Alberto Fernández: "I want Argentina to value its scientists"

“The rich societies are not those that have oil, silver or gold” but “those that possess knowledge”, he said Alberto Fernandez. “To be a society that advances we need to promote knowledge, scientific and technological development”, and that “cannot be done with an absent State, the State must be present promoting it”, remarked the President when he headed in the White Room of the Casa Rosada the delivery of the distinction to the Researcher of the Argentine Nation 2021, which received the doctor in Physics Daniel Raul Bes, as well as the Houssay, Houssay Trajectory and Jorge Sábato awards.

The president highlighted his purpose of “continuing to make Argentina a center of scientific and technological development as the country can be, because the raw material of science and technology are educated men and women, and we have plenty of that.”

Accompanied by the Minister of Science and Technology, Daniel Filmus, the Minister of Culture, Tristán Bauer, and by the president of the Conicet, Ana Franchi, Among other officials, Fernández said that his goal is “for Argentina to value its researchers and scientists.” He recalled that “some generation thought that Argentina was destined only to be the breadbasket of the world and was only concerned with producing raw materials and postponed scientific and technological development for many years.” And he remarked: “Things happened in the middle that allowed, for example, the development of the national industry, between 1945 and 1955, and that later some promoted that development seeking, for example, autonomy in oil matters. But they returned some years in which others believed that Argentina was destined to simply be the world’s breadbasket,” he lamented.

“There were others who said that we are not the granary but the supermarket of the world and again delayed scientific and technological development“, he added, referring to the government of former President Mauricio Macri.

The distinction to the Researcher of the Argentine Nation 2021 was awarded to Daniel Raúl Bes for his outstanding contribution in the field of nuclear physics throughout his scientific career. Bes, who also received the Houssay Lifetime Achievement Award, is 90 years old, has a doctorate in Physics from the UBA (1960), was a researcher and professor at research centers and universities in Argentina (UBA, UTN, Favaloro, Conicet, CNEA), Denmark (Niels Bohr Institute), United States (Carnegie Mellon University, University of Minnesota, Oak Ridge Laboratory, Los Alamos Laboratory), and Italy (International Center for Theoretical Physics); has more than 140 papers published in international journals and two books, Quantum Mechanics Y The Treatment of Collective Coordinates in Many-Body Systems (co-authored with J. Kurchan); He was co-founder and co-director of the magazine science today; and received the Platinum Konex Prize (1983) and the Bunge y Born Prize in Physics (1996), among other achievements. Along with the prize, Bes received a gold medal and 2,500,000 pesos. The scientist thanked the distinction and expressed his joy “because I was able to translate a feeling of trust and solidarity into the messages of congratulations, which I am very grateful for.”

Then, Minister Daniel Filmus especially highlighted the effort of the country’s researchers: “Scientists have made a special effort over the years to stay and be scientists in Argentina. Our scientists are of the highest level, but they have had to go through pendulum policies that have not allowed us to stabilize state policies in the medium and long term”. For this reason, he said, “the central policy of our government is aimed at generating state policies. Claiming the Financing Law of the National Science, Technology and Innovation System and the Knowledge Economy Law is to think of policies that do not change with electoral calendars. Science allows a fairer world, where everyone can develop, and the winners have to do with this. Our commitment is to continue supporting science and technology”, he remarked.

During the ceremony, the molecular biologist Alberto Kornblihtt for being a new member of the French Academy of Sciences as a foreign member in the Genomic Molecular and Cellular Biology section. “It is the bicentenary of the birth of Luis Pasteur, who was a member of that Academy, and was the first to carry out systematic human vaccination against rabies. When this vaccination became popular, people knocked on the door of his laboratory at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris to get vaccinated. My message is please get vaccinated”, said Kornblihtt, who is currently a professor at the UBA and a senior researcher at Conicet.

distinguished scientists

* Social Sciences (Psychology, Economics, Education Sciences, Sociology, Law, Demography, Geography, Political Sciences):
Houssay Lifetime Achievement Award: Dora Estela Celton
Houssay Award: Valeria Luciana Arza

* Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Astronomy:
Houssay Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Raúl Bes
Houssay Prize: Yanina Fasano
Jorge Saturday Award: Silvia Nair Goyanes

* Non-biological chemistry, Earth Sciences (paleontology and geology), Water and Atmosphere:
Houssay Lifetime Achievement Award: Alejandro César Olivieri
Premio Houssay: Ariel Marcelo Sarotti

* Biological Sciences (molecular, organisms and systems) and Biochemistry:
Houssay Lifetime Achievement Award: María Isabel Colombo
Premio Houssay: Natalia Wilke.

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