Think, Lion, Think
Participants are expected to include Michel Rocard, prime minister of France from 1988 to 1991 under François Mitterrand, considered by many to be one of the most incisive politicians to hold European office in the last quarter century; philosopher and mathematician Antanas Mockus, current mayor of Bogotá, Colombia; and Joseph Stiglitz, Columbias Nobel Prizewinning economist.
The exchange between experienced politicians and academic theoreticians is at the core of the experience the symposium seeks to create. This is a place to test our intuitions against sophisticated thinking and vice versa, Bilgrami says. It is our noble hope to have a thoughtful discussion.
Columbias predecessor, Kings College, educated some of the most influential shapers of American government, among them Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton. Columbia has educated two U.S. presidents, eight Supreme Court justices, and builders of other nations, including Bhimroa Ambedkar, father of Indias constitution, and Pixley Seme, a founder of the African National Congress. So as they grapple with the fundamental issues of constitutional rule and freedoms, the symposiasts will carry forward a Columbia tradition in constitutional thinking.
In keeping with the topic of this symposium, Columbia is hosting the taping of a Fred Friendly Seminar on October 15 on the issue of liberty and terror.
Genes and Genomes: Impact on Medicine and Society
October 1617, 2003
Organizing the symposium are Joanna Rubinstein, associate dean for institutional affairs for Columbia University Health Sciences, and Thomas Jessell, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Columbias Center for Neurobiology and Behavior and a principal investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Participants are expected to include Sydney Brenner, MD, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Michael Brown, MD, winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Joseph L. Goldstein, MD, winner of the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Philip Kitcher, professor of philosophy; and Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute.
Over the next 10 to 15 years, genes and genomics will dramatically reshape the treatment of disease, the field of medicine, and society itself, says Rubinstein. Our hope is to put the groundbreaking scientific progress of recent years in context with the help of thinkers from a variety of different perspectives, including medicine, science, philosophy, human rights, and economics.
The symposium includes three sessions. The first, Genes, Genomes, and Evolution, will delve into the history of the field of genetics and the links between the development of organisms, their evolution, and the emergence of our species. Genes, Genomes, and Medicine will forecast how genomics may influence the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases, from cancer and cardiology to abnormal behavior. The final session, Genes, Genomes, and Society, will explore the broader implications of the availability of genetic information. How will genetically modified foods affect the world economy? How will insurers make use of genetic information in determining a pricing policy for medical plans? How will genetic understanding change our concepts of civilized society, human individuality, and free will?