Bridging science and sustainability 

24 October 2023 – In the heart of Belgrade, Serbia, a remarkable journey unfolds—a journey that seamlessly weaves together the realms of science, sustainability and global collaboration. At the centre of this narrative is Nebojša Nešković, a physicist of distinction and the Vice President for Science and Technology at the World Academy of Art and Science. Nešković is also the President of the Serbian Chapter of The Club of Rome. His life’s work epitomises the transformative power of multidisciplinary collaboration and serves as a testament to the possibilities that emerge when science meets sustainability. 

Nešković’s academic journey began in Belgrade, where he pursued undergraduate studies in engineering physics before embarking on a PhD in theoretical physics. His quest for knowledge led him to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, USA, where he conducted post-doctoral research. Here, he uncovered the rainbow effect in ion channelling within crystals—an achievement that reverberated through the scientific community. This discovery laid the foundation for the development of the theory of crystal rainbows, a theory that not only explained that complex phenomenon, but also inspired extensive experimentation. 

Besides, he was heading the construction of the TESLA Accelerator Installation, in the Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, in Belgrade, which is a large user infrastructure for production, acceleration and use of ion beams in science, technology, medicine and education. 

Nešković’s contributions extend beyond the laboratory. In 2015, he founded the Serbian Chapter of The Club of Rome, becoming its President. The Club of Rome’s diverse and multicultural membership and unwavering commitment to sustainable development resonated deeply with Nešković. He saw it as a platform to address pressing global issues, particularly the crisis of neoliberalism—the prevailing political and economic system. 

As the President of the Serbian Chapter, Nešković has set forth a mission to promote inclusive, balanced and sustainable development in Serbia. His dedication to bridging gaps between nations and ideologies is especially crucial in the face of historical misconceptions and Western-imposed restrictions on Serbia. He envisions the Chapter as a conduit fostering cooperation and understanding. 

For Nešković, science is not just an academic pursuit, it’s a fundamental pillar of sustainable development. He emphasises the pivotal role of basic research in addressing global challenges. He advocates for governments to invest in basic research recognising that the scientific community must shape research priorities. 

In the quest to address the complexities of the 21st century, Nešković champions a multiple-disciplinary approach. He acknowledges the impact of competing ideologies, such as neoliberalism and Chinese socialism, on global affairs. He contends that a trans-ideological approach, grounded in scientific analysis, offers a viable path forward—a path rooted in collaboration and mutual understanding. 

Nešković’s tireless efforts to connect The Club of Rome’s work with global initiatives are a testament to his commitment to advancing sustainability through science. He played a pivotal role in aligning the organisation’s objectives with the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, culminating in the proclamation of the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development (IDSSD). This achievement underscores his dedication to leveraging science as a force for positive change on a global scale. 

Looking ahead, Nešković envisions a future where The Club of Rome plays one of the central roles in IDSSD, fostering international collaboration in science and technology for sustainability. His ongoing efforts to align the World Academy and other international organizations programs with the IDSSD objectives, signify his commitment to connecting research with societal development. 

Nebojša Nešković’s journey—from theoretical physics to sustainability advocacy—is a testament to the power of multidisciplinary collaboration. His vision of science as a driving force for sustainable development and his unwavering dedication to bridging divides make him a valuable asset to The Club of Rome. As an Associate Member, he brings a wealth of expertise and a resolute commitment to addressing global challenges through the harmonious union of science and sustainability. 

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