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[HERALD INTERVIEW] 'Industries of the future require endeavors across disciplines'

Research institutes should provide opportunities to complement traditional department-based structures with multidisciplinary institutes to better tackle societal challenges amid the rapid growth of new-generation industries and various global challenges, said a president of one of France’s most prestigious science-oriented public institution. 

Jacques Biot, the president of Ecole Polytechnique
Jacques Biot, the president of Ecole Polytechnique

“Mathematics and computer sciences tend to fertilize every other area, as research becomes increasingly complex and involves highly sophisticated equipment. No challenges faced in the fields of energy, environment, safety or health can be solved by a single technique,” Jacques Biot, the president of Ecole Polytechnique said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Tuesday.

Ecole Polytechnique, established in 1794, is dedicated to educating students in science and technology at the highest level. The school raised two Nobel Prize laureates in economics in 1988 and 2014, and one in physics in 1903.

The former CEO of a strategic consulting firm specializing in life sciences has taken the post of school president since 2013. Biot participated as a plenary speaker in the annual forum of the 2016 International Presidential Forum on Global Research Universities for two days. 

While Biot stressed the importance of training students with science and technology courses, he said he does not overlook the necessity of teaching social sciences. One of the traditions of Ecole Polytechnique has been to provide mandatory courses on economics and humanities courses such as philosophy.

“No matter how much the technology is developed, it is crucial to make sure that such technology is socially accepted and applied. Therefore, it is not only important to help students understand the techniques, but also to make sure that they have moral consciousness. They need to realize the relationship of sciences and society,” he said.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (
Korea Herald Youtube