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JSPS Quarterly No. 9, 2004 (69 KB)

9th Japan-Germany Science Symposium Held in Halle

This symposium was co-organized by JSPS's Bonn Office, directed by Prof. Yasuo Tanaka, and the German JSPS Alumni Club. It was convened over a 2-day period from 14-15 May at the Congress Centre Rotes Ross in the city of Halle in the old East German quarter.

This year's theme, "Frontiers of Nanoscience," encompassed a range of new nanotechnologies with possible applications to such fields as information, energy, environment, and biotechnology. It was addressed through presentations by three researchers from each the Japanese and German side.

The first day began with an opening message from JSPS Alumni Club chair Prof. Dr. Heinrich Menkhaus (Philipps University of Marburg), who was followed by remarks from Mr. Shigeo Iwatani, minister, Japanese Embassy; Prof. Dr. Wilfried Grecksch, rector, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg; Ms Anke Ruprecht, representative of the mayor of Halle; Dr. Gisela Janetzke, deputy secretary general, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH); and Dr. Kenichi Iga, executive director, JSPS. All expressed expectation in the symposium serving to strengthen scientific exchange between Japan and Germany.

Presentations were then delivered by the three Japanese researchers: Prof. Dr. Akira Tonomura, fellow, Hitachi, Ltd.; Prof. Dr. Satoshi Kawata, professor, Osaka University; and Prof. Dr. Masuo Aizawa, president, Tokyo Institute of Technology. They spoke respectively on the topics "The Quantum World Unveiled by Electron Waves"; "Nano Optics Beyond the Diffraction Limit"; and "Challenges of Bio-nanotechnology." They were followed by their German counterparts: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Knoll, director, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research; Dr. Margit Zacharias, MPI of Microstructure Physics; and Prof. Dr. Alfred Nordmann, Darmstadt University of Technology, whose respective topics were "Nanoscopic Building Blocks from Polymers, Metals and Semiconductors for Hybrid Architectures"; "Nanostruc-tures-à la carte"; and "Nanotechnology: Convergence and Integration."

Beginning with the members of the JSPS Alumni Club, some 240 people attended the symposium including researchers from local and more distant regions of Germany and students of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. State-of-the-art in content, the presentations evoked keen interest and probing questions from the audience. After the first day of sessions, a tour was made of the city of Halle in which the participants enjoyed a buffet dinner and convivial conversation at Steintor-Varieté, one of Europe's oldest music halls.

The program on the second day of the symposium started with a session on "Instruments of Funding German-Japanese Scientific Exchange," in which the programs and organizations of funding agencies in Germany and Japan were introduced. On the German side, Dr. Gernot Gad, German Research Foundation (DFG), outlined the main programs for funding international exchange at DFG, AvH, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Max Planck Society (MPG). On the Japanese side, Mr. Sho Hagio, deputy director, JSPS Bonn Office, summarized the grant and fellowship programs offered by JSPS as an "independent administrative institution."

Highlighting a good audience response, many of the attending researchers, especially those who specialize in nanoscience, praised the presentations for their sophisticated content. Others, however, with specializations on the periphery were at a loss they said to comprehend what was being said. This perhaps bespeaks the accelerating pace of compartmentalization in today's rapidly advancing scientific domains.

The last speaker of the day was Prof. Dr. Alfred Nordmann, whose presentation took a philosophical approach that in a sense called the morality of scientists into question. A give-and-take on the pros and cons of this notion welled up in the wake of the symposium. As a catalyst for spurring discussion, the event was most successful.