2023 Activity Report Experiencing Cutting‑edge Research Sites
on the University of Tokyo's Hongo Campus

SAKURA SCIENCE University Program

Experiencing Cutting‑edge Research Sites on the University of Tokyo's Hongo Campus

On Thursday, September 28, 49 undergraduate and graduate students selected from leading universities in India visited the University of Tokyo's Hongo Campus.

After receiving explanations about studying abroad at the University of Tokyo (UTokyo) and about the University of Tokyo India Office, the students were introduced to international student life in Japan by the University of Tokyo Indian Students' Association (UTISA). The visiting students asked a lot of questions at the Q&A session, including "How did you come to study in Japan?", "How do you choose an academic supervisor?", and "What about scholarships?" This led to quite detailed and specific discussions with the Indian students currently studying at UTokyo. UTokyo's Indian students were also responsible for the campus tour. Under a blue sky, they led the students around spots that are symbolic of UTokyo, one by one, including the Yasuda Auditorium, the Akamon Gate, and the Library.

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During the afternoon, the visiting students were offered an opportunity to experience cutting‑edge research sites. To do so, they were split into six groups in accordance with their different fields, which included information science and technology, agricultural and life sciences, engineering, public policy, and science. The groups were created based on a survey that the students had filled out in advance, to ensure they were able to visit laboratories that matched their interests and passions.

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■ Below are excerpts from the reports written by representatives of each group of visiting undergraduate and graduate students. These were submitted after their visit to the laboratories.

G1: Mathematical Informatics, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology (Professor Kunihiko Sadakane)

We were introduced to two topics, which were privacy protection and secure algorithms. We got to know the basics of their research in a very short span of time. Many of the students asked questions on the topics presented, and there was a two‑way interaction, which was fruitful. We all were very thankful for the professor to take time out from his busy schedule and organize this session for us. In the end we also got to interact with three Indian Students about their studies at UTokyo and their life in Japan.

G2: Applied Life Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences (Associate Professor Takehiro Kamiya)

His work mainly focuses on curing food Insecurity which is basically the lack to access of basic nutrients to the human body. Since rice is a staple diet in major countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and India. Two problems that we commonly face is the amount of essential nutrients in the food is less than the concentration that is needed for the body and the contamination of toxoids such as Arsenic, Cadmium found in the rice is a major problem that most of these countries face. We saw all the stages of production and growth of rice crops from them growing in the petri dish which are subjected to artificial light which are later grown in small scale and after checking the concentrations the crops are grown in a large scale field. We also visited their molecular lab where they conduct their molecular genetic research. To conduct agricultural research at such a large scale which creates a significant impact on the society was really an eye opener for most of us.

G3: Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems, Graduate School of Engineering (Professor Takafumi Koseki)
Systems Design Lab, Graduate School of Engineering (Associate Professor Tetsuya Iizuka)

We had a brief discussion on the energy management and motion control technology. At first, we discussed the train trajectory generation method to mitigate the delay propagation on network using the continuous communication‑based train control as compared to state‑of‑the‑art departure prediction system. Second, we discussed the simulated running experiment to control the high‑speed friction fluctuation. Precise control and controllability have been shown using the vertical thrust. Third, we visited the electrical laboratory, where we have seen basic electrical components and connection of induction motors to measure the current and power. We also have seen the clean room facility. The visit to the University of Tokyo has left a mesmerizing experience for us. Further, the lab visits and discussion with the professors and Ph.D. students were very interesting and knowledgeable. We were amazed with the state of the artwork taking place in the university.

G4: Graduate School of Public Policy (Professor Toshiro Nishizawa)

We had a lively talk with current students, both Japanese and international, at GraSPP about the difference between hard and soft sciences, and where economics fits in. We realized that economics started off as a soft science, explaining concepts with simple stories about different economic situations. But now, economics is a mix of both hard and soft science. The research happening in the department is quite extensive and cover matters that are really important for society. It has the potential to directly affect people in different countries and cultures. We were impressed by the diverse group of experienced students at GraSPP, many of whom have worked in the public sector or local government. Right now, the research in the department focuses more on general knowledge about big‑scale economics, with less math. Overall, we have a really positive view of the department, and it encourages us to continue studying Economics and Public Policy.

G5: Department of Chemical System Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering (Professor Kazuhiro Takanabe)

Our journey began with a visit to Takanabe Lab. Prof. Takanabe and his team explained their research in catalysis for energy conversion, covering electrocatalysis, hydrogen evolution reactions, photocatalytic water splitting, and thermal water splitting using inorganic catalysts. We also visited several laboratories for chemical system engineering. Our time at the University of Tokyo exposed us to cutting‑edge research across diverse laboratories. We were deeply inspired by the culture of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation among peers and professors. Considering Japan for higher studies, with the University of Tokyo as an option, is truly enticing. The institution's commitment to pioneering research and the vibrant and world‑class academic environment make it a compelling choice for further studies in this dynamic country.

G6: Fundamental Condensed Matter, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science (Professor Masao Ogata)
Condensed Matter Physics, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science (Professor Shuji Hasegawa)
Particle Physics, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science (Professor Shoji Asai)

The visit to the condensed matter physics laboratory delivered on its promise to be a fascinating and instructive experience by introducing us to the amazing advancements and discoveries taking place in this area. In Particular, we have seen the effect of superconductivity (Meissner effect) and how it can be used in Levitations. We think that this technology has really the potential to take future transport systems at another level and there could be a wider range of applications of it. The subsequent visit to the quantum computing lab as well as the fabrication labs, was very informative and fascinating as it might have been the first time a lot of us saw something like that. All of us have seen a real quantum computer for the very first time this closely. We think that quantum computer is really the future of computation. Although doing normal computation on a normal computer will be much more efficient, it will be the quantum computer that will lead us in R&D in the future.

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