Report of the Second NIPS-CIN Symposium, Nov 29-30, 2012
Visiting scientists from the NIPS (National Institute for Physiological Science) in Okazaki, Japan, took the opportunity to honour the German physician who brought modern western medical science to Japan when they visited Tübingen for a joint symposium with the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) on November 29 and 30 2012.
It was in 1876 that Erwin Bälz, who completed his medical studies in Tübingen, moved to Japan to take up a position in what would later become the medical faculty of the university of Tokyo. Over the course of the next thirty years he trained many hundreds of Japanese doctors, introducing western medicine to the country. In the 1890s he also became the official doctor to the Imperial court and the crown prince’s personal physician. He returned to Germany in 1905 with his Japanese wife and two sons.
In Japan Bälz is regarded not only as a major figure in the development of modern medicine, but also as a significant cultural figure. A monument to him that carries a dedication from the Japanese medical association stands outside the Casino restaurant on the Scharrenberg campus of the University clinic. On their visit to the CIN the NIPS delegation asked to see the tribute to Bälz – here they are photographed beside the Japanese-style memorial to the German doctor who spent his career in their country.
CIN Chairman Peter Thier commented: ‘It’s remarkable that every day so many people pass by this monument on their way to lunch at the canteen without noticing it at all. But to our visitors from Japan he is a very important figure, and they specially asked to pay their respects to Erwin Bälz.’
The visit to the Schnarrenberg campus was part of a programme of events to mark the signing of an agreement between the NIPS and the CIN, which was formalized in a ceremony on Friday November 30 attended by senior figures from both institutes, as well as by President of the University of Tübingen Berndt Engler, as well as by representatives of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. The planned cooperations will involve joint funding applications as well as the exchanging of scientists and students.
- Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience