Facing the challenge of a changing world: The experience of a structural biochemist
Andrew H.J. Wang
The world is evolving, and becoming more complex everyday. During the last decades, we encountered many problems due to politics, religion, resource competition, and not the least global climate change. Much of those problems are created by ourselves. The overuse of the global resources, particularly the cheap energy, is believed to be the source of global warming. We generated environmental pollution, emerging diseases, food shortage, economic chaos with wealth inequality, and aging society in the developed world but population explosion in the under-developed society. We, as scientists, can and should do something about this. The discipline of biochemistry and molecular biology is a fundamental, yet powerful scientific endeavor, which provides us the ability to face those challenges in this changing planet. Nonetheless it has been noted that during the past 30 years the science and technology have harvested the low-bearing fruit improvement of our living condition. We need to have new ideas to co-evolve with the challenge.
In this dialogue, I will share with you my over 40 years experience in structural biochemistry. As you know, structural biology and the associated fields over the past 100 years have generated many Nobel Laureates, witnessing this powerful discipline for probing the structures of complex biological systems. The three dimensional structures at atomic resolution of many important and useful biological molecules have been delineated rapidly, enabling us to visualize their structural details and to provide their biological meaning (functions). Through this effort, I hope we can assist to mitigate many problems listed above. I am certain whatever you (the audience) are studying or doing now will find its contribution in making this world better.