Past President Werner Arber
Good morning everyone. I just wanted to say a few words of welcome to all the members of the Pontifical Academy, but also to those who accepted to come to present their work. The Pontifical Academy has the task to follow closely advances in sciences; it starts from mathematics to all the natural science fields, and in order to do that we come together only every second year, in the Plenary Session, as it starts today, and in the meantime, a few times per year, we have topical workshops to which we invite specialists in the field of the topic and, of course, the Academicians our members, can, if they have time, attend that and that gives usually really new input. Then the Academy makes a summary and informs the Vatican on the advance which we learnt about. I think for you it is interesting to know how this works, and since a few decades, there is a second Academy – ours in fact started several centuries ago – but we have now also a Social Science Academy because the number of questions dealing with the advance of science is also relevant to social sciences and we are very thankful for the possibility to have common topics to deal with and learn from each other.