In 1900, the Eminent Mathematician David Hilbert Published a List of 23 Mathematical Problems Which Collectively Set the Agenda for Mathematics in the 20th Century
In 1900, the eminent mathematician David Hilbert published a list of 23 mathematical problems which collectively set the agenda for mathematics in the 20th century.
Last Monday night, Thabo Mbeki set out South Africa's agenda for knowledge in society in the same long-sighted fashion.
Mbeki's speech ("Free knowledge for the public good", Cape Times Insight, January 19) is a model of policy agenda-setting which very few statesmen in the world could have constructed, ranging as it does from the philosophy of knowledge to the practicalities of the misuse of knowledge by the powerful.
Make no mistake, this is a big speech.
He asks us, as a society of policy makers and academics, to engage in the following "Hilbert questions":
l What does the democratisation of knowledge constitute?
l How can we create the necessary space for the creation and the unrestricted propagation of knowledge?
l What should be done to ensure universal access to knowledge? …