Hello! Nice to meet you!

This article was written by Keitaro Tanaka (senior at Hirosaki University) and Fuka Oikawa (senior at Waseda University). We are two university students that have been hired by the Iwate Prefectural Government to start as civil servants in April 2020. On November 14, 2019, we spent a one-day internship at the Bureau of ILC Promotion at the Iwate government to learn about what it would be like at our future jobs.

While we were there, they took us to the Iwate ILC Open Lab to learn more about the ILC, so we’d like to share what we learned.

What’s the Iwate ILC Open Lab?

The ILC Open Lab was set up as a place to share information about the ILC, and a hub for industries, worker training, and research & development using the ILC. It was also built as a place where anyone can learn about the ILC, from businesspeople aiming to get involved in the accelerator industry, to local students. (Description quoted from “The Iwate ILC Open Lab”) There are many panel displays that tell you what the ILC is, how it will be created, and what the ILC will do.

Unfortunately, neither of us knew very much about the ILC at all, so it was a great chance for us to learn more about the ILC’s mechanisms and functions, and the history of the project.


Wait, what’s the ILC (International Linear Collider), again?

Let’s show you using the displays they had in the lab!

The cryomodule


After you enter the room, the first thing to catch your eye will definitely be this large orange tube. This is called a cryomodule, and within is placed another tube-like object (resembling a baumkuchen cake) made out of a material called niobium. This superconductive cavity is one of the devices put together to make up the ILC. These tubes will be placed together in a line that could reach up to around 20 km long, and within, they’ll conduct experiments that might uncover the secrets behind the origins of the universe.

The superconductive cavity made out of niobium

These experiments involve taking particles smaller than the eye can see (called electrons and positrons), and then smashing them together at close to the speed of light. This will recreate the conditions immediately following the Big Bang when the universe was formed. There, scientists may observe matter that we’ve never seen before, which is how they aim to unlock the mysteries behind the universe’s beginnings. If things go well, we’ll have taken our first step towards solving that mystery – but the ILC could have an effect on many other different fields as well.

What will the ILC do?

There are many things we might be able to do if the ILC is constructed.

For example, the healthcare industry: The ILC’s technology may be useful in cancer treatment, and they may make a quick discovery of new diseases. Maybe we might be able to develop a cure to diseases that are currently incurable.

Next, in the fields of IT and new materials: If they find new particles using ILC experiments, that may lead to new technological innovations in a number of different ways, from new information devices to the next generation of cameras.

It’s not just technology. If the ILC is created in Iwate, then people will come from all over Japan and the rest of the world to be involved with the ILC, of which there will be only one in the world. If those people live here for their research, then they’ll interact with all the local people, and through those interactions, we’ll learn so many things. This is a chance for us to learn about the world’s most advanced technology right here in our backyard!

“Technology spinning off from research”

What can you see at the Open Lab?

Within the Open Lab, there is a manga that explains the ILC.

To tell the truth, until we visited the Open Lab, neither of us knew what the ILC would do. But through reading this manga, we were able to deepen our understanding of the ILC project, and continued to learn more during our visit.

Excerpts from the manga

Even if you don’t know much about the ILC, we want you to feel welcome to visit the Open Lab facility. Even little kids can understand the manga, so families can come visit with their children. There’s also a lot of technical information as well, so it’s a great place for people who want to take a deep dive into particle physics.

Various projects being undertaken before the ILC is built

You can also learn about the history of the ILC in Iwate at the Open Lab.

What surprised us is that people working towards the ILC in 1995, the year we were born. We had thought that the ILC was something that had just come about recently.

But in actuality, a physics workshop was held in Appi, Iwate in September 1995, and many people have been working towards the ILC for twenty or more years. You can learn about that and more about the ILC’s history if you visit the Open Lab.

The Iwate Governor visiting KEK in 2007

Participating in the monthly THE KITAKAMI TIMES meeting

After returning from the Open Lab, we went with Yoshida-san of the ILC Bureau to the monthly meeting for THE KITAKAMI TIMES.

The meeting was also attended by Amanda-san (an Iwate civil servant) and Aimi-san (an Ichinoseki City worker). Before the meeting started, Yoshida-san told us, “Amanda and Aimi can only speak English, so we’ll be holding the meeting in English.”

They started off by discussing topics for the next issue and how their latest page views went, but the two of us had to work really hard just to follow along with our English skills.

After some time had passed, Yoshida-san blurted out, “To tell the truth, they can speak Japanese fluently.” Amanda-san and Aimi-san are actually great Japanese speakers, so they had just all been playing a trick on us! After that, the meeting was held in Japanese, with a quite relaxed atmosphere. They told us a lot about how interesting it was to be an Iwate civil servant, as well as different places we might work within the government.

【Editor’s Note】 Chikanori Yoshida, staff at the Bureau of ILC Promotion

I had our two university interns write this latest issue of THE KITAKAMI TIMES.

Both of them are brilliant students, and in their very short time with us (one day!) they investigated the ILC Open Lab, synthesized that information, and wrote this report.

Next April, these two will come to work at the Iwate government as civil servants. I’m not sure if they’ll be placed in the ILC Bureau, but I know the both of them will go on to have amazing careers.










『THE KITAKAMI TIMES』 定例スタッフ会議に参加
 オープンラボの見学を終え、県庁に戻ってきた私たちは、ILC推進局の吉田さんの案内のもと、THE KITAKAMI TIMESの定例スタッフ会議に参加しました。
 その時にある吉田さんの言葉が聞こえました。「To tell the truth, they can speak Japanese fluently.(実を言うと、彼女たちは流暢に日本語を話すことができます。)」-アマンダさん、アイミさんは日本語を上手にしゃべることができたのです。つまり、私たちは、ドッキリに引っ掛かったのです!その後の会議は日本語で行われ、和やかな雰囲気の中、配属先や県職員として働く魅力などを教わることができたため、非常に意義があるものでした。

【編集後記】 岩手県ILC推進局 主査  吉田 知教
 今回のTHE KITAKAMI TIMES 記事は、いわゆる「内定者」である2人の大学生に執筆していただきました。