The next 100 years

December 7, 2001

The Nobel prize is celebrating its 100th birthday. A statement by Nobel laureates marks the occasion.

The most profound danger to world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecologies most. Their situation will be desperate and manifestly unjust. It cannot be expected, therefore, that in all cases they will be content to await the beneficence of the rich. If, then, we permit the devastating power of modern weaponry to spread through this combustible human landscape, we invite a conflagration that can engulf both rich and poor.

The only hope for the future lies in cooperative international action legitimised by democracy. It is time to turn our backs on the unilateral search for security, in which we seek to shelter behind walls. Instead we must persist in the quest for united action to counter global warming and a weaponised world. These twin goals will constitute vital components of stability as we move towards the wider degree of social justice that alone gives hope of peace. Some of the needed legal instruments are already at hand, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Convention on Climate Change, the Strategic Arms Reduction treaties, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

As concerned citizens, we urge all governments to commit to these goals that constitute steps on the way to the replacement of war by law. To survive in the world we have transformed, we must learn to think in a new way. As never before, the future of each depends on the good of all.

Zhores I. Alferov (physics, 2000) Sidney Altman (chemistry, 1989) Philip W. Anderson (physics, 1977) Oscar Arias Sanchez (peace, 1987) J. Georg Bednorz (physics, 1987) Bishop Carlos F. X. Belo (peace, 1996) Baruj Benacerraf (physiology/medicine, 1980) Hans A. Bethe (physics, 1967) James W. Black (physiology/ medicine, 1988) Guenter Blobel (physiology/medicine, 1999) Nicolaas Bloembergen (physics, 1981) Norman E. Borlaug (peace, 1970) Paul D. Boyer (chemistry, 1997) Bertram N. Brockhouse (physics, 1994) Herbert C. Brown (chemistry, 1979) Georges Charpak (physics, 1992) Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (physics, 1997) John W. Cornforth (chemistry, 1975) Francis H. C. Crick (physiology/medicine, 1962) James W. Cronin (physics, 1980) Paul J. Crutzen (chemistry, 1995) Robert F. Curl (chemistry, 1996) His Holiness The Dalai Lama (peace, 1989) Johann Deisenhofer (chemistry, 1988) Peter C. Doherty (physiology/medicine, 1996) Manfred Eigen (chemistry, 1967) Richard R. Ernst (chemistry, 1991) Leo Esaki (physics, 1973) Edmond H. Fischer (physiology/medicine, 1992) Val L. Fitch (physics, 1980) Dario Fo (literature, 1997) Robert F. Furchgott (physiology/medicine, 1998) Walter Gilbert (chemistry, 1980) Sheldon L. Glashow (physics, 1979) Mikhail S. Gorbachev (peace, 1990) Nadine Gordimer (literature, 1991) Paul Greengard (physiology/ medicine, 2000) Roger Guillemin (physiology/medicine, 1977) Herbert A. Hauptman (chemistry, 1985) Dudley R. Herschbach (chemistry, 1986) Antony Hewish (physics, 1974) Roald Hoffmann (chemistry, 1981) Gerardus 't Hooft (physics, 1999) David H. Hubel (physiology/ medicine, 1981) Robert Huber (chemistry, 1988) François Jacob (physiology/medicine, 1975) Brian D. Josephson (physics, 1973) Jerome Karle (chemistry, 1985) Wolfgang Ketterle (physics, 2001) H. Gobind Khorana (physiology/medicine, 1968) Lawrence R. Klein (economics, 1980) Klaus von Klitzing (physics, 1985) Aaron Klug (chemistry, 1982) Walter Kohn (chemistry, 1998) Herbert Kroemer (physics, 2000) Harold Kroto (chemistry, 1996) Willis E. Lamb (physics, 1955) Leon M. Lederman (physics, 1988) Yuan T. Lee (chemistry, 1986) Jean-Marie Lehn (chemistry, 1987) Rita Levi-Montalcini (physiology/medicine, 1986) William N. Lipscomb (chemistry, 1976) Alan G. MacDiarmid (chemistry, 2000) Daniel L. McFadden (economics, 2000) Cesar Milstein (physiology/medicine, 1984) Franco Modigliani (economics, 1985) Rudolf L. Moessbauer (physics, 1961) Mario J. Molina (chemistry, 1995) Ben R. Mottelson (physics, 1975) Ferid Murad (physiology/medicine, 1998) Erwin Neher (physiology/medicine, 1991) Marshall W. Nirenberg (physiology/medicine, 1968) Joseph E. Murray (physiology/medicine, 1990) Paul M. Nurse (physiology/ medicine, 2001) Max F. Perutz (chemistry, 1962) William D. Phillips (physics, 1997) John C. Polanyi (chemistry, 1986) Ilya Prigogine (chemistry, 1977) Burton Richter (physics, 1976) Heinrich Rohrer (physics, 1987) Joseph Rotblat (peace, 1995) Carlo Rubbia (physics, 1984) Bert Sakmann (physiology/medicine, 1991) Frederick Sanger (chemistry, 1958, 1980) José Saramago (literature, 1998) J. Robert Schrieffer (physics, 1972) Melvin Schwartz (physics, 1988) K. Barry Sharpless (chemistry, 2001) Richard E. Smalley (chemistry, 1996) Jack Steinberger (physics, 1988) Joseph E. Stiglitz (economics, 2001) Horst L. Stormer (physics, 1998) Henry Taube (chemistry, 1983) Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. (physics, 1993) Susumu Tonegawa (physiology/medicine, 1987) Charles H. Townes (physics, 1964) Daniel T. Tsui (physics, 1998) Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu (peace, 1984) John Vane (physiology/ medicine, 1982) John E. Walker (chemistry, 1997) Eric F. Wieschaus (physiology/medicine, 1982) Jody Williams (peace, 1997) Ahmed H. Zewail (chemistry, 1999)

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