RIKEN exhibits at 2012 AAAS Annual Meeting
30 March 2012 (Volume 7 Issue 3)
As one of the most widely recognized global science events, the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) attracts thousands of the world’s leading scientists and engineers every year. RIKEN has once again participated as an exhibitor at the event, and two prominent RIKEN researchers, representing the fields of plant science and nuclear physics, also gave presentations on their research. This year’s meeting was held from 16–20 February at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Based on this year’s theme of ‘Flattening the World: Building a Global Knowledge Society’, over 180 exhibitors presented various approaches to tackle global problems such as climate change, and focused on issues including energy, agriculture, health, water, biodiversity and ecosystems, population growth, and economic development. RIKEN’s booth at the 2012 AAAS meeting presented research on the broad themes of Health, Food and the Environment. Together, these three themes covered research ranging from care-giving robots for the elderly to DNA amplification technology for fighting global pandemics, new varieties of salt-resistant and high-yield rice produced using heavy-ion beams, and supercomputer-based global climate prediction.
RIBA-II, a care-giving robot developed by a RIKEN team in August 2011, attracted a great deal of interest from researchers, medical professionals, and members of the general public including families with children. The Vancouver Sun, one of Western Canada’s largest daily newspapers, covered the story in their health section and their blog.
On the Family Science Days held on 18–19 February, RIKEN delegates demonstrated how to make a small paper spectroscope, to the delight of children who were fascinated by the ‘rainbow’ that appeared in the spectroscopes they had made.
In addition to the exhibit booth, Kazuo Shinozaki, Director of the RIKEN Plant Science Center, gave a talk on some of the latest research being conducted in the area of stress-inducible genes and applications to the development of drought tolerant plants. Nuclear physicist Pieter Doornenbal of the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science presented a perspective from Japan on the response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.