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Report on the Tokyo Tech Inspiring Lecture Series, "Origins:Earth and Life" Science at ELSI

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Published: October 10, 2014

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To introduce some of the exciting research that is taking place at Tokyo Tech, the Institute is holding a series of lectures called the Tokyo Tech Inspiring Lecture Series. The first event of this series was held on July 16, 2014 under the title “Origins: Earth and Life - Science at ELSI,” casting a spotlight on Tokyo Tech’s Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI). ELSI aims to become an international hub for research in bioplanetology. Four world-renowned scientists connected to ELSI, including the 2009 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine and ELSI’s principal investigator, Professor Jack W. Szostak, and ELSI’s director, Professor Kei Hirose, spoke about their latest research on the origin and evolution of the Earth and life.

Over 340 people pre-registered for the event, more than the seating capacity of Kuramae Hall at Tokyo Tech Front, and many more registered at the door on the day of the event. The diverse audience ranged from high school students to working adults. Lectures were given in English with simultaneous interpretation in Japanese.

>Lecture by Professor Jack W. Szostak, >2009 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Lecture by Professor Jack W. Szostak, 2009 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Researchers in the fields of earth and planetary science and life sciences have come together at ELSI to investigate the origin and evolution of the Earth. The researchers aim to understand the processes by which initial life emerged in the early Earth environment.

Four researchers representing their fields gave lectures at the first event of the Tokyo Tech Inspiring Lecture Series.

1.The origin of cellular life

Jack W. Szostak

Jack W. Szostak
Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Principal Investigator at ELSI

2.Other Earth and the search for life beyond the solar system

Dimitar Sasselov

Dimitar Sasselov
Director, Origins of Life Initiative, Harvard University (ELSI’s satellite center)

3.Origin of water on the Earth

Kei Hirose

Kei Hirose
Professor and Director of ELSI

4.Mars vs. Earth - planetary constraints on the origins of life

Joseph L. Kirschvink

Joseph L. Kirschvink
Nico and Marilyn Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology, California Institute of Technology, and Principal Investigator at ELSI

The lectures were followed by a lively question-and-answer session where members of the audience asked many questions such as “What is the definition of life?” and “What are the necessary conditions for the emergence of life?” There were students who asked questions in English and high school students who directly asked questions to the lecturers after the event.

Lecturers answering various questions

Lecturers answering various questions

Don’t miss the future Tokyo Tech Inspiring Lecture Series events to learn about the cutting-edge research being conducted at Tokyo Tech.

Contact
Earth-Life Science Institute
Tel +81-3-5734-3163
Email: event@elsi.jp

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