Address given to te Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on the occasion of their 150th anniversary in Sofia October 12 2019.


Dear President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Dear Professor Revalski, Dear Julian,

Dear Academicians and Guests,

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

To live and work in the world of science is a pleasure. It is the pleasure of observing nature; and human beings being one element of nature, observing nature means observing stars and flowers, insects and sand, oceans, waves and particles, but also people, their art, cities and societies, and the applied psychology that we call economy. To be active in science is the pleasure of observing nature and of performing experiments, but also of discovering harmonies, of understanding the beauty of the world, and of exercising one’s intellectual strengths.

To take part in the scientific endeavour is also the pleasure of being within a human community that extends over all boundaries, be they national, political, social, economic or religious. The presence today of your foreign guests from many parts of Europe or the world and from many domains of science is a symbol of this community and its solidarity.

But to be active in the world of science is also a responsibility. The responsibility of looking at the world honestly and without prejudices. The responsibility too to share the knowledge acquired through observation and experience with our fellows inhabiting the Earth. Indeed, only shared knowledge bears fruit, hidden knowledge is at best sterile.

In the world in which we live, a world in which human action impacts so deeply on the parameters of the planet and its atmosphere, this responsibility extends to sharing insistently our knowledge with those in charge of our societies to make sure that the knowledge available is used to inform and shape the decisions that will influence society and environment.

The task of bringing knowledge to society and politics is largely that of science academies. It is an important one, albeit in the midst of several others. It is your task here in Bulgaria; but also in Europe, where you address this duty together with our colleagues from all over the continent in the frame of EASAC, the European Academies Science Advisory Council.

Today’s event is a wonderful opportunity to be reminded of the joy of science, the sense of community that we share, and the responsibilities that we have in society. Thank you for providing us with this opportunity.

Please receive on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of your academy the congratulations and very warm greetings of EASAC’s Council and staff and of its member academies.


Thierry Courvoisier

EASAC President