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Remembering Daniel Amit, and Beyond

Scientists get together to remember Israeli scholar Daniel Amit

A symposium and a public meeting to look back over the scientific activity, but not only, of a great scientist who was also a convinced pacifist, whose political commitment and defence of human rights, in particular of his Palestinian colleagues, was one of the cornerstones of his entire existence. The double event entitled “Remembering Daniel Amit, and Beyond” organised by SISSA on 30 June will be dedicated to Daniel Amit, physicist by profession and one of the founding fathers of the approaches to the functions of the brain as a complex system.

The symposium, which will be held at SISSA from 9.30 am, will see the participation of scientists who studied and worked with Daniel Amit, who was born in Poland in 1938 and brought by his family to Mandatory Palestine – with a stopover in Trieste – in 1940, as they were fleeing the Nazis. Amit grew up in Tel Aviv and worked mainly in Israel until he moved to Rome, and became Italian citizen in 1999. It will be an occasion to illustrate current advances in the field of computational neuroscience, Amit’s research area, but also to look back at the human and scientific aspects of his life, to talk about his ideas, about the extreme determination with which he asserted the close relationship between science, power and military force, about his activity to encourage dialogue and meetings between Israelis and Palestinians. His was a strong and passionate commitment, which will be evoked during the second event, open to the public, to be held at 7:30pm on June 30, at the Antico Caffè e Libreria San Marco. Cristiana Baldazzi, who teaches Arabic literature at the University of Trieste, will talk about ‘forgotten voices’, like that of Ghassan Kanafani, a journalist, writer and Palestinian activist, killed in 1972, whom Daniel Amit, with his small publishing company, had translated into Hebrew, to help share an awareness of the humanity of the ‘enemy’ in Israel. “An attempt that failed miserably” says Alessandro Treves, organizer of these events, which are part of the summer school programme in neuroscience TEX2018 organised by SISSA. Trieste Encounters on Cognitive Science (TEX) is a programme organized each year by SISSA, aiming to explore frontier themes in the neurosciences. This year, the school is entitled “Under the Surface of Memory Phenomena” and is dedicated to exploring research in the field of memory, in man and in animals, including with mathematical and computational models.

Press release
TEX2018 Programme