April 2, 12:00 hs
It has been almost 20 days since our last release where we expressed with great regret, that the most responsible decision was to postpone the Uruguayan Conference. Unfortunately, the facts show we were right. We want to thank the numerous expressions of support we received at these hard times from funders, speakers and participants.
But nothing lasts forever, and what helps us to move forward is imagining a better future, where hugs, kisses and why not, international conferences where we can meet our friends and colleagues, are back in the world.
With this in mind the Organizing Committee is committed to holding the First Uruguayan Conference of Cognitive Science in the near future. We started working on finding the best date the day after we cancelled, and after much consideration, we have decided the conference will be held from the 2nd to the 6th of December, 2020.
We know that it is probably too early to be sure about many things. What COVID has taught us is to be flexible with our plans. This new plan is no different. We know that we live in a permanent situation of uncertainty, but we also know that we cannot let this uncertainty paralyze us, or we lose the battle.
We invite you to be in touch and expectant about our conference. All the speakers on our webpage have expressed that they will be able to come. We will keep informing you about this and other news. Thank you for all your support.
March 13, 17:00 p.m.
The situation of COVID-19 worldwide is making it very difficult to sustain the congress, even if only in its simplest form. Although it is true that in our country the measures are still only local (suspension of concerts and specific prohibitions), it is also true that, by definition, a congress is a meeting place for people who come from different parts of the world to share their knowledge. In particular, our congress clearly had this vocation and a very clear example of this is that we have attendees from almost 30 different countries.
The reality of the world in relation to mobility and the congregation of high concentrations of people is changing day by day. Yesterday, Argentina resolved to cut flights from Europe and the USA and impose quarantine on all those who come from those countries while restricting the mobility of its citizens, especially through airports. In our country, the first cases of covid-19 have already appeared and public events have been canceled. Likewise, the President of the University of the Republic made a resolution yesterday with specific recommendations (read here), calling for the suspension of all international meetings.
Given this situation and considering that most of our international and regional guests will not be able to arrive in Montevideo, we have decided to postpone the first Uruguayan Congress of Cognitive Sciences.
It has been very hard to arrive to this decision (harder than we would have imagined) but we cannot be insensitive to the recommendations of most of the world and our specialists. Unfortunately, so far, the only procedure that has been shown to be able to reduce harm is control of human action. It seems to us that the decision to postpone the congress is the most responsible decision at the moment.
We ask for your patience during the days to come. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic is facing us with a very difficult test as a society, but we are sure that we will succeed.
We are pleased to present the mobile application of the congress. Through it you can access the information of the speakers, the event agenda, maps and allow us to send highly relevant communications.
Follow these steps to install the conference app on your phone:
- Google Pay Store: here miTalent (Android), App Store: here miTalent (iPhone) .
- Download miTalent using the links in the previous point..
- When you open the application, a screen like this will appear:
- Enter the code "succc" (without the quotes) in the "Code" field as shown in the figure:
- Select "Send".
- Enable notifications.
- You are already in the Congress app! You can access all the content and the latest news.
March 12, 12:30hs UYT
We continue monitoring the situation of the Covid-19. As we told you yesterday, we will inform you of any changes as soon as we have new information. Today the congress app will be available on our website, which is a good way to keep us all in touch. We ask that you install it on your phones as soon as possible so that we do not saturate the communication channels with individual questions.
So far Uruguay continues without confirmed cases (March 12, 12:30hs UYT, GMT-3). However, we are waiting for the decisions made by neighboring countries and the Uruguayan government to re-evaluate the possibility of postponing the event. Until now, we do not have enough information to justify a decision in this regard and that is why we will continue evaluating the situation - together with the authorities of our country. Rest assured that you will be the first to know if there is a change in this regard.
Thank you all for your patience and willingness.
Marc 11, 17:00hs UYT
We are updating the information concerning the COVID-19 and our Conference.
- Up to now (17:00hs UYT, Marc 11), there are no confirmed cases in Uruguay. All suspicious cases tested negative.
- Our government has designed a plan to curb the infection once it reaches our country.
- Our neighboring countries have a low number of cases with no demonstration of communal transmission.
- There are several international speakers that have cancelled their trip to Uruguay due to travel restrictions in their home countries. There are others that are now travelling to our country. See the program (http://www.succc.org.uy/es/events/conference_2020) for the details.
Based on this information, we decided that we are continuing with the conference as planned. If our government decides more restrictive measures we might need to cancel the event. If we reach this extreme we will immediately let you know.
We are concerned by everyone’s health and we are taking all required measures to have a safe and interesting conference.
Last Tuesday, we learned the sad news that Jacques Mehler had passed away. We send our condolences to Marina, his family, colleagues and friends.
Jacques was one of the founders of the modern Science of Cognitive Development. Born in Barcelona the 17th of August of 1936, his family moved to Buenos Aires, where Jacques attended the Instituto Libre de Segunda Enseñanza. In 1954 he enrolled in the University of Buenos Aires, graduating in Chemistry in 1958. He continued his graduate studies first in Oxford University and then at the University College of London where he obtained his Bachelor in Science. In the early days of the Cognitive Revolution, he studied at Harvard University, where he obtained his Phd in Psychology, in 1964, with George Miller as his advisor.
Jacques was a true revolutionary in the use and development of ingenious experiments to study the infant and newborn mind. It is impossible in this short text to fully describe his contributions to science. Briefly, after a stay at Piaget’s Lab, in 1967, together with Tom Bever, he published an important paper questioning the dominant constructivist Piagetian paradigm that postulated a sort of linear view of the infant mind development. Mehler and Bever very convincingly showed that when children are faced with a relevant dilemma, they do estimate numbers. Jacques and his students then launched a series of pioneer experiments that today are foundational for the vibrant field of numerical cognition. His other main passion was language acquisition, where he studied what the infant mind knows, how humans were equipped at birth with mechanisms to learn languages and how they acquire their native language. He and his collaborators contributed to show not only that humans are born with an instinct to learn the art of language, but also what this instinct is made of and how it is implemented in the human brain.
He created and directed the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (LSCP) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris from 1982 to 2001. Outstanding as a scientist, Jacques was unique in his capacity to train a number of young Cognitive Scientists. In his laboratory he attracted a group of brilliant students that, together with Jacques, completely changed the face of Developmental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at different places of the world. Those who were part of the LSCP at the time, concur that this was THE place to be to learn Cognitive Science, and judging by the relevance of what has come out of his Lab, this was indeed the case. In 2001 Jacque moved to SISSA Italy, to continue sowing his wisdom in the minds of his students and collaborators.
Many of us who feel touched by his departure were not his students. Still, he had a great impact on our careers. He was one of the motors behind the establishment of the Latin American School for Education, Cognitive and Neural Sciences (LASCHOOL). To do so, he brought together a group of enthusiastic Latin American researchers including Marcela Peña, Mariano Sigman and Sidarta Riberio. Jacques got the generous support of the James S. McDonnell foundation to launch an incredible series of LASchools where neuroscientists, psychologists, educators, computer scientists, and many others got together to, discuss how Cognitive Neuroscience can impact upon Education and which new avenues of research need to be explored. These schools have brought the most important Cognitive Scientists closer to our LA countries, giving young researchers in Latin America the incredible opportunity to listen, meet, spend time, discuss, talk and live with them, forging ties of collaboration and friendship.
LASchools were Jacques’s gift for Latin American scientists. From his wise perspective, he always chose to see the best of each person, and promote his/her development. He never stopped believing in LA as a source for innovative science, one source that he has in his heart until his last days, As a founder, Jacques was a regular participant to the LASCHOOLS. Those of us who shared time with him there all agree that talking to Jacques was an exhilarating experience. He was witty, sharp and liked to engage in scientific discussions. He always had something important to say about our research or about the way we organize the Uruguayan Cognitive Sciences. From the beginning he was one of our mentors, encouraging the Uruguayan community to move forward and supporting the organization of the 2014 LA School in Uruguay. With the years we frequently enjoyed conversations in Spanish, sharing our first language, and bringing us close as friends.
In this short period that we knew him, Jacques transformed our way of conceiving science. We want people to know who Jacques was. As the psycholinguist Christophe Pallier, one of Jacques’ students, said “Jacques showed us that one can do serious science and have fun at the same time. It was an incredible privilege to have him as a mentor”. We were not as lucky as his students, but we were lucky to meet him. This conference, this Society, and everything we tried to do in Education, was molded on Jacques scientific life.
We will be always grateful to Jacques and we will miss him a lot
The event was held on march 2017 and it's main objective was closing the existing gaps between researchers, educators and policy makers in education. Over 400 people attended, allowing for fruitful discussion during the event.