6 Plenary Lectures

Six outstanding interdisciplinary lectures given by renowned international scientists, followed by a debate with the audience.

Monday 3 June

8:30 - 9:15am
Some Current Challenges in Science Policy
Chairman: Yassine Lakhnech

Four major challenges/opportunities will influence the progress of science in the coming decades.  These are (a) the rising scientific and economic capabilities of Asia, (b) the very large cost of some major scientific facilities, (c) the need for geographical dispersion of facilities for some research, and (d) the ease of scientific collaboration across continents.  How the United States and Europe respond to these changes will impact global science and will have other important consequences.  It remains to be seen whether the US will be a true partner in major international facilities and how it will respond to the growing Asian capabilities.  Grenoble’s Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) offer outstanding models of international cooperation in the development, operation and improvement of major scientific facilities, albeit with governance and administrative complexities.
Special Assistant to the President for Federal Research Policy & Associate Director, Wallenberg Research Link - Stanford University

Arthur Bienenstock is Special Assistant to the President of Stanford University for Federal Research Policy & Associate Director, Wallenberg Research Link. He is a former president of the American Physical Society, serving in that role in 2008. He is also the former director (1978–1997) of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. He was Vice Provost and Dean of Research at Stanford University from 2003 until 2006.  He served as Associate Director for Science of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 11/1997 to 1/2001 and presently serves as a member of the National Science Board, having been appointed by President Obama in 2012.
9:15 - 10:00am
What would it take to build on Mars?
Chairman: Pierre Benech

The human race is currently actively exploring our solar system and will need to develop infrastructure outside of our planet. In this talk, we will explore what would it take to continue to explore our solar system --and beyond-- from a technological stand point. We will look at the opportunities from new materials to 3D printing to artificial intelligence to drilling, on our quest to explore and build new worlds.
Jose E. AndradeJose E. ANDRADE
George W. Housner Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering & Cecil and Sally Drinkward Leadership Chair – Caltech

José E. Andrade is a professor of civil and mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, where he holds the George W. Housner professorship and a Cecil and Sally Drinkward Leadership Chair. In January 2016, he became the Executive Officer for Mechanical and Civil Engineering. In 2017, he received the Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award. The following year, he was awarded the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize.

Tuesday 4 June

8:30 - 9:15am
Finding repeating patterns: A key to intelligence in man and machine?
Chairman: Jean-Luc Schwartz

Humans are incredibly good at spotting repeating patterns. For example, when presented with a stream of novel images at rates of up to 120 frames a second, an image repeated between 2 and 5 times can subsequently be picked out of a set of four images - where the other 3 have all been seen just once (Thunell & Thorpe, in press). Similarly impressive levels of performance have been seen with auditory snippets presented at rates of 20 per second - again, a few repeats are enough to make the sound easy to pick out.  This suggests that this ability to detect patterns that repeat is a general feature of the brain. Parallel modelling work has shown that a modified Spike-Time Dependent Plasticity Rule using binary synapses can allow neurons to learn to detect repeating patterns, again with only a few repeats, and these ideas have been been validated using artificial systems with thousands of neurones. We would like to suggest that this sort of unsupervised learning could be a key to biological intelligence, and could provide a radical alternative to the supervised deep learning techniques that currently dominate the field.
Simon ThorpeSimon THORPE
Director of the Toulouse Mind & Brain Institute and Brain & Cognition Research Center (CerCo)

Simon Thorpe’s research is a mix of neurophysiolgy, psychophyiscs, computer modelling and theoretical work. He is currently half way through a 5 year ERC advanced grant called “The M4 project : Memory Mechanisms in Man and Machine”, which aims to understand how we can store sensory memories that can last for an entire lifetime. The main hypothesis is that we store memories in “grandmother cells” that can remain totally silent for months or years – neocortical dark matter. Recruited by the CNRS in 1983, he moved from Paris to Toulouse in 1993 to help create the Brain & Cognition Research Center (CerCo). He became the lab director in 2014, and also took over the direction of the Toulouse Mind & Brain Institute and Brain in January 2016.
9:15 - 10:00am
Heritage sciences between nature and culture
Science du patrimoine entre nature et culture
Chairwoman: Laurence Rivière

The heritage movement that affects contemporary society has continued to expand, but the notion of heritage has also diversified. One of its main divisions has been based on the opposition between cultural heritage and natural heritage, social sciences and humanities, and natural sciences. In this conference, I will examine the meaning of the boundary between nature and culture in the context of heritage sciences. I suggest that the apparent symmetry and simplicity of this division conceals important theoretical and practical issues in this field. Are these two areas subject to different modes of scientific knowledge? Or different public policies? Do they have a different ontological value? It is possible that this division is actually the projection of a Western worldview, which partly masks the consistency expressed by the use of the concept of heritage and heritage sciences in the contemporary world.
Etienne AnheimEtienne ANHEIM
Director of studies, Centre de Recherches Historiques, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Etienne Anheim, born in 1973, is director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), director of EHESS Edition and vice chair of the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine. His researches concern mainly culture and arts history in Europe at the end of the middle age and at the Renaissance period. He works also on the interdisciplinary approach of artistic materiality, in the context of the Laboratory of excellence « Patrimoines matériels » and the major interest area « Matériaux anciens et patrimoniaux ». Regular collaborator of Le Monde and France Culture, he published many scientific articles and books as Clément VI au travail. Lire, écrire, prêcher au XIVe siècle (in 2014) and Le travail de l’histoire (in 2018), by Editions de la Sorbonne.

*This plenary lecture will be held in French and will offer a simultaneous translation

Thursday 6 June

8:30 - 9:15am
Glycobiology, new perspectives for neuroscience
Chairwoman: Anne Imberty

Our research focuses at enzymes along glycosylation pathways. We identified central factors in these pathways and established unique tools to study glycotopes. Mouse models have been generated to analyze glycan functions at systems level and we currently focus at using these tools in therapeutic approaches. Glycobiochemistry, Vaccine development, Enzymology and enzyme engineering, Lectins Biomaterials.
Head of Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Hannover Medical School

Prof Rita Gerardy-Schahn is the head of the Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, at Hannover Medical School of (DE). Her research at the interface of carbohydrate biochemistry and neuroscience unravel the role of sialic acid in the centran nervous system. She also conducts an inter-institute project on Polysialic acid: A new scaffold material for nerve transplants.
9:15 - 10:00am
How risk science can support decision-making under uncertainty
Chairman: Didier Georges

In this talk Professor Aven will discuss the scope and use of risk science to improve our understanding, assessment, perception, communication, management and governance of risk. He will show how this science can support risk knowledge generation for real life activities and and other sciences (related to for example engineering, natural hazards,  finance and medicine), and tackling risk problems, through developments of suitable concepts, principles, approaches, methods and models. Specific examples will be used to illustrate the discussion, including climate change risk and the challenge of determining what are the biggest risks.
Terje AVENTerje AVEN
Professor of Risk Analysis and Risk Management at the University of Stavanger

Terje Aven is Professor of Risk Analysis and Risk Management at the University of Stavanger, Norway, He has many years of experience as a risk analyst and consultant in industry, and is the author of many books and papers covering a broad range of risk science topics.  He has served as the Chair of the European Safety and Reliability Association (ESRA) and as the President of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) worldwide.  He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Risk and Reliability, and Associate editor for Risk Analysis.

Published on May 14, 2019