This text is a very concise rendering of an intervention I made at the Global Science Forum (GSF) of the OECD in Paris in April 2015.

Many people now, often in leading positions, consider  science only as means to achieve economic growth and to contribute to innovation. My intervention was meant to counter this narrow view of science.


Science is first and foremost a cultural human endeavour.


Curiosity is a fundamental property of human nature. Science is the prime tool we have to satisfy this urge. Students enter curricula in Science to learn what is known about the world, and those who pursue careers into research do so to contribute to extend this knowledge.

Science is also at the centre of culture in its broadest term. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a culture that does not at some point rest on some form of knowledge of the world, that is on science(1).

Ignoring the cultural value of science means to deprive it of its most important attraction force for young and less young people. And hence  to alienate its most dedicated actors. It is a weakness even in a utilitarian approach to the  contribution science brings  to society.


(1) An exception might be the discussion on the sex of the angels, provided that one considers this as culture, as it certainly rests on no observations whatsoever.