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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)


Social contribution through science and technology

Steady results generated from Waseda research

A center for the development of international medical research and development, and for the cultivation of international medical professionals
Opening of the Asano Laboratory at the Kobe BT Center

Professor Asano explaining the goals of the laboratory

In the past, Waseda University has conducted pioneering research and development based on university-wide academic resources which have been accumulated in the medical field. Our university has also worked to cultivate high-level researchers in the field of advanced life science and medical bio-science. Now, in order to realize increased speed in medical development and industrialization, in order to achieve international contribution in the field of medicine, and in order to realize an international medical industry city, we have established the “Waseda University Asano Laboratory” of the Kobe Biotechnology Research and Human Resource Development Center (BT Center). Professor Shigetaka Asano (Faculty of Science and Engineering; Director of the Waseda University Consolidated Research Institute for Advanced Science and Medical Care) serves as the research representative for the laboratory, which was opened on Kobe Port Island, a cluster of advanced medical industry in Japan.

A large number of public research institutions and medical-related corporations exist in Kobe. There are signs of new medical/health sciences and industries being born in the area through partnerships between industry, academia and government. The Asano Laboratory which advances joint project research related to cancer, leukemia, and maternal and child health based on concepts such as the creation of future medicine, the sharing of research resources in the post-genome area, the establishment of reliable medicine offering peace of mind through a fusion of life sciences, social sciences and the humanities, and medical support for developing countries. The Asano Laboratory is expected to contribute to further growth of the Kobe medical industry while serving as a center for the development of international medical research and development, and for the cultivation of international medical professionals.

The opening ceremony for the laboratory was held on July 15th. At the ceremony, speeches were given by numerous distinguished guests such as Kan Suzuki, Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and Tatsuo Yada, Mayor of Kobe City.

Strengthening partnerships in the field of materials research
Tokyo Office of the Tohoku University Institute for Materials Research established within Waseda University

(from left) Director Mitsuo Niinomi (Tohoku University Institute for Materials), President Akihisa Inoue (Tohoku University), President Shirai (Waseda University), Professor Hiroshi Kawarada (Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering)

In order to form a partnership with Tohoku University for strengthening joint research in next-generation materials, our university has established the Tokyo Office of the Tohoku University Institute for Materials Research within the Waseda University Research and Development Center. An opening ceremony for the office was held on July 22nd. It is extremely rare for a national university to possess a research center within a private university. It is expected that technology will be provided to the industrial world at an increased pace thanks to this partnership which exceeds the boundaries of national and private institutions.

Specifically, this project seeks to fuse the high-function metallic glass development technology possessed by the Tohoku University Institute for Materials Research and the micro-nano level processing technology (applicable to any material) possessed by the Waseda University Institute for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology. The project will conduct joint research and development for new electronics which fuse these technologies, as well as for applications which utilize such electronics. By advancing such joint research and development, our university plans to contribute to society by upgrading materials and discovering practical applications.

Expectations for the clarification of ultra-high speed physical phenomena
Developing a new measurement method for the spatial distribution of electrons within molecules

Machine emitting attosecond soft x-ray lasers which create laser pulses for the irradiation of molecules (1 attosecond= 10-18 seconds)

As part of problem-solving fundamental research conducted at the Japan Science and Technology Agency, Associate Professor Hiromichi Niikura and other members of the Faculty of Science and Engineering have developed a new method for measuring the spatial distribution of electrons within molecules.

Molecules are composed of multiple Atomic nuclei and electrons. Electrons exist in the space around the atomic nuclei at an existence probability that depends on the amount of energy (molecular orbit). The shape and expansion of spatial distribution for the molecular orbit exerts a major influence on chemical reactions. A wide variety of physical and chemical phenomena can be explained based on the molecular orbit characteristics. Direct observation of the molecular orbit and orbital changes is a fundamental technology of advanced measurement in the field of materials science. Additionally, such direct observation is expected to be useful in the development of new functional materials and the creation of pharmaceuticals.

Joint research was performed with the National Research Council of Canada. Research results were published in the July 30th online edition of “Physical Review Letters”, a journal of the American Institute of Physics.

Expected contributions to clarification of the urban infrastructure of the Kanto Plain
Revealing a massive volcanic eruption occurring 2.5 million years ago in the Mt. Tanzawa area

The size of garnet with identical composition becomes progressively smaller in the order of Nakatsu (top left) → Kamakura (top right) → Koto (bottom left) → Choshi (bottom right). This shows that volcanic ash flowed from west to east.

This is a joint project between the Gioscience Workshop (supervised by Professor Hideo Takagi) at the Waseda University Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, and the Laboratory of Geomorphology and Geology (supervised by Professor Haruo Yamazaki and Visiting Researcher Itoko Tamura) at the Tokyo Metropolitan University Faculty & Graduate School of Urban Environmental Science. The two research centers conducted detailed stratigraphic/litholigical examination of large amounts of volcanic ash layers contained in garnet discovered at 4 locations (Nakatsu, Aikawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture; Kamakura City, Kanagawa Prefecture; Koto Ward, Tokyo; Choshi City, Chiba Prefecture) in the upper land layer of the Kanto Plain. Results of the examination showed that the volcanic ash layer contained in the different garnet samples was simultaneous erupted from the same volcano in the Mt. Tanzawa area approximately 2.5 million years ago.

These findings are an important clue for measuring the period of geological layers from around the border of the new fourth period and new third period (approximately 25.9 million year ago) which were recently determined internationally. Additionally, it is expected that this uniquely colored volcanic ash layer will contribute to clarification of the urban infrastructure on the Kanto Plain. Research results will be published in the July edition of the “Journal of the Geological Society of Japan.”

New science and engineering that explores human expression
Preview of a performance that fuses scientific technology with bodily expression

Performance using a slit screen

On August 31st, the Yoshiyuki Miwa Laboratory of the Faculty of Science and Engineering held a preview of “Dual 2010-Shadow Awareness II” at the Okuma Auditorium. Dual 2010-Shadow Awareness II is a performance which has been invited for exhibition at the Science Festival that will be held in Genoa, Italy from October 29th.

The preview featured a system (developed by Miwa Laboratory) which uses a slit screen that is set between the stage and audience seats. The system then projects shadows onto the screen. The preview displayed fantastic images created by overlapping the shadow of performers with shadows created by the media (see picture). The preview also featured the acoustic device “TwinkleBall”, developed by the Shuji Hashimoto Laboratory. TwinkleBall is a spherical device which emits sound and light when thrown and shaken. The dance group “Inclusive Field for Dance!” (Director: Professor Yoko Nishi, Toyo Eiwa University) utilized this technology while performing beautiful dance movements. The stage and audience met through shadows and a dual world connected by shadows was created throughout the entire auditorium.