Feeling the Power of ILC and Science Up Close: Symposium and Talks in Morioka

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo. Read the original here.

On July 18th, the NHK open seminar “Space, the ILC and Our Futures” (hosted by NHK Morioka, Iwate Nippo and Iwate Prefecture) was held in Aiina near Morioka Station in Morioka City. The event was for building momentum for bringing the ILC to Iwate’s Kitakami mountains (Kitakami highlands) and included lectures by three experts and a presentation by students from Morioka First High school on their ILC research. Here’s a look at this day where many Iwate residents got to experience cutting edge science, including the Iwate Science Symposium held on the same day.

Parents and Children, Enjoying Experiences

At the Iwate Science Symposium, there were hands-on crafts and activities by higher education and research institutions and businesses, as well as space-related exhibits by JAXA. Many parents and children came and enjoyed contact with cutting edge science.

Students from Iwate University Junior High School and Morioka Third High School held a participatory science show. The junior high school students served as “professors” and “assistants,” performing experiments on air. The audience ooh-ed and aah-ed as they shot air guns made out of cardboard and made balls and plastic bottled filled with water “float” in the air using wind.

Ikuo Taira, a 2nd year Iwate University Junior High student who performed as an assistant said, wiping his brow, “I thought that air would be easy to relate to and learn about. I did make some mistakes, but it was really fun.” Koyuki Arima, a 5th year student at Nagai Elementary School who participated, said with a smile, “The power of air is amazing! I could make an air gun at home.”

JAXA gave a hands-on astronaut selection test experience, tracing figures projected on a mirror, replicating the experience of not being able to watch your own hands like astronauts who do their work while watching a monitor. Haruhisa Tamura, a 4th grader at Mirumae Elementary School, worked with a serious expression saying, “This is difficult, it’s different from how I usually see things.”

A symposium was also held, with special lectures by Hisashi Kuninaka of JAXA and Ken Takai of JAMSTEC (the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology).

Three Experts Explain Significance and Benefits

At the NHK open seminar “Space, the ILC and Our Futures,” Deputy Director of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan Junichi Watanabe, Dr. Junpei Fujimoto of the KEK Instutute of Particle and Nuclear Studies and vice chief of the Iwate Nippo News Department Hiroaki Kumagai gave lectures. While students from Morioka First High School gave suggestions, the participants considered the significance of the ILC experiment and the ripple effects of bringing the ILC to Iwate.

About 100 people including middle and high school students and residents. Dr. Fujimoto emphasized that significance of the ILC was to “discover new laws of nature and space that have not been totally explained.” Mr. Watanabe expressed hopes that the ILC could “bring to light the true identity of dark matter and energy, which take up most of the universe.”

Concerning issues, Mr. Kumagai pointed out that “Many foreign people will come [to this area] as soon as the government makes a decision to invite the ILC. We have no time and we need to accelerate Iwate’s internationalization.”

Students from Morioka First High School, which is designated as a Super Global High School (SGH) by MEXT, presented about ILC-related issues in four groups. The group that researched the research city development plan suggested that “If research institutions, businesses, and local industry concentrate in this city, it could become a place for young people to be active and invigorate the area.”

Footage from the seminar will be broadcast on NHK General TV as part of the Iwate series “All Eyes on the ILC” on June 29th from 7:30 pm.