Measurable Man

Organizing committee: Ulf Landegren (convener), Erik Ullerås, Kristofer Rubin

9-10 October, 2019

Man has long been the measure of all things – with heartbeat seconds for time; inches, feet and
fathoms to measure distances; and Fahrenheit degrees defined by our body temperature. But the
tables are turning, and we increasingly find ourselves digitized, pixelated and voxelated, and rolled
out as strings of nucleotides or simply bits of abstracted information. In medicine, we are entering
a phase of data-rich, personalized medicine where humans are being represented by large data sets
that will permit modelling aspects of our future health. This tendency towards multiparametric
measurement and digitization of people will not only permeate health care but also impinge on our
everyday lives, with profound consequences for medicines and industries, as well as for how we
view each other and what we see as a life worth living. The symposium Measurable Man will intro-
duce a new research program by that same name at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study
(SCAS), with the purpose to better understand what means for analysis of human health we are still
missing and how to achieve these, but also to understand opportunities and risks of the rapidly emerging
molecular measures of man.

Lectures by Leroy Hood, Kári Stefánsson, and Mathias Uhlén, among others.

Please note that the symposium is divided into two parts:
Wednesday, 9 October: a round-table discussion which is a closed event and by invitation only.
Thursday, 10 October: public lectures.

The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) aims to provide optimal research conditions for
curiosity-driven research. The Collegium is a scholarly community where Fellows pursue research of
their own choosing in a context of interdisciplinary dialogue and cooperation. Since its foundation in
1985, it strives to protect and nurture independent inquiry, collaborative and deep thinking, and to
emphasize the importance of academic freedom worldwide. Governmental support and support from
major research foundations allow the invited Fellows to freely decide on their study and to engage in
focused research.

Chartered by the Government of Sweden as an institute for advanced study, SCAS is a national scientific
institution. A core component of an institute for advanced study is a selective Fellowship programme,
and the Collegium is open to applications from scholars across the range of the human and social sciences,
as well as from the natural sciences.

SCAS interacts with a large number of scholarly institutions. Especially important is the collaboration
with originally six, now ten, leading institutes for advanced study within the SIAS group (Some Institutes
for Advanced Study), including e.g. Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Uni-
versity; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University;
and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. The Collegium is located in Linneanum, a historic building in the Botanic
Garden in Uppsala, near the Carolina Rediviva Library and other scientific facilities at Uppsala University.

The expansion of the Collegium to include a Natural Sciences Programme aims at advancing cutting-edge
research in the natural sciences, as well as at bridging the gap between these and the humanities and social
sciences. This expansion has been made possible by support from the Erling-Persson Family Foundation
and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The programme is focused on research that involves synthesis,
data analysis and conceptual and theoretical work, and includes symposia and several stipends for distinguished
scientists and scholars to visit SCAS for at least three months and up to an academic year. There are four
thematic foci of the programme: Theoretical Biology; Human Brains and Societies; Measurable Man; and Exo-
planets and Biological Activity on Other Worlds.

This symposium is the first one to be organized within the framework of the Measurable Man theme.