Philipp Lachenmann: DELPHI Rationale


Science & Society Session at the 16th Annual International PhD Symposium in Heidelberg

18.09.2014, Berlin/ Heidelberg | The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) will be hosting its 16th annual international PhD Symposium in Heidelberg from October 23 to 25. Entitled “Inspired by Biology: Exploring Nature’s Toolbox,” the conference focuses on how scientists take advantage of innate biological features of living organisms for the development of biotechnological, medical and industrial applications. As in recent years fields including synthetic biology, genome editing and biomaterials have matured to a point where their effects on society are now evident, the symposium features – for the first time – a Science & Society Session. Funded by the Ernst Schering Foundation, the Session includes two lectures that will discuss the ethical and social implications of these issues.



The first Science & Society Session of this conference on October 24th, entitled “Creating Minimal Chemical Life in the Laboratory: Scientific Challenges, Engineering Solutions, and Social Consequences,” will be given by Dr. Marc Bedau and will concern the creation of living systems in the laboratory. The phenomenon of life is an emergent property arising from a set of complex chemical interactions, and reproducing these interactions in the lab is becoming increasingly possible due to enabling technologies inspired by evolution. His talk will address the broader implications of these technologies for society and the environment as well as the consequent social responsibilities of scientists.

Following this on October 25th, Dr. Jane Calvert will talk about the intersection of biology, engineering and design in her session entitled “Biology in Society: Interdisciplinarity, Ownership and Aesthetics.” This topic will also lead into the question of ownership and property and how this applies to engineered or re-designed living systems. Finally, she will present her work “Synthetic Aesthetics,” which brought together artists, natural and social scientists to discuss what it means to design life.

The Science & Society Sessions of the Ernst Schering Foundation look at the natural sciences from sociological, philosophical, ethical or artistic perspectives and make it possible for the participants of a scientific event to broaden their view beyond the limits of their own discipline.

“Inspired by Biology: Exploring Nature’s Toolbox”
16th annual international PhD Symposium in Heidelberg

October 23th – October 25th, 2014
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Heidelberg
Meyerhofstraße 1 | 69117 Heidelberg | Germany

Schering Science & Society Session

October 24th | 4:00 p.m.: Dr Marc Bedau,
“Creating Minimal Chemical Life in the Laboratory: Scientific Challenges, Engineering Solutions, and Social Consequences”

October 25th | 3:30 p.m.: Dr Jane Calvert,
“Biology in Society: Interdisciplinarity, Ownership and Aesthetics”

For more information, please visit the website of the symposium.

Photos: © EMBL Photo Lab