November 2, 2003 (Arrival in Japan)
15:11 Arrived at Tokyo Narita Airport on United Airlines Flight 890.
Took Narita Express to JR Tokyo station.
Traveled from Tokyo to Sendai on the Tohoku Shinkansen.
Checked into hotel.
November 3 - 7:
Participated in "The 3rd International Symposium on Slow Dynamics in Complex Systems" hosted by the Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University and delivered a lecture.
November 8 (Morning):
Traveled from Sendai to Tokyo on the Tohoku Shinkansen.
Checked into hotel.
November 9 (Morning):
Research discussion with Professor Emeritus Hideki Shirakawa, University of Tsukuba and Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid, University of Pennsylvania, at hotel.
Traveled to Tsukuba by limousine taxi.
Checked into hotel.
Research discussions and exchanges of opinion with full-time TIMS professors.
November 10 (Morning):
Participated in welcoming party at the Administration Center given by the President of Tsukuba University.
Exchanged opinions with university personnel concerned, including the President and Vice Presidents of Tsukuba University.
Attended opening ceremony and commemorative lecture meeting of TIMS at University Hall.
Research exchanges and discussions with participating researchers from all over Japan.
November 11 (All day):
Delivered a special invitation speech at commemorative lecture meeting of TIMS at University Hall.
Research exchanges and discussions with participating researchers from all over Japan, graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Tsukuba and met students from local high schools.
Exchanged opinions with researchers from the University of Tsukuba and professors related to TIMS.
November 12 (Morning):
Traveled from Tsukuba to Tokyo Narita Airport by limousine taxi.
16:25 Departed from Tokyo Narita Airport on United Airlines Flight 890.
Arrived at Los Angeles Airport on the same day.
Transferred to United Exp/Sky flight 6211.
Arrived at Santa Barbara Airport.
Circumstances and results of acceptance
The purpose of holding the invitation project was to arrange for the three researchers who jointly won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000 (Professor Emeritus Hideki Shirakawa, University of Tsukuba, Professor Alan J. Heeger, University of California, and Professor Alan G. MacDiarmid, University of Pennsylvania) to meet together. However, the researchers were weighed down with a great deal of work immediately after receiving the prize, so scheduling a joint meeting was extremely difficult.
At the same time, the University of Tsukuba was in the process of establishing a new research center, to be called the "Shirakawa Center" from the end of 2000 to commemorate Professor Emeritus Shirakawa being awarded the Nobel Prize. Preparations for setting up the center, including submission of estimates of budget requests and negotiations with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology were very time-consuming, so for two years we were not able to make sufficient preparation as a hosting institute for the eminent foreign researchers.
The "Shirakawa Center" was decided to be founded as the "Tsukuba Research Center for Interdisciplinary Materials Science (TIMS)" in April 2003. Accordingly, we decided to hold an opening ceremony and commemorative lecture meeting for this center, and invite Professor Heeger and Professor MacDiarmid, who are eminent foreign researchers on this project, to Japan.
On November 11, Professor Heeger gave a special speech, entitled "Gene Sensors: the Detection of Specific Targeted Sequences on DNA", and Professor MacDiarmid delivered a special speech, titled "Electronic Polymers: New Materials for the 21st Century" at the commemorative lecture meeting hosted by TIMS. They presented their latest research results and prospects for the development of basic research on applying conductive polymers to the field of biology and the development of conductive polymer applications for use in the field of electronic materials.
Next, Professor Emeritus Shirakawa gave a speech, entitled "Research on polyacetylene: from the elucidation of the acetylene polymerization mechanism to the discovery of doping", President Teruo Kishi, National Institute for Materials Science, gave a talk entitled "Expectations as a university of the next generation", and Trustee Kazunobu Tanaka, of National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, gave a speech entitled "Expectations for collaboration and fusion". At the previous day's commemorative lecture meeting on November 10, President Leo Esaki of the Shibaura Institute of Technology gave a speech, titled "The challenge of a limit".
The opening ceremony and commemorative lecture meeting at TIMS was held with the support of the Eminent Foreign Researchers Invitation Project. On this occasion, exchange of research information among researchers from not only public and private research institutes in Tsukuba Science City but also from all over Japan, and research discussions with graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Tsukuba were actively carried out. Furthermore, a number of students from local high schools attended the commemorative lecture meeting and met the Nobel laureates. This was a real contribution to the science education of the younger generation.
This opening ceremony and commemorative lecture meeting was the most rewarding and substantial event ever, with four Nobel laureates meeting together in the same hall. At the same time, this event was a major step towards making this center well-known nationwide, enhancing public recognition of its existence, and promoting future research programs. The number of participants at this highly successful two-day event totaled about 900.
Invited researchers' contribution to hosting institute
(encouragement of young researchers, internationalization of hosting institute as a whole, and others)
Professor Heeger delivered a speech entitled "Gene Sensors: the Detection of Specific Targeted Sequences on DNA" at the commemorative lecture meeting of TIMS on November 11, in which he spoke about developing conductive polymers for use in the field of biology. Professor Heeger himself is a physicist, but crosses the traditional boundaries between disciplines. He described how he is tackling the new field of application of conductive polymers to the field of biology. Professor Heeger's tireless pursuit of scientific development and his upbeat attitude to research made a great impression on all who attended the meeting, particularly the young researchers. His message, which embodies numerous guiding principles for future research, has clear relevance to the development of this research center, with its aim of carrying out interdisciplinary research on materials science.
From the viewpoint of further internationalizing the University of Tsukuba, we discussed promoting collaborative research and research interchanges between TIMS and the Institute of Polymers and Organic Solids, headed by Professor Heeger, at the Department of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara. The plans will be brought into shape, starting from mutual interchanges among young teaching staff and graduate students.