The 1992 Kyoto Prize
11 /11 Wed
Place：Kyoto International Conference Center
The 1992 Kyoto Prize Kyoto Prize Laureates
A Computer Engineer Looks Back
Abstract of the lecture
The author took his bachelor's degree in 1934. He then joined the Cavendish Laboratory as a research student and worked on the propagation of radio waves in the ionosphere. In 1937 the University of Cambridge took the decision to establish a computer laboratory with the intention of equipping it with desk calculating machines and the latest analogue machines. The author was involved in this planning, but World War II broke out before the laboratory could be opened and he left for war service. On his return, in 1945 he was appointed head of the laboratory. He visited Philadelphia in the late summer of 1946 and learnt from Dr. Presper Eckert and Dr. John Mauchly all that was then to be known about the new subject of stored program digital computers. At that time no stored program computer had been built. On his return to Cambridge, the author established a project for the construction of a computer known as the EDSAC. The lecture includes some remarks on how the task of building a stored program computer appeared to an experienced electronic engineer at a time when no such computer had yet been built. The EDSAC began to work in 1949 and the team turned its attention to the development of programming methods and the application of the machine in as many different scientific fields as possible. In 1951 the author, jointly with D. J. Wheeler and S. Gill, wrote the first book on computer programming to be published. The lecture contains a short account of the origins of microprogramming and goes on to describe later developments in the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge. The author was asked to address a few words to young people at the beginning of their careers; however, the world changes so much during a man's lifetime that he does not feel that he has much to offer by way of advice. A young person should listen carefully to what older people have to say, but he may well find that their remarks have a limited relevance to the situation as it exists today.
“Communication” in Science
Abstract of the lecture
A chronicle delineating the career of one who has dedicated his or her life to scientific work normally consists of a series of fortunate incidents involving nature as well as many converging paths shared with other scientists, and in retrospect on several decades, numerous episodes of both joy and sorrow will have been woven into his or her scientific life. Of the natural sciences, the life sciences in particular deal with phenomena far too complex, excepting the immobile, inanimate matter, and it is not simple for the individual researcher to command the vast amount of heterogeneous information involved. There is, naturally, little that one can do by oneself. For this reason, leaning from other scientists, just as learning from nature, is of incalculably great significance. Today, the word "communication" is on everybody's lips. In fact, the research area that is related to "communication" is becoming more and more important in the life sciences. The human body normally consists of trillions of cells, and these cells are all the time communicating with one another. Our lives are made possible by superbly controlled and well-coordinated cell-to-cell communications, such as those between the brain cell function and muscle cell contraction, the heart beat and blood pressure control, and so on. In physiological processes, numerous biologically active substances including hormones and neurotransmitters facilitate smooth functioning, acting as lubricants, so to speak. In the past, researchers might comprehend only certain aspects of the fundamental processes commonly observed in all of such a vast number of cell populations. At present, we are becoming aware of the molecular mechanisms of an elaborate network of cell-to-cell communications. These endeavors are motivated by the fact that malfunctions of these cell-to-cell communications may result in the development of diseases such as cancer, memory defects, and heart diseases. It is now clear that elucidation of the mechanisms involved in such physiologically important communications will facilitate progress in the treatment and prevention of the ailments affecting our daily life. Many things are needed to undertake research work and make it a success. But there is one indispensable element: communication with scientists struggling with the riddles of nature, both at home and abroad throughout this wide world, is a must. I shall be extremely happy if I can present such topics that are related to cell-to-cell communication and stimulate discussion on the progress achieved to date and the prospects for the future in this particular field.
How I Became a Philosopher without Trying
Abstract of the lecture
In this lecture I trace the progressive stages of my education and academic career, and the manifold influences upon my development either by reading or through friendship with people who knew more than I did. When it came to choosing a profession, I decided to become a teacher in a primary school, and later in a secondary school; and I studied mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna with these aims. I became greatly attracted to philosophical problems, but I felt that I would never be able to solve any of them. In any case, I found the problems of physics, and especially of Darwinism, even more exciting. After I became a schoolteacher, I published a book, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, on a subject now called the philosophy of science. When the rise of Hitler made it necessary to think of emigration, this book opined for me a university career of which I had not dreamt before. What had set me on my path towards methodology of science was my attempt at criticizing Marxism, starting in the autumn of 1919. In trying to analyse Marx's claim to scientific status of his theory, according to which socialism -or communism- was inevitably bound to defeat what he called "capitalism", I had to ask myself the question: What are the criteria that distinguish genuine science from pseudo-science? Not only did my early critique of Marxism lead, after twenty-five years, to my book The Open Society and its Enemies, but the problems of the methodology of science have become the central problems of my own philosophy. They led to many other fruitful problems.