Basic Science for Human Development, Peace and Planetary Health

Proceedings of the Plenary Session | 8-10 November 2022
J. von Braun, P.K.A. Turkson, E. van Dishoeck, F. Gianotti, M.H.A. Hassan, E.M. De Robertis, C.J. Chen, V. Ramanathan and J. Mittelstraß (eds)
Acta 27 | Vatican City 2023


Address to Pope Francis

Joachim von Braun | PAS President

The black hole at the center of the galaxy

Reinhard Genzel | PAS Academician

SESSION I – Astronomy for human development, peace, and planetary health

Testing relativistic gravity with radio astronomy

Michael Kramer | Director, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Germany

How was our Milky Way formed?

Amina Helmi | Full Professor, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

How to make a habitable planet

Karin Öberg | Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University, USA


Didier Queloz | Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy, University of Cambridge, UK

SESSION II – Physics and biophysics for human development, peace, and planetary health

Solar activity and earth’s phenomena

Francisca Nneka Okeke | Professor of Physics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

SESSION III – Mathematics and AI for human development, peace, and planetary health

Using AI to accelerate scientific discovery

Demis Hassabis | Pius XI Medalist 2020

On Platonism in Mathematics

Peter Scholze | Pius XI Medalist 2020

Africa’s brightest young minds: The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and its impact on development on the continent

Batmanathan Dayanand Reddy | Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Mathematics at heart of technological breakthroughs

Mérouane Debbah | Chief, Research at the Technology Innovation Institute, Abu Dhabi, Professor at CentraleSupélec, Paris, France

SESSION IV – Chemistry/Bio-Chemistry for human development, peace, and planetary health

Innovation by evolution: bringing new chemistry to life

Frances Hamilton Arnold | PAS Academician

Modeling the human brain in development and disease

Jürgen A. Knoblich | PAS Academician

Science during the pandemic: a journey from basic redox biochemistry to Covid-19 national public health advice

Rafael Radi | Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Director of the Center for Biomedical Research (CEINBIO), Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Horizontal gene transfer in the context of a rich biodiversity

Werner Arber | PAS President Emeritus for Life

SESSION V – Life Sciences and Medical science for human development, peace, and planetary health

Current State of Organ Transplantation

James F. Markmann MD, PhD | Chief of the Division of Transplant Surgery and Director of Clinical Operations at the Transplant Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Claude Welch Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School, USA

SESSION VI – Atmospheric Science, and Climate Science for human development, peace, and planetary health

Saving the World by Construction

Hans J. Schellnhuber | PAS Academician

SESSION VII – Science in philosophical and religious perspectives. Session in Honor of H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Former Chancellor, The Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Beyond Galileo: facts, values, and historical joints

Flavia Marcacci | Professor of History of Scientific Thought, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome, Italy

Three philosophical paths beyond scientism

H.E. Bishop Robert Barron | Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Science in philosophical and religious perspectives

Rev. Antje Jackelén | The Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden, and Primate, Church of Sweden

On sciences for human development, peace, and planetary health – Perspectives from the Holy See

H.E. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher | Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations within the Holy See’s Secretariat of State

Words of Appreciation

H.Em. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re | Dean of the College of Cardinals


Commemoration of Yves Coppens

Zeresenay Alemseged | PAS Academician

Commemoration of Paul Crutzen

V. (Ram) Ramanathan | PAS Academician

Commemoration of Beatriz Mintz

Helen M. Blau | PAS Academician

Commemoration of Enrico Berti

Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

Commemoration of Michael Sela

Aaron Ciechanover | PAS Academician

Self-Presentation of New Academicians


Zeresenay Alemseged | Donald N. Pritzker Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, USA


Chien-Jen Chen | Professor, Graduate Institute of Epidemiology, National Taiwan University College of Public Health


Ewine F. van Dishoeck | Professor of Molecular Astrophysics, Leiden University, The Netherlands


Jennifer A. Doudna | Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology, Dept. of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, USA


Elaine Fuchs | Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor of the Rockefeller University, USA


Edith Heard | Director General of European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg, Germany and Professor at Collège de France


Jane Lubchenco | Distinguished University Professor, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, and Deputy Director for Climate and Environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, USA


Susan Solomon | Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT, USA