By Kim Ji-young
Many universities these days are making efforts to scout prominent professors to promote their competitiveness. Ewha is not an exception in this movement, having scouted the famous scientist Rhee Sue-goo (Molecular Life Sciences) in 2005. Ewha also recruited professor Choe Jae-chun (Life Science) from Seoul National University early this year.
Only six months have passed since Choe? arrival but quite a few changes have already been made. Professor Choe, who is also the director of Ewha Natural History Museum is holding a special exhibition titled ?uest for Ant Queendom?from July 26 to June 30, 2007. The exhibit shows the world of ants, including their shape, food, way of communicating, enemies, and different species. Anthills with living ant and numerous experimental sites which offer visitors the chances to imitate the communication process of ants were presented.
Choe? main project is called the Hall of Consilience (HOC), which opened on September 2. ?he term ?onsilience?means ?nity of knowledge,?and consilience study is a new academic field which aims to integrate sciences, social sciences, and humanities, which seem to be completely different fields, so that can achieve synergy in discovering new ideas,?Choe said.
Choe explains that there have been continuous attempts to unify the sciences and humanities since Aristotle; however, with the rise of modern science, the sense of unity disappeared due to the increasing specialization of knowledge. In the 21st century, priorities have changed. Now, many people recognize that each branch of knowledge is connected and affects each other, and that to survive in a global society, people should understand various viewpoints. That is one of the reasons he decided to establish HOC.
?onsilience is like the trunk of a tree. The trunk is a path which carries water and nutrition from roots to leaves and finally to flowers. Likewise, scientific and mathematical knowledge can be carried and discussed through consilience study, and provide original ideas to humanities and social sciences, and vice versa. I hope HOC will be like the trunk of a tree, where various kinds of people, regardless of their specialty, can freely discuss how to integrate the sciences and humanities,?said Choe.
Choe has also taken the lead in establishing the new field of Eco Science in the Ewha graduate school. Eco Science is a field which studies not only ecology, but also diverse fields of studies like engineering, ethics, and law to understand the environmental problems surrounding human beings and the ecosystem, and finally to present logical solutions to fix various environmental problems. Eco Science will be receiving applicants from October 10 to 20 from all majors, and will start its classes in March 2007.