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Henri Atlan

Former head of the biophysics department at the Hôtel Dieu and a member of the French National Advisory Committee on Ethics in the Life Sciences and Medicine for 17 years, Henri Atlan is one of the pioneers in the domain of complexity and self-organisation applied to biology. Raising central issues on life and science, a scholar and philosopher inspired by Spinoza, Henri Atlan opposes science with biblical, mythological, Talmudic texts and philosophy. Atlan's theories attest to a long and unparalleled reflection on the complex nature of the relationships between science and ethics. His ideas question the compatibility between scientific thought, oriented entirely towards determinisms, and the understanding of complexities, a continual source of indeterminism. His ideas have contributed greatly to the clarification of societal issues such as cloning, recent discoveries on prions, or developmental biology.

Author of numerous works on cellular biology, philosophy, and bio-ethics, Henri Atlan is based in Jerusalem and Paris. He will be taking part in this colloquium through a filmed interview with Frank Madlener, Andrew Gerzso, and Gérard Assayag produced at IRCAM on May 20, 2009.