Tag Archives: Teruo Fujii

Philosophy and science in Tokyo, Japan from Dec. 1-2, 2022

I have not seen a more timely and à propos overview for a meeting/conference/congress that this one for Tokyo Forum 2022 (hosted by the University of Tokyo and South Korea’s Chey Institute for Advanced Studies),

Dialogue between Philosophy and Science: In a World Facing War, Pandemic, and Climate Change

In the face of war, a pandemic, and climate change, we cannot repeat the history of the last century, in which our ancestors headed down the road to division, global conflict, and environmental destruction.

How can we live more fully and how do we find a new common understanding about what our society should be? Tokyo Forum 2022 will tackle these questions through a series of in-depth dialogues between philosophy and science. The dialogues will weave together the latest findings and deep contemplation, and explore paths that could lead us to viable answers and solutions.

Philosophy of the 21st century must contribute to the construction of a new universality based on locality and diversity. It should be a universality that is open to co-existing with other non-human elements, such as ecosystems and nature, while severely criticizing the understanding of history that unreflectively identifies anthropocentrism with universality.

Science in the 21st century also needs to dispense with its overarching aura of supremacy and lack of self-criticism. There is a need for scientists to make efforts to demarcate their own limits. This also means reexamining what ethics means for science.

Tokyo Forum 2022 will offer multifaceted dialogues between philosophers, scientists, and scholars from various fields of study on the state and humanity in the 21st century, with a view to imagining and proposing a vision of the society we need.

Here are some details about the hybrid event from a November 4, 2022 University of Tokyo press release on EurekAlert,

The University of Tokyo and South Korea’s Chey Institute for Advanced Studies will host Tokyo Forum 2022 from Dec. 1-2, 2022. Under this year’s theme “Dialogue between Philosophy and Science,” the annual symposium will bring together philosophers, scientists and scholars in various fields from around the world for multifaceted dialogues on humanity and the state in the 21st century, while envisioning the society we need.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be held both on site at Yasuda Auditorium of the University of Tokyo and online via livestream. [emphases mine]

Keynote speakers lined up for the first day of the two-day symposium are former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos and Mariko Hasegawa, president of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan.

Other featured speakers on the event’s opening day include renowned modern thinker and author Professor Markus Gabriel of the University of Bonn, and physicist Hirosi Ooguri, director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo and professor at the California Institute of Technology, who are scheduled to participate in the high-level discussion on the dialogue between philosophy and science.

Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs will take part in a panel discussion, also on Day 1, on tackling global environmental issues with stewardship of the global commons — the stable and resilient Earth system that sustains our lives — as a global common value.

The four panel discussions slated for Day 2 will cover the role of world philosophy in addressing the problems of a globalized world; transformative change for a sustainable future by understanding the diverse values of nature and its contributions to people; the current and future impacts of autonomous robots on society; and finding collective solutions and universal values to pursue equitable and sustainable futures for humanity by looking at interconnections among various fields of inquiry.

Opening remarks will be delivered by University of Tokyo President Teruo Fujii and South Korea’s SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, on Day 1. Fujii and Chey Institute President Park In-kook will make closing remarks following the wrap-up session on the second and final day.

Tokyo Forum with its overarching theme “Shaping the Future” is held annually since 2019 to stimulate discussions on finding the best ideas for shaping the world and humanity in the face of complex situations where the conventional wisdom can no longer provide answers.

For more information about the program and speakers of Tokyo Forum 2022, visit the event website and social media accounts:

Website: https://www.tokyoforum.tc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/index.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UTokyo_forum

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UTokyo.tokyo.forum/

To register, fill out the registration form on the Tokyo Forum 2022 website (registration is free but required [emphasis mine] to attend the event): https://www.tokyo-forum-form.com/apply/audiences/en

I’m not sure how they are handling languages. I’m guessing that people are speaking in the language they choose and translations (subtitles or dubbing) are available. For anyone who may have difficulty attending due to timezone issues, there are archives for previous Tokyo Forums. Presumably 2022 will be added at some point in the future.

“Brute force” technique for biomolecular information processing

The research is being announced by the University of Tokyo but there is definitely a French flavour to this project. From a June 20, 2016 news item on ScienceDaily,

A Franco-Japanese research group at the University of Tokyo has developed a new “brute force” technique to test thousands of biochemical reactions at once and quickly home in on the range of conditions where they work best. Until now, optimizing such biomolecular systems, which can be applied for example to diagnostics, would have required months or years of trial and error experiments, but with this new technique that could be shortened to days.

A June 20, 2016 University of Tokyo news release on EurekAlert, which originated the news item, describes the project in more detail,

“We are interested in programming complex biochemical systems so that they can process information in a way that is analogous to electronic devices. If you could obtain a high-resolution map of all possible combinations of reaction conditions and their corresponding outcomes, the development of such reactions for specific purposes like diagnostic tests would be quicker than it is today,” explains Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) researcher Yannick Rondelez at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) [located at the University of Tokyo].

“Currently researchers use a combination of computer simulations and painstaking experiments. However, while simulations can test millions of conditions, they are based on assumptions about how molecules behave and may not reflect the full detail of reality. On the other hand, testing all possible conditions, even for a relatively simple design, is a daunting job.”

Rondelez and his colleagues at the Laboratory for Integrated Micro-Mechanical Systems (LIMMS), a 20-year collaboration between the IIS and the French CNRS, demonstrated a system that can test ten thousand different biochemical reaction conditions at once. Working with the IIS Applied Microfluidic Laboratory of Professor Teruo Fujii, they developed a platform to generate a myriad of micrometer-sized droplets containing random concentrations of reagents and then sandwich a single layer of them between glass slides. Fluorescent markers combined with the reagents are automatically read by a microscope to determine the precise concentrations in each droplet and also observe how the reaction proceeds.

“It was difficult to fine-tune the device at first,” explains Dr Anthony Genot, a CNRS researcher at LIMMS. “We needed to create generate thousands of droplets containing reagents within a precise range of concentrations to produce high resolution maps of the reactions we were studying. We expected that this would be challenging. But one unanticipated difficulty was immobilizing the droplets for the several days it took for some reactions to unfold. It took a lot of testing to create a glass chamber design that was airtight and firmly held the droplets in place.” Overall, it took nearly two years to fine-tune the device until the researchers could get their droplet experiment to run smoothly.

Seeing the new system producing results was revelatory. “You start with a screen full of randomly-colored dots, and then suddenly the computer rearranges them into a beautiful high-resolution map, revealing hidden information about the reaction dynamics. Seeing them all slide into place to produce something that had only ever been seen before through simulation was almost magical,” enthuses Rondelez.

“The map can tell us not only about the best conditions of biochemical reactions, it can also tell us about how the molecules behave in certain conditions. Using this map we’ve already found a molecular behavior that had been predicted theoretically, but had not been shown experimentally. With our technique we can explore how molecules talk to each other in test tube conditions. Ultimately, we hope to illuminate the intimate machinery of living molecular systems like ourselves,” says Rondelez.

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

High-resolution mapping of bifurcations in nonlinear biochemical circuits by A. J. Genot, A. Baccouche, R. Sieskind, N. Aubert-Kato, N. Bredeche, J. F. Bartolo, V. Taly, T. Fujii, & Y. Rondelez. Nature Chemistry (2016)
doi:10.1038/nchem.2544 Published online 20 June 2016

This paper is behind a paywall.