iTHEMS Colloquium by Dr. Hong-Yan Shih on April 22, 2022
On April 22 (Fri), we had the first iTHEMS colloquium of FY2022 by inviting Hong-Yan Shih from Academia Sinica, Taiwan. After reviewing the turbulent phenomena in various area of science, she discussed how the turbulence occurs by increasing the flow velocity and how one can develop an effective theory to describe the critical region of laminar-turbulent transition. Then she discussed a remarkable mathematical relation between the effective theory with the predator-prey dynamics in ecology and showed a characteristic super exponential scaling law. The topic was an ideal subject for the interdisciplinary talk, and there were many questions from the researchers with different scientific backgrounds.
iTHEMS x academist online event was held on April 24, 2022
As the alternative for the lectures at RIKEN’s annual open house, iTHEMS held another online lecture event for the general public with the help of Academist Inc., on April 24th, 2022. This year, the lectures were Masaki Taniguchi, Hidetoshi Taya, Akira Harada, Yingying and Euki Yazaki, who all gave splendid public lectures accessible even to junior-high school students. Each lecturer also served as a commentator to another lecture, asking questions on behalf of the audience. During the lunch break, Program Director Hatsuda showed the offices of iTHEMS and around. The event was moderated by Ms. Michibayashi from Academist; Her facilitation with a wit kept the event lively. At one time during the event, more than two hundred audiences participated.
iTHEMS Starter Meeting for FY2022 on April 8, 2022
The iTHEMS Starter Meeting for FY 2021 was held over Zoom as past two years’ meeting to kick off its activity for FY 2022. Over seventy iTHEMS members, frequent visitors and colleagues from other institute got together and introduced each other.
iTHEMS NOW & NEXT FY2021 was held on March 25, 2022
The annual in-house gathering entitled iTHEMS NOW and NEXT FY2021 was held on March 25th online. The gathering is an occasion that we discuss the current status and future perspectives on our research and organization. The event started with five keynote talks given by Takeru Yokota, Yalong Cao, Ryosuke Iritani, Ryo Namba, Keita Mikami. After a short break a session on the proper practices in conducting scientific researches followed during lunch time. In the session, the participants discussed their research practices in small groups and later shared their discussions with all. In the afternoon, each working group and study group made their progress reports. Program Director Hatsuda’s remarks concluded the gathering.
Farewell message from Dr. Akinori Tanaka
Our colleague Akinori Tanaka moves on to a new carrier at RIKEN AIP as of April 1st. We all will miss him and wish him the best of luck in his latest endeavor. Here is a message from Akinori Tanaka: First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues, assistants, and all the people for sharing time in iTHEMS. I really enjoyed discussing and chatting, even though I spent a lot of time online. In fact, this is the 2nd time for me to leave here. When I started my research as a member of iTHES, not iTHEMS at that time, I was working on theoretical physics. But, in addition to my own research, I also enjoyed chatting with my colleagues and getting new concepts: machine learning and related topics, and it opened up my next career. As a result, I returned to iTHEMS as a machine learning researcher, as you know. It was very surprising for me that all the activities were really sophisticated compared to the ones in iTHES, and I was happy to participate in the activities in information theory study group, SSP workshop, and chatting after the coffee meeting. Now I leave this message as if this was farewell, but it's not. I will move to RIKEN AIP from this April as a senior research scientist, but hold a post in iTHEMS also. I would like to deepen my thoughts on machine learning from mathematical, biological, and physical perspectives, so I'm happy if all of you discuss/chat with me as I have so far, even after April.
Farewell message from Dr. Kanato Goto
Our colleague Kanato Goto moves on to a new carrier at Kyoto University as of April 1st. We all will miss him and wish him the best of luck in his latest endeavor. Here is a message from Kanato Goto: I am leaving iTHEMS to move to Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics at Kyoto University. I have been very happy to have had the opportunity to work with you all for the past three years. The experience of discussing with scientists from various fields at iTHEMS is invaluable for my research carrier. The first year I joined iTHEMS, I stayed in the U.S. Regrettably, the Corona disaster struck during my stay, and I was deprived of the opportunity to interact with you all in person, even after returning to Japan. I hope to visit iTHEMS in the near future and discuss you again. I cannot thank the assistants enough for their great help. Thanks to them, I could devote myself to my research without any inconvenience. Thank you very much, all the iTHEMS members! See you again soon!
