Tokyo Tech News
Published: May 1, 2013
The Opening ceremony of the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI)
Director of ELSI, Professor Kei Hirose
ELSI's 1st International Symposium held at the Digital Hall in Ookayama Campus
The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) was launched on December 7, 2012 after being selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to participate in its World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI). This initiative reflects the Japanese government's effort to build globally outstanding science research centers in Japan.
To celebrate the launch, an opening ceremony was held on March 27, 2013 in Kuramae Hall at Tokyo Institute of Technology's Ookayama campus, followed by ELSI's 1st International Symposium.
Tokyo Tech's president Yoshinao Mishima opened the three-day event with his speech confirming the university's strong commitment to support ELSI's director Kei Hirose in building a first-rate international and dynamic institute. Following his talk were congratulatory speeches by honorable guests and collaborators from organizations involved in ELSI's support and success, such as MEXT; Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS); Masuo Aizawa, the former president of Tokyo Tech; Ehime University, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), all of whom are satellite institutes to ELSI.
The ceremony closed with two talks, one by Piet Hut, associate director of ELSI overseeing its international and interdisciplinary research affairs, and the grand finale speech by director Kei Hirose who outlined ELSI's dual mission of studying the "origin and evolution of life" and the "origin and evolution of the Earth" through the interdisciplinary collaboration between the fields of Earth, planetary, and life sciences.
ELSI's 1st International Symposium began with a venue change to Digital Hall. Topics from Solid-Earth Science, Planetary Science, Geology, Environmental Biology, Microbial Genome Science, and other related fields to ELSI's research scope were presented, debated and discussed by its Principal Investigators and invited researchers from various institutions from abroad and Japan.
As ELSI's first symposium, the lectures were left to be of a broad focus, to gain insight into the status and trends of research in the various disciplines. The symposium was a success in bringing forth an active and meaningful interdisciplinary exchange by top-notch researchers linked by ELSI's objective, of approaching the origin and evolution of life question by firmly situating the research in the early Earth context that allowed for the rise of initial life and its subsequent evolution to complexity.
(This article previously appeared in "Tokyo Institute of Technology Bulletin")