Sakura Homecoming Online Event to Reconnect Members in a Friendly Atmosphere

On November 27, 2020 Sakura Homecoming webinar hosted by Sakura Science Club Alumni in Thailand (SSCAT) welcomed approximately 200 viewers from 19 countries/regions across the world. After the opening remarks by Mr. Kobayashi Yoshihide (e-ASIA Special Program Coordinator in Thailand, JST) and Mr. Albert Potjes (SSCAT Thai Team Main Coordinator), the meeting was carried out in a friendly atmosphere from the beginning to end, thanks to the dedicated efforts by warm-hearted Thai members.

Volunteer members started to prepare for this webinar as early as September. With minimum support from the secretariat, they discussed and decided on the concept─reunion, re-connect, recommend─in the hope to meet each other again in person. The team repeatedly rehearsed the timing and delivery of the whole webinar, with Ms. Chutharat Chai-ngam (Chemistry Teacher at Princess Chulabhorn Science High School Pathumthani) acting as moderator. The keynote speaker Mr. Muraki Kazumi was chosen due to popular demand by Thai members.

Mr. Muraki who is conducting his life-long project under CRRA (Carbon Recovering Research Agency), introduced his laboratory where young scientists work together. Alongside his world-famous CO2 removal device Hiyassy, he developed a new device Torussy which can take out the absorbed carbon dioxide in the form of gas. Moreover, the removed CO2 can be converted into methane (CH4). Many positive comments were repeatedly posted in the webinar chat box while Mr. Muraki spoke. Now, he has found the way to produce gasoline from CO2 and production is under way in CRRA’s factory outside Tokyo.

Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s book in his boyhood, he was convinced that he will go to Mars one day to experience the blue-colored sunset. In order to live on Mars, humans need to get rid of the CO2 layer covering the planet. That motivation became the core root to his research. Now humans can only travel one-way to Mars but with Mr. Muraki’s idea to produce fuel inside the rocket, we may be able to experience a return trip from Mars soon. To fulfill his goal, now he is starting a project to make a new vehicle to go and come back from Mars.

After Mr. Muraki’s presentation, three SSC members talked about how the exchange program affected their academic pursuits. Mr. Udomsopagit Phurinat at Mahidol University mentioned his future plan to major either in geophysics or biophysics, while Mr. Siwat Lawanwadeekul explained about his research in energy and environmental engineering at Oita University’s graduate program. His travel photos were intriguing, too. Ms. Thitaphon Palm Piraban joined us all the way from the U.S. where she is now majoring in Visual Effects under a fellowship scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. As JST’s collaborator, Miss Nampeung Samadeh from JASSO Thailand (Japan Student Services Organization) briefed the audience about graduate school admission and research fellowship in Japan.

Once again, the secretariat would like to thank all members and collaborators, who made time for this event which proved that we can still re-connect and get inspired in times of COVID-19. Particularly, we extend our deepest gratitude to Mr. Albert Potjes who has been voluntarily maintaining the Facebook page of SSC Alumni in Thailand since 2017. In 2017, the first Thai alumni gathering was held in connection to the Study in Japan Fair in Bangkok. We hope SSCAT will expand even more with new incoming members.