MEDICON 2007, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dear MEDICON 2007 attendees:
What a great conference! No???
I am so pleased to be asked to give the closing remarks for this wonderful conference. I am sure few of you know me or my work, but I can assure you that we are very much alike. We are enthusiastic about Medical and Biological Engineering,its future and its impact on humanity. Never before in the history of humanity has so much money been spent on health care and on scientific research devoted to improving the quality of health care. But is it enough? According to a study commissioned by the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering,Biomedical Engineering research accounts for perhaps 3% of the scientific budget in the United States. I don't know what other countries are doing, but the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering should commission such a study to find out. What is so sad right now is that world conditions are diverting funds away from health-related scientific studies and channeling them into more destructive activities - either directly via war efforts, or indirectly by efforts to secure the homelands from destructive activities. When inflation is taken into account, funding at NIH is declining. This may have a devastating impact on future scientific efforts and on making real progress in Medical and Biological Engineering. Why is this allowed to happen? - well partly because the people have et our leaders do this. Derek Bok, the former President of Harvard, has said, "If you think education is expensive - try ignorance."
We must make sure that people throughout the world are educated and that we communicate to the voters in our countries, and to the leaders of our countries, that science and math education is important; that educating women is essential, that scientific research and engineering approaches to problems - health and otherwise - are vital to our future, and that education of all people - regardless of their wealth, is critical for our civilization.
We, humanity, have come a long way - instead of one or two scientific revolutions or technological breakthroughs per some unit time of the 19th century, we are experiencing an exponential avalanche of breakthroughs today. At the same time, there is an ever increasing divide between the haves and have-nots in our world. Juan Williams, a black journalist and author, cites a recent study that shows that some 70% of black babies born in the United States, are born to single mothers! This stands in contrast to our electing the first black governor of the state of MA, where I live! The divide is great.
How do we change this? Many scientists and engineers like to stay in their labs and conduct research. Many like to come to meetings, like this, to discuss their results and make new and renew old friendships. What many engineers and scientists don't like to do is discuss their findings or the findings of others, with their neighbors and friends - it's almost like you don't talk politics, you don't talk religion and now you don't talk science/engineering with guests. Well, here is my challenge to you - Speak up! Be heard! Talk about your work with non-scientists - with your parents, with neighbors, with politicians, even with children who represent the future. We have to get the importance of our work recognized - I don't mean brag about it - but share your enthusiasm for your work - this is very important. Remember, the improvements in the quality of life in the world are directly related to the work of engineers and scientists, like you. Finally, I thank the organizers of MEDICON 2007; Thank-you for sharing your beautiful city and country. Thankyou. Hvala, Hvala.
It is our great pleasure to invite you to participate at the11th Mediterranean Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing - the MEDICON 2007. After 24 years MEDICON conference is coming back to Slovenia, this time into its capital - Ljubljana. The MEDICON conferences are international events of high scientific standards with long lasting tradition held every third year in one of the Mediterranean countries under the auspices of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Biomedical engineering today is a well-recognized field bringing together bright minds from very diverse disciplines ranging from engineering, physics, and computer sciences on one side to biology and medicine on the other side. With valuable assistance of members of the International Advisory Committee and Scientific Program Committee, coorganising institutions, societies, our sponsors, and distinguished invited lecturers we will ensure that the research and development presented at MEDICON 2007 plenary meetings, scientific sessions, and workshops will truly be relevant and up-to-date.
MEDICON 2007 will take place from June 26-30, 2007 in Ljubljana at the premises of University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The choice was obvious: Ljubljana is accessible and vivid, academic environment is familiar to all of us. As Ljubljana is located in the centre of the country it offers excellent opportunity also to explore on your own the incredible variety of Slovenia scenery and national heritage. The Mediterranean coast of Primorska, Alpine resorts of Gorenjska, lovely hills and primeval forests of Dolenjska and the far-reaching plains of Prekmurje are just few examples of regional diversity you can encounter here. All these and other regions of Slovenia are accessible from Ljubljana within two hours of driving. Accompanying persons program will be prepared and we will visit some of our jewels: Bled and Postojna.
We feel confident that you will enjoy MEDICON 2007 both scientifically and socially. We will make every effort to make MEDICON 2007 a memorable event. This is also the place where you will meet your old friends and make new ones. Together we will all face new challenges imposed to us by society and new technologies. We look forward to meeting you all in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Professor Damijan Miklavčič
Professor Tadej Bajd