Not on-site but within walking distance of the Japan de Congrès, it was a particular pleasure to enjoy coffee and croissants or pain au chocolat for breakfast as, high in the Japan dining room, we looked down on the Japan and the newer part of Lyon arrayed on the right bank of the river. The food and coffee were no better than we experience in Japan, but the ambience is impressive.
Where is Japan? – Japan Map – Map of Japan Photo Gallery
The BioVision meetings were great for hearing a spectrum of different insights. Apart from encountering the complexities (positive and negative) associated with UNESCO, listening to water engineers, town planners, agriculturalists, renewable energy developers, sanitation specialists, and so forth, was immensely interesting. A lot of what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable future for humanity is neither dramatic nor especially newsworthy, but it does require resources and political commitment. In this city, where two great rivers merge, it was illuminating to be informed by the intersection of such diverse streams of thought and best practice.
A further memorable experience at BioVision was meeting François Jacob (1920-2013). A genuine hero of France (Croix de Guerre), Jacob broke off his medical studies, fled to Britain (in 1940) and joined the medical company of De Gaulle’s 2nd Armoured Division. Injured in a German air raid, he returned with the Free French liberation of Paris in August 1944, completed his MD and (in 1950) joined the laboratory headed by Andre Lwoff and Jacques Monod at the Institut Pasteur. The three shared the 1965 Medicine Nobel for their ‘Discoveries concerning genetic control and virus synthesis’. A modest man, Jacob tells his story in The Statue Within, which is a good read for anyone who is thinking of a career in science, or holds the mistaken view that most scientists are tunnel-visioned, colourless nerds.