the Department of Applied Mathematics professor was appointed Chair of the Permanent Monitoring Panel for Climate for the World Federation of Scientists (WFS).
In the role, he will advise the WFS president on the topic of climate and its scientific developments. His mandate, Essex says, is to bring back traditional scientific values where the focus is on the facts and truth rather than the sins of the personalities.
Founded in 1973 in Sicily by a group of scientists, the WFS initially looked to ease the anxieties due to the Cold War. Science was being associated with war; they wanted science to be associated with peace.
“If science is for peace then what are the good things that science can do?” Essex says. “The focus of interest is trying to figure out how to deal with big global problems of various kinds which are called in the parlance of the organization ‘planetary emergencies.’”
These emergencies include such things as pollution, threat of nuclear proliferation and cyber security.
The annual WFS meeting attracts Nobel laureates, prominent scientists and diplomats discussing what science is and what it isn’t, what can be done and what can’t.