Turkey should contribute more to science: Nobel laureate

Turkey should contribute more to science: Nobel laureate

Nuran Çakmakçı – ISTANBUL
Turkey should contribute more to science: Nobel laureate Nobel laureate Aziz Sancar has criticized the poor record of Turkey and the Islamic world regarding science over the past five centuries, calling for the creation of a “scientific tradition” through better education. 

“I don’t know the reason why, but it is a fact. We need to recognize this fact, investigate its cause, and seek a solution,” Sancar told daily Hürriyet, speaking after attending an Istanbul conference on strengthening girls’ involvement in STEM – a curriculum based on educating students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He said Jewish individuals had won 20 Nobel prizes, despite Jews making up only two percent of the world’s population, “because they value science and education.” 

Sancar stressed the importance of creating respect for a “scientific tradition.”

“Doing science is not a matter of genetics or intelligence, but of tradition. We need to create this tradition and engrain it in our children from an early age,” he said, urging social scientists to conduct studies on why Turkey lagged behind in creating such a tradition. 

Sancar, who currently works at the University of North Carolina, was among three scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their work on DNA repair. He won the prize along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich for their work in mapping cells that repair ultraviolet damage to DNA. The research marks an important step in the quest to beat cancer.