AAAS: High-level Dialogue between Science and Policy
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society. The 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting was held in Boston under the theme “The Beauty and Benefits of Science”. It highlighted the “unreasonable effectiveness” of the scientific enterprise in creating economic growth, solving societal problems, and satisfying the essential human drive to understand the world in which we live. Thousands of leading scientists, engineers, educators, and policy-makers interacted with each other and with hundreds of members of media. The growing number of international attendees demonstrates the global nature of this gathering. More than 150 sessions spread across 14 tracks presented at the AAAS Annual Meeting.
Dr. Felix Moesner, Prof. Eric Mazur, Mr. Koji Omi, Dr. Rita Colwell, Prof. Alexander Zehnder (left to right)
swissnex Boston took the lead and organized a high-level international dialogue on science and policy in partnership with the Consulate General of Japan and STS forum at swissnex. Participants included Dr. Rita Colwell (former NSF Director), Koji Omi (Chairman STS forum; former Science + Finance Minister of Japan), Dr. Barbara Haering (European Research and Innovation Area Board), Dr. Eric Mazur (Dean, Harvard), Dr. Alexander Zehnder (former President ETH Board), Dr. Dirk Helbing (FuturICT) and Dr. Adrian Ionescu (Guardian Angels) among the 60 participants.
Prof. Alexander Zehnder networking with Mr. Kazuo Kitahara.
This event was not simply another networking event, rather one that brings polar ends of science and technology together, opening bridges for collaboration between unlikely fellows. The speakers provided insight to advances in life sciences that stem from our needs rather than our wants as a growing planet with limited resources. I would invite any person who is the citizen of the world to attend future similar events. Thank you swissnex Boston for continued innovation.
Supported on the media side by swissnex San Francisco, EPFL organized a joint workshop together with Harvard at the AAAS Annual Meeting. The topic focused on the engineering of the nervous system, where solutions to restore sight, hearing and mobility were discussed by established experts, such as Silvestro Micera, Grégoire Courtine, Konstantina M. Stankovic, Joan Miller, and Philippe Renaud.
Prof. Dirk Helbing introducing FET Flagship candidate FuturICT.
Another delegation from FET Flagship candidate FutureICT held a meeting in the MIT MediaLab. Under the lead of Prof. Dirk Helbing, the FuturICT Scientific Coordinator, and Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland of the MIT Media Lab, speakers from Austria, Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA came together to discuss the challenges humankind will face in the future of Internet and Communications Technology.
Prof. Adrian Ionescu speaking to the high-level audience.
A delegation of EPFL, was led through a tailor-made program around Boston, primarily designed to get inspiration from the vibrating design and architectural community of the greater Boston area for the project “under one roof”, a new pavilion at the EPFL which will combine several elements, such as science and art, in the same building. The MIT LIST center for visual art, the Boston Design Museum and the startup company arcbazar were visited and led to fruitful exchanges.