I am, of course, deeply moved by this homage and very sorrow that health problems prevents my presence in this event. Academic life is financially not very attractive, but has many other advantages, namely, the discovery of new facts and concepts, their elaboration in full theories, and the pleasure of being a part of a vast world community. In my case, I fell in love with genetics since my first contact with Drosophila investigation as far back as 1950, therefore 68 years ago. During all this time I had the privilege of the advice and friendship of many people, starting with those from my Department (it is impossible to imagine a better workplace!), but including friends from Latin America, North America, Europe, and even more distant places in Asia and Oceania. My family, on the other hand, provided the necessary environment for a peacefull and productive life. I dedicate this homage to them.
We are living in times of deep contrasts. In one way, we have the fantastic progress in science and technology, which is advancing our knowledge about ourselves and the outside world; but simultaneously threats of several kinds have arisen from antiscience movements, especially those promoted by mythical and mystical beliefs. These movements should be firmly opposed. If there is a social institution that have significantly contributed to human happiness, this institution is science, and this fact should be clearly informed to lay persons. But science alone is not sufficient for a brighter future. It is necessary a deep engagement towards a world in which the social differences between nations and persons would be more equitable than today, leading to the goal of the maximum of happiness to the largest number of persons.
FRANCISCO M. SALZANO