Building the Future of Research: Equity, Internationality, and the Younger Generation

by Nicholas A. Peppas | Apr 25, 2023


I am delighted once again to greet our Sigma Xi members. This is the last column I will write in my capacity as president of Sigma Xi. By the time it is published, I will be nearing the end of my presidency, and Dr. Marija Strojnik will be taking over. I note with pleasure that a Greek will be passing the baton to a Slovenian. This small observation shows the internationality of our Society. We are home to thousands of scientists from around the world, scientists who care about what they do, how they do it, their professionalism, and their dedication to achieve something good for this world, for its citizens, and for all our patients. 

This past year, the Society has addressed a number of important concerns affecting science. We were reminded once again how crucial it is that our data are collected carefully and accurately, as well as being properly disseminated throughout the world in a way that can be clearly understood. We must both understand our scientific results and prevent the misinterpretation of those results, which has become a major problem in our society. In the end, if we are not able to communicate what our findings truly mean, then we are just as responsible as those who would misuse them. 

Another major challenge in modern science is reaching the younger generation. My recent trips to Vanderbilt University and the University of Texas at San Antonio showed me yet again that the younger generation is hungry to learn, to ask questions, and to understand how to contribute and respond to societal needs. I saw the same thing internationally in my recent trips to Romania and Portugal.

Thinking ahead to the future, I am always trying to identify new ways to attract younger scientists to Sigma Xi. I became a member of Sigma Xi exactly 50 years ago this month, as a graduate student at MIT. It was a great honor to be elected then, and I still believe it is a great honor today. Last November, I saw that same pride in the eyes of our new inductees (and their parents) at the Society’s induction ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia.
So, my final message is a simple one: Let’s reach out to more young scientists, let’s make them active members of Sigma Xi, and let’s keep building the scientific infrastructure of our world.


Nicholas A. Peppas, ScD
Sigma Xi President

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