Nature Café: Can Japan Change?


As I have mentioned before, the well-known scientific journal ‘Nature’ organizes an annual ‘Nature Café’ (Japanese).

This was the 12th such event, and was organized in collaboration with Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). The panel for the Japan session was mainly composed of the ‘Crazy Ones’, scientists who are willing to think different. The title for the discussion session was ‘Will Japan Change? Universities and Research Facilities Faced with Change’.

The venue for the session was SONY CSL, the small research laboratory where geniuses and other ‘crazy’ people have been rcruited.

The panel was composed of the director of SONY CSL, Mr. Hiroaki Kitano (1); the leader of the initiative to bring about a new collaboration between the astronomy and the mathematics department of Tokyo University, Hitoshi Murayama (there are a lot of videos with him as well); a professor at OIST, Yoko Sugiyama Yazaki; and me. The moderator for the event was Yukiko Motomura (Japanese), from the Mainichi Shimbun.

I liked that the audience was composed mainly of students. Each of the panelists gave a brief but energetic 10 minute ‘talk with a twist’ before entering a panel discussion. We had a surprise during this discussion as Joi Ito (1), the head of MIT Media Lab, joined in.

For the details of the ‘Nature Café’, please check the OIST web site.

It was a  wonderful evening and the young people in the audience enjoyed it immensely.

I am glad it was a very stimulating session.