Dear reader, dear reader, think about who and in what ways you have communicated in the last twenty-four hours. Write Try to remember what the answer to the same question would have done ten years ago. And try to compare how our relationships have developed over this time. When was the last time you spoke on the phone with your spouse, friends, children, or even co-workers? Are you one of those people who asks if they can do this before calling via the app so as not to get in the way? How many social networks do you actively act on? An increasingly common question if you’re single or maybe not: Do you regularly use dating sites to make new connections? I ask the world’s foremost expert on the use of networks and their economic and social impact, Stanford University professor Matthew Jackson, if he has begun to examine the networks behind this whole Internet dating market. He answered me with a Californian smile: “Not yet.” To begin with, he says, he dives into macro research on the use of networks by 80 million Americans and how it can affect human decisions and behavior. Let science organize what the Spanish proverb intuits: “Tell me who you’re hanging out with and I’ll tell you who you are.”
The author of books such as the human web, Jackson was one of fourteen winners of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge awards given in Bilbao last Thursday. He ended his speech with the words: “Technology allows people to connect more than ever before, but at the same time, despite these connections, our world is getting more polarized.” While there are people and countries trying to build more meeting bridges, others are creating obstacles to destroy them. The development of these networks will determine much of the social, family, business, commercial and political structures.
Networking is in fashion. Another Stanford professor, Mark Granovetter, won the Humanities and Social Sciences award for his pioneering work on how defining weak, superficial ties between people, as he defined them, can be. For example, to find a job. On dating, this researcher explains: “The cases of close friendships that occur online before they emerge in real life are truly baffling. We don’t yet know how this will change the world, which is something we need to pay close attention to.” One day these experts’ work will be worthy of the Nobel Prize.
Since its launch in 2009, the BBVA Foundation awards, chaired by Carlos Torres, have become one of the most prestigious awards in the world. It is a privilege to watch Philip Glass, the greatest composer of the last 50 years, receive his award at the age of 85.
From the beginning, the foundation emphasized and favored research on climate change and warned of the dangers that threaten biodiversity. The award was given to Ohio University paleoclimatologists Ellen Mosley-Thomson and Lonnie Thomson, who spent a lifetime studying how climate affects glaciers in Bilbao, where thermometers hit 44 degrees on Gran Via that afternoon. And the news is unfortunately not positive. “It may be too late to save the planet, but we can still slow warming,” Professor Thomson said in his speech. Professor Drew Weissman, one of the three winners of the prize in biology and biomedicine, against the climate challenge: ) they have served to save the world».
Struggling with thought, research, and wisdom is essential to trying to transcend the short-termism and excesses of contemporary life to which we are exposed. A “movement” that can confuse us and cause us to lose perspective, as CSIC president Rosa Menéndez described it in her speech. In most cases, noise prevents people who deserve much more attention from coming forward. The fact that these awards were handed out by a Spanish institution is worth considering in a country where enormous sums of money are made with unprecedented frivolous characters created for mass consumption. Meanwhile in Spain, the best professors at our universities must immigrate to other countries – particularly the United States – if they want to advance professionally and economically.
These international awards and those awarded by the Princess of Asturias Foundation are examples. They should serve to build complicity, consensus and networks! In favor of radical support for research in Spain and professional success in activities important to the future of our planet and humanity.