Science takes center stage at OIST Open Campus

An OIST visitor experiences the effects of static electricity.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, which rides the leading edge of science in Japan and around the world, is giving back to the community Sunday, February 1st, with invitations to participate in Open Campus 2015.

Magic tricks with common liquids fascinate the young.

The 10 a.m. ~ 5 p.m. Open Campus event takes place on the OIST Main Campus at 1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Okinawa.  A variety of science programs are planned for the day, and admission is free for everything.  Even parking is not a problem at OIST, where more than 300 parking spaces are available on main campus, with another 500 parking slots at Akama Athletic Field with shuttle busses running from the temporary parking area at the Field.

Five guest lecturers will appear at the Open Campus, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with Takeshi Miyaji of

Everyone regardless of age is interested in robotics.

Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory, speaking on “Beautiful Stars of Okinawa” at the auditorium. He’s talking on star gazing available on Okinawa, but not mainland Japan. Miyaji will also discuss and explain about the radio telescope and Murikabushi Telescope, which are located at the National Astronomical Observatory on Ishigaki Island.

At noon, “The Mathematics of Hiking, Bracelets and DNA” is the topic from Prof. Robert Sinclair of the Mathematical Biology Unit. He gets technical in explaining how “when hiking along mountain trails,

Prof. Robert Sinclair demonstrates how mathematics can be applied to various aspects of nature and life.

both the upward and also the downward slopes are tiring. The difficulty of a trail comes from these sloping sections, but there is also a mathematical side. If we start and finish our hike at the same place, the total ascent must equal the total descent, and that is an exact equation! We can think of a bracelet with colored beads as such a hiking trail, but through a space of colors, and once again we meet equations.”

Takeshi Miyaji, Director of Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory, returns at 2 p.m. to discuss “Orion, the Pride of Okinawa”.  He explains how “In  Okinawa you can see many beautiful stars, more than anywhere else in Japan. I will introduce some constellations which we are proud of in Okinawa, including the well-known winter constellation, Orion.”

Prof. Gail Tripp of the Human Developmental Neurobiology Unit speaks on “Understanding and Managing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)”  at 3:30 p.m. She describes ADHD, reviews its possible causes, and discusses strategies for managing the challenges it presents for children, families and teachers. This will include information about the work of the OIST Children’s Research Center.

OIST has large lawns for visitors to enjoy a picnic during the Open Campus.

“Cutting-edge Research Equipment at OIST”  is the late afternoon topic in the C209 Seminar Room with  Dr. Mizuki Shimanuki, OIST Biology Resources Section Manager.  He describes how advanced technology is essential for research. Plain and clear explanation/introductions will be given on the cutting-edge research equipment used at OIST.

The Science  Café is open from 12:30 p.m. through the afternoon, giving visitors a chance to meet with scientists, enjoy casual conversation in a café environment, and ask for answers to topics like “Powers of Ten: Human’s Knowledge and its Future” – although only in Japanese with Dr.Youhei Morita, Section Leader of Conference and Workshop Section and Associate Vice President for CPR, discusisng how people have been solving lots of mysteries of the universe and the nature by building massive accelerators, launching space telescopes, and making electron microscopes. He looks at small numbers that are carried by “10”, and thinks about how these numbers can explain to us the world.

Also at 12:30 p.m., and again at 2:30 p.m., Dr. Zacharie Taoufiq, Staff Scientist, Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function Unit, answers the question “Will we be able to cure all brain cognitive and memory diseases during the 21st century?” This is both in Japanese & English.

Science for people of all ages runs throughout the afternoon, including Magic Tricks with Common Liquids, What Does it Take to Withstand an Earthquake, finding out how buildings withstand earthquakes, Underwater Exploration, a hands-on time where out in the ocean where it’s too deep to dive, scientists use remotely-operated robots to study the seafloor and animals that live in the depths. And then there are the Wonders of Ants offering tidbits of information, including that there re over 10,000 species of ants.10 Questions for You to Think: Where is Science and Technology Heading to? Discusses how science and technology can be used to progress in life.

There are more than a dozen other participation topics at the Science Lab.

Technology goes forward with Forensic Science: (scrape, stain and observe cells from your mouth, or from an onion…), and Live Cell Observation and Image Acquisition Under Fluorescence Microscope to watch living cells fluoresce under a fluorescence microscope! You can also See Your Heartbeat!  See your own ECG (heart beat electrical pattern) on a display screen. One person at a time. No medical interpretation is available!

The mission of the graduate school, “What can I study at OIST?” “How can I get into OIST?” will be explained.  Visitors can get information about OIST admission, life at OIST, etc.

There will be free buses from “Okinawa Pref. Government (OPG)” and “Okinawa Pref. Museum (OPM)”. Please chose “Outward Bus” and “Returning Bus” from the list below.
There are 100 seats for each bus, first-come, first-served basis.

Outward Bus? from Naha to OIST??? choose ONE from the below

  Departure Arrival at OIST  
A: from OPG 8:30 9:30 Register
B: from OPG 11:00 12:00 Register
C: from OPM 8:30 9:30 Register
D: from OPM 11:00 12:00 Register


Returning Bus (from OIST to Naha) ??chose ONE from the below
  Departing from OIST Arrival at Naha  
E: to OPG 14:00 15:00 Register
F: to OPG 17:00 18:00 Register
G: from OPM 14:00 15:00 Register
H: from OPM 17:00 18:00 Register