Martin Rees — British Scientist born on June 23, 1942,

Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS, FREng, FMedSci is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 2004 to 2012 and President of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010... (wikipedia)

Issues relating to global health and sustainability must stay high on the agenda if we are to cope with an ageing and ever-increasing population, with growing pressure on resources, and with rising global temperatures. The risks and dangers need to be assessed and then confronted.
Ironically, it is only when disaster strikes that the shuttle makes the headlines. Its routine flights attracted less media interest than unmanned probes to the planets or the images from the Hubble Telescope. The fate of Columbia (like that of Challenger in 1986) reminded us that space is still a hazardous environment.
In our interconnected world, novel technology could empower just one fanatic, or some weirdo with a mindset of those who now design computer viruses, to trigger some kind of disaster. Indeed, catastrophe could arise simply from technical misadventure - error rather than terror.
Everything, however complicated - breaking waves, migrating birds, and tropical forests - is made of atoms and obeys the equations of quantum physics. But even if those equations could be solved, they wouldn't offer the enlightenment that scientists seek. Each science has its own autonomous concepts and laws.
I'm a technological optimist in that I do believe that technology will provide solutions that will allow the world in 2050 to support 9 billion people at an acceptable standard of living. But I'm a political pessimist in that I am concerned about whether the science will be appropriately applied.