by EMBO Fellow Jan Visser
Before it was a discipline in its own right, Molecular biology brought together individuals from multiple contributing disciplines. Naturally, those who joined in the early days had the openness of mind that allowed them to cross the boundaries of their discipline of origin. It is the same spirit that prompted some of them to subsequently cross new boundaries.
I was one of them. Having started out as a theoretical physicist, I became an EMBO Fellow in 1967-68, but soon moved on from molecules to evermore complex systems. My current interest is in human learning.
Following an extensive period of work for UNESCO as Director for Learning Without Frontiers, I established in 1999 the Learning Development Institute , or LDI for short. LDI has a highly networked structure, bringing independently based researchers and innovative thinkers and practitioners together around significant issues. LDI’s mission and activities are based on the premise that learning must be more broadly defined. It recognizes that huge uncharted areas of human learning urgently await exploration.
One of several focus areas of concern for the Institute is the development of the scientific mind (www.learndev.org/SciMind.html ). An initiative to develop open educational resources for young people around the world who are interested in the sciences is part of it (see also www.learndev.org/ScienceWorkBooks.html and Looking for volunteer Authors for Basic Books on Life Sciences) .
A growing multidisciplinary community of researchers, practitioners, thinkers and decision makers interested in Building the Scientific Mind (BtSM) has been meeting biennially since 2005 in different places around the world (The Hague, Vancouver and Cairo). The fourth colloquium in this series will be held in March 2011 in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The discussions in Stellenbosch will focus on Learning for Sustainable Futures.
President and Sr. Researcher
Learning Development Institute