Monday, July 18, 2005

Nurturing Genius

Summer in Tokyo is sometimes very hot. Yesterday it was almost steaming. I went to Odaiba again to give the blessing of science lecture. On the way, I read Michael Tye's Ten Problems of Consciousness. This book comes with some delightful illustrations. When you are thinking about something as hard as the mind-brain problem, it is good to have this light-hearted divertimento into the picture.
Mr. Eisuke Ito of Gumma University was among the audience. He is only 20, and yet he carries with him journal articles on brain and mind. We had a chat over beer after the lecture, and he was a delightful fellow.
It is a wonderful time we live in, this internet age. In the old days, it used to be that if you wanted to read the papers in the specialist journals you had to go to the university library. You then had to look it up in the huge volumes, ask the secretary for the permission to copy (if at all possible). By the time you got the article, you were quite exhausted. Now, you can just google for the article you desire. Most of the time the researchers have the pdf file ready on the web free of charge. Thus, aspiring young men like Yusuke can get access to the latest in research, time and willingness permitting. Isn't it wonderful? Now we have the ubiquitous infrastructure for nurturing genius. Universities and other elite institutions do not have the privilege they used to have any more.

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