(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appointed Professor Joachim von Braun as the new President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Wednesday.
Professor von Braun is Ordinary Professor of Economics and Technological Change, as well as Director of the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn in Germany.
He told Vatican Radio's Mario Galgano his goal as head of the Academy will be to seek solutions for inequality and the destruction of the environment.
Listen to the full interview:
Professor von Braun said the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has a unique role to play in the world of science because it is a "global academy" and not linked to any specific nation.
He said the 80 members composing the Academy are from different countries and religious backgrounds and many hold Nobel Prizes for their contribution to science.
This, he said, means the Academy "has become a very influential body in the world of science".
Professor von Braun said the Academy focuses on "the big issues with which humanity is confronted".
"I find it particularly important that we find solutions to the two major problems of inequality - lack of justice, hunger, and poverty - on the one hand and the destruction of the environment and nature."
He said that, because these two themes are interrelated, "academicians from diverse science backgrounds can view these problems in new ways and offer solutions to overcome them."
(Devin Sean Watkins)