Message from Councilor Piet Hut
My role as councilor or advisor to ELSI is to help make ELSI a central hub for Origins of Life (OoL) studies. Concretely, this means building affiliations with other centers, world-wide, that are working on the OoL question, and in general creating channels for vibrant exchanges of OoL researchers, from the most senior and respected, to the most young and promising.
My approach for accomplishing these goals is to highlight and stimulate the two aspects that are central in ELSI as a WPI institute: the international character of ELSI as well as its interdisciplinary character. Although these two may sound quite different, cultivating them is actually remarkably similar, in terms of both challenges and successes.
The challenges lie in the fact that an individual representative of one culture is often only tacitly aware of what is most specific to his or her own culture, be it nationality or discipline. And in order to share and compare values and approaches, the first step always has to be to make one's own form of knowledge and convictions conscious. It is impossible to exchange tacit knowledge as such, but once reflected upon, it is both possible and fun.
This brings us to the successes of "inter", whether "-national" or "-disciplinary". Few things in life are as gratifying as successfully crossing boundaries and beginning to feel at home in a new place, thereby extending one's awareness of how large a sense of "home" can become. This may sound idealistic, and yes, it is; yet at ELSI we are in the process of making the idealistic realistic. I invite all members and visitors to be part of this process. Thank you all
Professor Piet Hut