Iran’s Vice President for Science Sadegh Vaez-Zadeh challenged Iranian and American scientists to help monitor and deter inappropriate “uses of scientific discoveries that cause harm,” either inadvertently by inadequate foresight or willfully by violating international norms. In response, a bilateral dialogue will be initiated on general principles to deal with such issues with an initial focus on biological research, applications of nanotechnology, use of fossil fuels, and use of cyber technology.
During a workshop titled “Science, A Gateway to Understanding” where the American team made presentations, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami urged the participants to use achievements of science to benefit all nations, increase understanding among people, and avoid destructive confrontations. A follow-on workshop, which will emphasize practical means of moving toward “understanding,” will be held in 2008.
The ninth in the series of bilateral workshops on various topics that began in the year 2000 will focus on reducing earthquake damage. It will be held in Iran in early 2008 on the topic of “adobe and unreinforced masonry structures.”
An exchange of science policy specialists between the National Academies and Sharif University will begin in 2008 with an emphasis on young professionals.
An effort to establish channels of communication between Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County Public Schools, with a counterpart secondary school in Tehran will be explored; initial steps to do so were taken during the visit.
A particularly notable aspect of the visit was the contribution of Joseph Taylor, a Nobel Laureate in physics from Princeton University. He delivered a scientific lecture to an enthusiastic audience of more than 1,000 professors and students at Sharif University with Internet connections set up throughout the country. Taylor participated in many television interviews, and he provided personal insights on the life of a scientist to the Iranian students.
The American team also had discussions with representatives of other Iranian institutions in addition to leaders of universities and research centers. One such discussion was a dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and religious scholars in the city of Qom, followed by a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili.