Kei Hirose's ELSI Chosen as WPI Center by MEXT for FY2012

Professor Kei Hirose's Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was chosen on October 30, 2012 to become another center in MEXT's World Premier International Research Center Initiatives (WPI Centers).

The WPI program was initiated by MEXT in FY2007. The program aims to promote excellence in research by creating "globally visible" research centers where researchers from around the world will vie to come and conduct frontier research in a supportive and highly autonomous research environment.

In addition to the six existing research centers, three new centers, including the ELSI, were selected in 2012 to become WPI Centers focusing on cutting-edge research.

For more information, please refer to the MEXT website.

ELSI Earth-life Science Institute
Earth-life Science Institute ELSI

Director : Kei Hirose

Director : Kei Hirose

Kei is a discoverer of post-perovskite, a principal mineral in the Earth's lowermost mantle. Also, he and his colleagues first created the conditions at the center of the Earth in the laboratory. His recent research explores the formation and evolution of the Earth's core and its role in modulating the surface environments.

Research Objectives

Research Objectives

The research at ELSI has the grand aims of exploring "the origin of the Earth" and "the origin of life", both of which are fundamental questions to humankind. They are inseparable topics, because nature of the first life should have been strongly controlled by surrounding environments. Similarly we will also examine the evolution of life in the context of the evolution of the Earth.

  • What were the environments at the beginning of the Earth's history?
  • When and where did the primordial ecological system originate?
  • How did the Earth and the Universe affect the evolution of life?
  • How unique is our planet?

Outline of Research

We will focus equally on both sides of Earth and life, because the early Earth environment is the key to better understand "the origin of life on Earth". The evolution of the solid Earth should have changed the surface environments and evolved the life as well.

Research Specialty

  • Daily internal communications will follow the model of Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, US (ELSI Satellite).
  • We will promote interdisciplinary research.
  • Young researchers will be directly supervised by the Director. We provide maximum opportunities for young scientists.



The Special Topics component of the Tokyo Tech Website shines a spotlight on recent developments in research and education, achievements of its community members, and special events and news from the Institute.

Past features can be viewed in the Special Topics Gallery.

Published: October 2012


Public Relations Division, Tokyo Institute of Technology