27th May 2015

Hungarian President János Áder's greeting to ICOSSE’15 conference, co-organized by the University of Pannonia and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Esteemed Rector,
Distinguished Conference,

Hungarian born Nobel Laureate scientist Jenő Wigner was still in high school, when he told his parents that he wanted to be a theoretical physicist. His practical minded father asked him with curiosity, how many such jobs there were in Hungary? The young Wigner responded candidly: perhaps two or three. His father gave it some more thought, then enrolled him at university, but to study chemical engineering. As he said, that was more a “down-to-earth” profession.

It would be difficult to argue with this strict father and his studies were to the benefit of the young man, because chemistry is indeed a down-to-earth discipline.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

My cordial greetings to the participants of the ICOSSE’15 conference, co-organized by the University of Pannonia and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Since the beginnings of time, science has been seeking and finding answers to the most pressing issues of humanity. It would be too long to list all the devices that have improved the quality of life, innovations that have changed destiny and all the ambitious technologies that we owe to the work of chemical engineers.

However, the responsibility of science does not stop with the first response found. The passing of time may make earlier solutions obsolete. Whatever Man may have created in the interest of development, may turn on us a few years or a few decades later. It places greater burden on the environment than before, its characteristics change with time, or side-effects surface that we never thought of.

Just remember the revolution of CFC gases, and the detrimental impact they caused in the ozone layer a few decades later.

There is another even more everyday problem: every year we produce about one billion PVC-bags. Producing them is cheap and takes a moment. We then use these bags for about 20 minutes. Then expect Nature to spend 200 or perhaps even 1000 years to break them down.


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