Ritsumeikan High School
Science Talk
Participants will have a choice of 5 topics, and listen to a talk on science. They will surely be able to experience the wonderful world of science.
T-1 Mechanism of Olfaction
Dr. Takashi Kurahashi and Dr. Hiroko Takeuchi
Osaka University, Frontier Biosciences & Mie University, School of Medicine
It is generally thought that the sense of smell is a kind of fuzzy sensation. The biggest reason why we do not pay attention to the olfaction is that the brain system skips the recognition step, and projects to the deep part of the brain. Because of such neuronal projection, olfactory senses play important roles in the human life, sometimes, without inducing your recognition. We are able to catch hundreds of thousands of odorants. Pleasant flavors and fragrances bring you a comfortable status, while bad smells induce bad feelings and emotions. In the lecture, we will prepare some samples of odorants so that you can experience several smells emitted from chemical compounds. At the same time, you will receive a lecture for the molecular mechanisms. You will understand the fundamental mechanism of olfaction and how you can discriminate huge numbers of different substances.
T-2 The Inner Universe, The Brain Mysteries
Dr. Amane Koizumi
National Institute of Natural Science
Each of us has a brain in our heads that controls one’s every daily activity. However what do you know about your brain? The mechanism of the brain’s functions still remains unclear so that many neuroscientists are eager to know how our brain works. As a vision scientist, I’d like to invite you to “A Brain Wonderland” and show you unsolved mysteries of the inner universe, the brain, with some optical illusions. I will also demonstrate how electrical signals from the brain control our bodies using a unique electrical-signal detector called a “muscle sensor” which was developed by us.
T-3 How do you make an earth-like planet?
Dr. Saeko Hayashi
National Institute of Natural Science
I would like to challenge the participants to design their own virtual planets. Stars such as the Sun is made primarily of hydrogen gas, and they create energy from the nuclear fusion. Planets around those stars are characterized by a mix of solid, liquid, and gaseous material, and reflect light/heat from the stars. Recent discoveries of exotic planets outside of the solar system require updates on the conventional view of the planetary systems. I will show some of the alien worlds (not the aliens!) based on the recent observations from the Subaru Telescope and other facilities. For the understanding of the overall scenario of the formation and the evolution of those worlds, I believe this generation of high school students will be in the frontline of the study since they will be able to use the next generation big telescopes.
T-4 Water and Sustainability Science
Dr. Jun Nakajima
Ritsumeikan University
Science must liberate people from poverty and hunger and provide human life of peace and happiness. The United Nations held Sustainable Development Summit 2015, 25 – 27 September in New York and decided on new global Sustainable Development Goals. It follows up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit in which 147 countries have met the drinking water target and 95 countries have met the sanitation target. However, 663 million people still use unimproved drinking water and 2.4 billion people still use unimproved sanitation facilities. Moreover, restless operation and maintenance works are necessary in water and sanitation system. Are such works actually possible in developing countries after the installation of facilities? It is more important to continue to use the facilities than the installation of them for the life of residential people. However, it is difficult in many cases. You can easily understand it impossible to apply high technologies directly in rural area of poor developing countries. Sometimes Science would be useful that can improve and develop the technologies to be applicable in developing countries. To introduce appropriate management system of the applicable technologies would be also necessary for the sustainable use of the technologies. The system should be based on the regional custom, history and the economic condition. Science must also provide the methodology to clarify the suitable or the optimum management system. What should Science do to discover alternative technologies of water and sanitation in developing countries and finally build sustainable society? Let us think it together. It could be a part of introduction on a new Science: Sustainability Science.
T-5 Application of Information Technology to Disaster Mitigation
Dr. Yoshio Nakatani
Ritsumeikan University
Our approach to disaster mitigation using information technology (IT) will be introduced. Especially, disaster mitigation for tourists in Kyoto city and the personal memory engineering that supports victims who have lost their goods of memories in disaster are focused. As for disaster mitigation for tourists, in order to prevent tourists from moving from widely-scattered sightseeing spots in the surrounding areas to the railway stations in the city center, the phase evacuation guidance method is proposed. This method designates spots themselves and spacious facilities between spots and the stations as the emergency shelters. IT is applied to realize this method by the computer simulation system to evaluate the evacuation guidance method, the nonverbal disaster information sharing system using pictograms, and so on. The personal memory engineering is proposed based on the psychological findings that personal memories are the foundation to forge identities of individuals and it is difficult for people to remember their pasts without goods of memories. The computer system provides the user with maps, photos, music, nostalgic aroma and so on, to support remembering in place of goods of memories. Recalled memories are recorded on the computer to support organization of virtual community whose members share similar personal memories, inheritance of important experiences, and planning of reconstruction of affected cities.
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