Quentin Badolle

PhD candidate at the D-BSSE, ETH Zurich

It is a privilege commonly reserved for artists to stay in a residence dedicated to creation. Yet the conditions that it offers – detachment from external constraints, dedication of time and space to think, encounter between different minds and skills – have also proved major drivers of technological and scientific innovation. It is with all the more joy and optimism that I approach the experience to which we have been invited in Monte Verità.

Going one step further than in traditional artistic or scientific residencies, I look forward to sharing and hearing ideas and experiences in an inspiring location with my fellow residents and the preeminent guest thinkers. I am confident that the stay will give rise to unconventional moments of collective creation which we will be able to share back with our respective communities and the broader society. More fundamentally, I hope to embark on a transformative journey that will resonate for the rest of my professional and intellectual life.

My contribution to the program will benefit from my current doctoral research revolving around the use of mathematical models – including deep neural networks – for the modeling of complex biological systems with applications to systems and synthetic biology. I believe this puts me in a position to represent dynamic research fields with fundamental ethical and societal implications. My whole curriculum, in which I studied topics as diverse as agriculture, mathematics, and corporate finance, alongside my sustained interactions with humanities through literature and global history, has developed my ability to approach challenging topics such as uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity.

My participation to the program builds upon a longstanding interest to engage as a scientist with the broader society: during my last year of scientific high school, I contributed to a roundtable of the French National Consultative Ethics Commitee with reflections on end-of life care; during my last year of undergraduate, I represented the voice of young scientists at the French Academy of Sciences during the event “Giving Meaning Back to Progress” which brought together citizens and leading scientists.

I look forward to reporting on this new experience.