Jean-Pierre Changeux, Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the Institut Pasteur and Collège de France, has received the World Award of Science "Albert Einstein" during the 35th Annual World Cultural Council (WCC) Award Ceremony hosted by City University of Hong Kong on 8 November 2018. To celebrate this prestigious award, the Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Alexandre Giorgini, hosted a reception at the Residence de France.
This year's citation underscored the importance of theoretical thinking in experimental medicine, a research method championed by Jean-Pierre Changeux throughout his scientific career. During his acceptance speech Jean-Pierre Changeux stressed that this award honors neuroscience, a fundamental area of research devoted to the understanding of how our brain works, how it produces rational thinking and gives access to consciousness, how we learn the symbolic systems of the social group to which we belong. Progress of knowledge must be accompanied by critical analysis of the ethical issues it raises.
"We must widen our capacity to imagine the negative aspects of scientific development as well as the positive ones; this applies to brain science as well, considering in particular the ability of modern information technologies to rival the human brain's performance".
About the World Cultural Council:
The WCC is an international organization whose goals are to promote cultural values, goodwill and philanthropy among individuals. The organization founded in 1981 and based in Mexico, has held a yearly award ceremony since 1984 by granting the Albert Einstein World Award of Science, the José Vasconcelos World Award of Education, and the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts to outstanding scientists, educators, and artists, who have contributed positively to the cultural enrichment of mankind. The members of the Council include several Nobel laureates.
The “Albert Einstein” World Award of Science was created as a means of recognition and encouragement for scientific and technological research and development. It takes into special consideration research which has brought true benefit and wellbeing to mankind.
Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux has been recognised for his exceptional scientific achievements and leadership in the field of neuroscience, and especially for his pioneering contributions to the science and understanding of neuroreceptors over the past 50 years. One of his groundbreaking discoveries revealed that the acetylcholine receptor as a model membrane receptor was one of the most central regulatory mechanisms in biology, leading to original insights concerning the chemistry of the brain and ultimately the brain-mind relationship. The WCC jury acknowledged the significant impact that Professor Changeux’s research has had on healthcare and our understanding of human neural processes. His work on the mechanism of neural networks has narrowed the gap between molecular biology and cognitive sciences.