In this interview during the opening ceremony of IYBSSD, Nicole Elleuche, Administrative Director of the European XFEL, explained why accelerating the understanding and value of basic science is essential.
XFEL and Basic science
I would really hope that we can accelerate the understanding and value of basic science, that this is really the basis for solutions for this challenging times ahead of us.
I’m managing director of the European XFEL. So European XFEL means eruopean X-ray free electron laser. And actually, we are the most brilliant X-ray source on earth. We just started Operation in 2017. It’s a huge international infrastructure of well intentioned investment. €1.5 billion euros, which a huge community of users. And we are contributing to basic science, actually.
What links can you make between your research and sustainable development?
But actually, it’s not that complicated. It should take some time to go into the details because, for example, we have the possibility to look into very, very fast and quick reactions. We can observe them and we can follow these reactions. And when you look into the topic of clean water, which is really a challenge, you know, we heard 25% of the whole of the world population have no access to clean water. So there are chemical complexes which could be used to just clean up the water and act against the bacterial, let’s say, a pollution of the water. And we are looking into these complexes, for example, and can make them more stable so that they then can be used to clean up the water, for example.
What is your dearest wish for this coming year?
I would really hope that we can accelerate the understanding and value of basic science, that this is really the basis for solutions for this challenging times ahead of us. Because we are in kind of a perma crisis, you know, and this can only be solved if we work together, if we join forces. And yeah, and for this we need basic research, basic science, and we need the funding for that. And this has to be understood. And I think we can convey the message by being here and translating basic science into applications.