What Is Brain Awareness Week?
What Is Brain Awareness Week?
  • Park Sang-ki
  • 승인 2019.05.17 11:03
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Park Sang-ki/ Associate Professor/ Department of  Life Science
Park Sang-ki/ Associate Professor/ Department of Life Science


About Brain Awareness Week
Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a worldwide brain science festival that aims to share the development and the benefits of brain research with the public in hopes of popularizing brain science. The BAW, starting from March, annually coordinates with the partner organizations and provides various events to the public around the world. During the BAW, partner organizations promote the importance of brain research through enjoyable events and informative lectures to the public of all ages in their communities. The BAW, which was launched in 1996 with 160 organizations in the U.S., has been participated by 5,600 partner organizations from 120 countries around the world, while the 2018 BAW was operated by about 900 partner organizations from 44 countries. Partner organizations vary widely in universities, hospitals, primary and secondary schools, education and research institutions, libraries, museums, government agencies, and companies. BAW was organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiative (DABI) and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB) and is managed by the Dana Foundation. Korean brain scientists also agreed on the need for the popularization of brain science and therefore, are participating BAW, a worldwide brain science festival, under close cooperation with the “Korea Brain Society for Brain and Neural Sciences (KSBNS)” and the “Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI)”. This year, 13 BAW events were held in a number of locations across the country under the auspices of the KBRI, and 28 brain research-related organizations, including the POSTECH brain research center. Under the theme of “brain science caught in the hands”, many brain scientists, who are mainly involved in brain research, have shared stories of brain science with the public through lectures, practice, and observation.

POSTECH’s Brain Awareness Week
For more than 20 years, POSTECH’s Brain Research Center has been promoting joint study among researchers interested in brain science in POSTECH and hosted annual brain week events in Pohang with activities representing POSTECH’s Brain Research Group to share the importance of brain research with local students and citizens. This year, under the theme “The Brain Science Is Changing the World,” Professor Paik Seung-tae (LIFE, IBB) and Professor Kim Seung-hwan (PHYS) shared interesting brain stories with nearly 100 audiences. By sharing the role in these global events, POSTECH shares the importance of brain research and the social responsibility of making such into widely known to the school and the local public about the new future that brain science will bring.

Brain science’s importance in the fourth industrial revolution 
To simplify the way the brain works, the brain detects a set of patterns from outside information, integrate, analyze, and refine it, and then derives appropriate output. It reflects on its behaviors and corrects the next course of action based on the information obtained from them. This behavior is a comprehensive concept that includes not only body movements, but also high brain functions such as thinking, emotion, planning, and decision. This process is accomplished by the synthesis of signals from very simple neurons, which is the sum of neuron unit activity called excitation/inhibition, similar to the on/off of mechanical elements.
If brain science is the study of how the sum of very simple neuron activations derives the brain function of thinking, artificial intelligence is to design and implement some or many of these mechanisms of the brain into algorithms so that certain elements of human intelligence can be applied to artificial products (mechanical devices and computing). It would be difficult to separate artificial intelligence from brain science because brain science is an academic discipline that provides a conceptual basis for forming artificial intelligence by identifying the principles of information processing in the brain with various technological approaches, including biological perspectives.
If we look at the fourth industrial revolution as a shift toward an era led by new industrial and economic models that integrate the physical, biological and digital worlds based on information technology to create a variety of new technologies, it is artificial intelligence that is used as a key element in this process, and therefore the brain science is a very essential foundation of the fourth industrial revolution. In addition, I believe that brain science provides theoretical and technical principles, or sometimes holds an important position as a key subject of the application in mobile healthcare, brain-machine interface (BMI), virtual and augmented reality, which combines the physical and biological worlds with the digital world.

How Postechians should approach brain science
Brain science is a very integrated field of study. The activity of the brain is made up of electrical signals, a very physical phenomenon, and the interchange of signals between neurons is chemical. Also, the integration of information is often compared with the principles of computing. As such, a variety of key elements of natural science and engineering work all over the brain.
Various brain diseases including depression, dementia, schizophrenia, and spinal cord injuries, stroke, etc. require a lot of social and medical costs. Efforts to manage, treat and rehabilitate the patients through biomedical engineering methods are active as well as through biomedical understandings. In addition, deep understanding of brain function and knowledge derived from it provides new insights in so many areas, including medicine, psychology, education, language, music, art, sports, society, religion and even politics. while modern brain science has roots in the realm of biology, the framework of learning is already meaningless, and its impact and usability are immense. I think it’s a good field to pay attention even though it’s not your major.