WEST BERLIN—A West German physicist has begun a new effort to mobilize scientific and technical resources against some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The idea of creating a Global Challenges Network is a “crazy vision,” admitted Hans-Peter Dürr, professor of physics and director of the Werner Heisenberg Institute of Physics at the Max Planck Society in Munich. But he said that the magnitude of the problem requires a worldwide effort involving the most talented scientists.

Some 30 people from 14 countries met this summer outside Munich to form an international science and technology study group that will provide the basis for Dürr’s global network. Participants included members of several international environmental groups and representatives of various national and worldwide scientific organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Soviet Academy of Sciences and the UN Science and Technology for Development program.

Dürr’s vocal opposition to the...

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