Address from the next Former President

"Knowledge creation ・・・ not from single discipline, but through integration"

Hidenori Kimura (2008-2011)

  The Transdisciplinary Federation of Science and Technology was born six years ago. I was elected to be the President succeeding Professor Hiroyuki Yoshikawa who created the philosophical backbone of our activities and shaped the structure of our Federation during the infancy of our organization.I do my best to promote the activity of the Federation and strengthen our activities in the academic world of Japan.

  Our Federation is an assembly of academic societies. Now, we have 40 membership societies covering wide range of different disciplines. The net membership amounts to nearly 60,000. This is a significant number, indeed.

  An academic society is usually composed of researchers following an identical discipline. If researchers in different societies are considered to be different in their disciplines, our Federation can be said to be a very large research organization with 40 different disciplines. We know some organizations that combine several academic societies, but most of such organizations are composed of homogeneous members, i.e., such organizations are union of societies with similar disciplines. Our Federation, however, is composed of many different societies with multitude of disciplines. In other words, our Federation is much heterogeneous. We are proud of the uniqueness of our Federation in this sense. We have societies in such areas like statistics, management, applied mathematics, biology, human sciences, control and computation, information and sociology. The potential synergy of our Federation is obvious, but the problem is how to ignite its activities towards synergy and integration.

  Let me ask a question from the opposite side. What are the common disciplines that connect each membership society of our Federation? This question is equivalent to ask what is the transdisciplinary science and technology. This is actually the question we are repeatedly asking to ourselves and the question we cannot yet answer perfectly. What we can say now is that the transdisciplinary science is the science of artifacts which was born during 1930-50 after the first wave of mass production and mass consumption came to existence in the society. Technology that began to penetrate deeply into modern civilized societies needed a new science different from natural sciences that were concerned with control, network, design, human interface, systems, optimization, information etc. These new sciences have been developed in pace with the advance of modern technology, and now they are called collectively to be transdisciplinary science and technology. Thus, technology now has two sciences as its carrying vehicles: natural sciences and transdisciplinary sciences. This view on technology is very important in understanding the nature of modern technology.

  Recently, many serious issues has arisen at the interface between technology and society. It is of supremum importance to make policy on the basis of rationality, but the rationality is now divided into scientific rationality and social nationality, due to the growing complexity both in society and in science. The gap between the two rationalities is now widening. The transdisciplinary science and technology can provide good tools for dealing with the issues and bridging the gap.

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