The curricula of all the Full Professors who have expressed the wish to belong to the A.S.N. Commission have been published on the M.I.U.R. (Italian Ministry for Education, Universities and Research) website. It emerges that there are roughly three thousand Full Professors with the scientific qualifications required to be selected as Commissioners.
On the basis of the definition of "scientist" provided by the Physicist Edoardo Amaldi, who believes that the authors or co-authors of scientific works cited in scientific publications may be deemed “scientists”, the Full Professors qualified to act as Commissioners of the A.S.N. may be considered fully-fledged Scientists. This category should also include all other Scientists who are not Full Professors, including the country’s best Associate Professors and Researchers.
Since their curricula are published within the public domain, the three thousand qualified Full Professors may form the basis upon which to build an Association of Scientists capable of furthering and disseminating knowledge, with a view to promoting maximum circulation of best practices and results so as to strengthen both their accessibility and correct use, also by means of the establishment and diffusion of high standards of integrity of scientific research and in constant compliance with gender balance.
We think that in Italy there is a need to create an Association of Scientists, capable, inter alia, of informing the authorities as well as government and state institutions regarding the consequences of anti-scientific decisions and measures. In the early 1950s, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell signed a manifesto to prevent nuclear war, which led to the Pugwash Conferences, and fostered agreements of nuclear non-proliferation. For this, the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affair was joint winner of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with Joseph Rotblat.
Today, as in the case of Pugwash, it is necessary to reaffirm the value of the contribution of scholars to the resolution of the great problems of post-modern society and create channels of communication between governments and scientific communities, to show that science makes an indispensable contribution towards the survival and prosperity of humanity (see NATURE 572, 153, 2019).
Each of us, in our own area of expertise, is well aware of the mistakes that are made daily. Regarding the environment and climate, for example, the need to reduce CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases is scientifically proven, but far too often governments still make decisions that go in the opposite direction. We need to reduce CO2 drastically by 2030 and eliminate it by 2050. The medical sciences have unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of vaccines, but sometimes politics jumps onto the bandwagon of anti-scientific belief. Some politicians claim that retirement of the elderly favours recruitment of the young, while it is demonstrated that high employment rates of the elderly is accompanied by high employment rate of young people. Scientists need to help politicians make the right choices, so that no mistakes be made for which the new generations of citizens may be obliged to pay.
Nobel Laureate for Medicine, Prof. Louis J. IGNARRO, of Italian parentage, will be the Honorary President of the Italian Scientists Association (ISA), whose goal it is to foster the progress of science and help politicians understand the consequences of their choices.