Why do people have different abilities and aptitudes? How do people feel joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure? What makes people act the way people do? Here is the answer! World Science Forum 2008 Seoul.
World Science Forum was held for the first time at Sheraton Walker Hill hotel in Seoul from April 28th through 30th. Twenty five speakers who are great scholars of the field of science and brain participated in this forum. A lot of people attended the opening ceremony including president Lee Myung-bak. He offered a vision for our country becoming a strong science and technology power in the congratulatory address.
The forum was addressing popularization of science. When deciding the ranking of a nation the most important thing is the degree of development in science. Thus, the growth of science is essential. It is not only researches but also general public's consciousness in science that is important.
The brain as the source of creativity was the main topic of the forum. The reason why brain was chosen as a main subject was because the brain is the most important part of our body and has many riddles still to be solved. Melancholia, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the illness of the brain and therefore studying about brain is important in understanding men's behavior.
In the future, brain power will be the key and this is why many experts, both at home and abroad, and general public met for a conversation about our brains in this forum.
Gerald M. Edelman who won the Nobel prize in 1972, gave a keynote lecture "From brain dynamics to consciousness: How matter becomes imagination." He said that man's intelligence is great because men have imagination. Artificial intelligence can not win over the intelligence of men. Also Cho Zang-hee who developed first PET scanner (Positron Emission Tomographic: similar to MRI, X-ray and CT), talked about the possibility of curing mental disease through a brain scanner in keynote speech.
The most popular lecture was French writer Bernard Werver's, author of best sellers such as Pappillon and The ants. He thought the brain is the source of the all desires. The brain pushes us to pursue a comfortable life, devotes ourselves to our duties, makes us get angry in the face of injustice and fall helplessly and passionately in love.
His lecture was entitled 'Ultimate Secret'. He said that "after 1000years, men will communicate with others by telepathy." He stressed that human beings in the true sense of the word have to know the meaning of life in harmony and have to pursue that life. Human beings do not existed in this earth yet. He was also asked about the condition of a bright brain. He answered that the brain which can satisfy present situation is the best.
After he finished the lecture, one student said that he was happy because he attended his lecture. He added, "I thought his lecture was useful and interesting. His unique and amazing imagination seemed to have no limitation. Now, I know why many people are crazy about his books."
Another noticeable lecturer was Ron Reagan who was a son of the late U.S President Ronald Reagon (1981-89). He made a speech entitled "A message of hope from Reagan on Alzheimer's disease".
He said that Alzheimer's disease is terrible experience: "It was very painful to watch a family member losing his memory. From my experience, I learned that a family's endless concern and love are the most important things to a patient. Only love can overcome the suffering." This he has realized after spending ten painful but valuable years with his dying father.
Part of the forum addressed science high school students who have a talent for science. It was entitled "Future scientists meet the mentors". This program was a meaningful opportunity for students to meet great scholars and share opinions with them. The student's eyes twinkle brightly while conversing directly with the great scholars. They said that they could understand science more easily and have more confidence in science because of the conversation. Scholars also had a good time.
In addition, many lectures were prepared about mind. 'Learning-Making Smart Brains', 'Visions of Hope for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease', 'Intelligence! Learned or Hereditary?', 'Neuroscience Meets Humanities', 'Artificial Intelligence-Connecting Brain and Machine', 'The Science of the Mind, Consciousness' and 'Neuroscience becomes a Social Science: Neuroeconomics & Neuro-Marketing'.
The World Science Forum 2008 Seoul was very successful. Because of the many great scholars participating, the forum received excellent academic appraisals. The general public took part in various events so people who were indifferent to science and had difficulty in studying science before now had a new appreciation and interest in science.
It is our hope that science forums like this will continue to be held. Through forums like this, we can share great vision and insight that will help our nation become a great science power.
Lee Soo-jin reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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