Being elected in a new position is always a nice and enjoyable recognition, also for a scientist. Once the stress and uncertainty of the election are over, the candidate can concentrate on his new duty and prepare to face the coming challenges. The difference here with politicians is that he doesn’t need to manoeuvre during his term to please his electors or own party with empty promises motivated by his wish for re-election.
This being said, I feel really honoured and happy to serve the cause of the EPS in the coming years, first as President-elect and later as President. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the EPS Council delegates who have expressed their confidence in me. A learned society like EPS could not have reached its outstanding level without the dedication, time and energy of its active members and its secretarial staff. In particular, the tremendous job of our past president Luisa Cifarelli and our current president John Dudley have transformed the EPS based on the strategy plan 2010+, creating new initiatives and looking towards the future with great projects such as the International Year of Light 2015.
We all agree that EPS as a learned society and umbrella organisation has an important role to play in promoting the advancement of physics and defending the interest of physicists in Europe. There are many challenges ahead, in particular in convincing the general public and tax payers that funding basic science and supporting education in physics is still essential, not only to better understand the fundamental laws of nature but also to establish a solid basis for applied science, technology and innovation. The importance of physics to the economy of our world and in some proportion to the social stability in an open society must be recognised. Among the great challenges it is certain that climate changes and environmental issues will dominate.
As physicists, trained in problem solving with analytical and quantitative skills, we have to bring our contribution in a constructive spirit and in a common voice. All national physical societies, small and large have to participate to this global effort and share their expertise to advise the European policy-makers. EPS, as a federation of member societies and associate institutions, can take a leading role here.
Therefore I strongly support the project of opening a supplementary secretariat in Brussels to establish closer contacts to the European institutions and encourage policies that address important scientific, environmental and societal needs. This will help, in parallel to the regular statements and position papers, to make EPS a well regarded and influential organisation. Thus let’s go to Brussels!