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Sparks!: CERN’s serendipity forum brings together experts to discuss Future Technology for Health

A set of talks and forum on 17-18 November, following a podcast series featuring experts in the field

The second edition of Sparks! will be held on 17 and 18 November (Image : CERN)

The second edition of Sparks! will be held on 17 and 18 November (Image : CERN)

Sparks! invites global experts to discuss the big topics of future technology. Taking research at CERN as a starting point, Sparks! encourages cross-disciplinary connections between participants to tackle the challenges of the future. This is done through talks, an innovative forum, and a podcast. Speakers range from genomics expert Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, to chief scientist for the WHO Soumya Swaminathan, to ethicists, technical professionals, and researchers.

Listen to the podcast from 26 October here.

Watch the Talks on 17 November, livestreamed from 4.00–8.00 p.m. CET.

CERN’s continued work in medical diagnostics, imaging, therapy, and dosimetry sets a baseline for the discussions on furthering technologies for health.

“Science, technological innovation and health have become more interlinked than ever over the past three years," says Charlotte Warakaulle, CERN Director for International Relations. “As a unique forum for deep discussion on the major topics in science and technology, the Sparks! community has chosen to delve into future technology for health to unpack the challenges and help define the contours of the future.”

The Talks will cover a broad range of cross-cutting topics, from the work CERN is doing on medical imaging, to precision medicine, to mapping the human body, ethical considerations, and ensuring equitable global access to healthcare. The speakers include representatives from WHO, EPFL, EMBL-EBI, Human Cell Atlas, among others.

The Serendipity Forum on 18 November will follow an innovative CERN format whereby 50 participants with different areas of expertise partake in a full day of plenaries, discussions and breakout sessions. The purpose of the event is to provoke conversations about the future of technologies for health, and what that could mean for society. Guests are actively encouraged to make lasting multidisciplinary connections through the Forum.

Sparks! 2022 is launching at the end of October with the second series of the CERN Sparks! podcast. Over six episodes, the podcast explores the visions of the future shaped by health technologies, and digs deep into the important questions around medial ethics, equity, and open science.

Podcast speakers include Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry Jennifer Doudna, the “founding father of genomics” George Church, WHO’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan, and the director of the Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar, as well as technological experts, ethicists and more.

For its first edition in 2021, the event looked at future technology for intelligence, which can be watched and listened to through the Sparks! Website.

Sparks! is part of the CERN & Society programme. CERN & Society activities are only possible thanks to the support of our partners, in particular Rolex, which has a long-standing association with CERN. The 2022 Sparks! event is also supported by the Didier and Martine Primat Foundation.

For more information, see:

Sparks! website

Sparks! Talks event webcast

Article about Sparks!

CERN’s applications for health