Farewell message from Dr. Naomi Tsuji
Our colleague Naomi Tsuji moves on to a new carrier at Kanagawa University as of April 1st. We all will miss her and wish her the best of luck in her latest endeavor. Here is a message from Naomi Tsuji: Since I joined iTHEMS in April 2020, my research life at iTHEMS completely overlapped with the pandemic. At first, I found it difficult to get to know each other and communicate with the other iTHEMS members through online meeting systems, but gradually it became possible and comfortable to me. I have been working on mainly data analysis of X-ray or gamma-ray observations from astrophysical objects at iTHEMS, a group of theorists. I was glad that some members showed their interest in my study, and it was so exciting and stimulating to discuss about it. I wish I could have more discussion with many of the iTHEMS members in person and hope those days will come in the near future. Until then, let us stay healthy and have good science!
Farewell message from Dr. Yukimi Goto
Our colleague Yukimi Goto moves on to a new carrier at Kyushu University as of April 1st. We all will miss her and wish her the best of luck in her latest endeavor. Here is a message from Yukimi Goto: It may not be obvious to those in other fields, but iTHEMS is a unique place for Japanese mathematicians. Japanese mathematicians do not have many opportunities to talk with researchers in fields other than their own. I am an applied mathematician, but I did not have a chance to talk casually with physicists at university. After coming to iTHEMS and talking with physicists and biologists, I found that they are very interested in and expect a lot from mathematics. When I talked about my research, they always tried to understand it and asked me what kind of problems we could solve in mathematics. I enjoyed discussing with them, and it motivated me to do research. Although it was only two years and I met most of them online, I am grateful that I had such a wonderful time with them.
Farewell message from Dr. Takashi Okada
Our colleague Takashi Okada moves on to a new carrier at Kyoto University as of April 1st. We all will miss him and wish him the best of luck in his latest endeavor. Here is a message from Takashi Okada: I joined iTHEMS in 2018. My main workplace was in Hallatschek group, UC Berkeley. I researched on biophysics & evolutionary dynamics and learned a lot of things there. I also enjoyed working with iTHEMS members on interdisciplinary projects. I believe that some projects were made possible only by collaboration with wonderful iTHEMS members. I really appreciate iTHEMS' support during my long-term stay in Berkeley. Thanks to iTHEMS support, I could focus on work without any problems during this pandemic. From this spring, I am moving to Mochizuki Lab (Kyoto Univ) as a Program-Specific Associate Professor. The scientific atmosphere of ITHEMS is so great, and I hope that I can continue to collaborate with great members in iTHEMS. Let's keep in touch!
Farewell message from Dr. Hiroyasu Miyazaki
Our colleague Hiroyasu Miyazaki moves on to a new carrier at NTT Communication Science Laboratories as of March 1st. We all will miss him and wish him the best of luck in his latest endeavor. Here is a message from Hiroyasu Miyazaki: My academic life is full of precious memories with iTHES and iTHEMS members. When I first joined the group, I was a bit worried since there were only a few mathematicians in RIKEN. But that was unnecessary. Everybody was very kind to me and every communication was really enjoyable. And the pleasure kept becoming larger and larger. I will certainly miss you and the heart-warming atmosphere in iTHEMS, but the life never stops. I am moving to a private research institute called NTT-IFM (Institute for Fundamental Mathematics) on March 1st. I am supposed to work as a mathematician. So there will still be a lot of opportunities for discussion with you. If you will find me wandering in Wako campus (or anywhere else), please catch me and talk to me! Of course you are very welcome to visit NTT-IFM if you are interested. Let’s keep in touch and see you again soon!
What’s inside a black hole? U-M physicist uses quantum computing, machine learning to find out
Dr. Enrico Rinaldi (iTHEMS Visiting Scientist) has been featured in institutional website. "Dude, what if everything around us was just … a hologram? The thing is, it could be—and a University of Michigan physicist is using quantum computing and machine learning to better understand the idea, called holographic duality." See related links for details.
The Mysterious Forces Inside the Nucleus Grow a Little Less Strange
In the recent article posted in "Quanta magazine”, iTHEMS Director Tetsuo Hatsuda, visiting researcher Tetsuo Hyodo and their collaborator Laura Fabbietti in Munich are interviewed about the ongoing studies on the mysteries of nuclear forces using the Japanese supercomputers and the European Large Hadron Collider (LHC). See related links for details.
"RIKEN AIP-Suri-joshi Joint Seminar" was held on January 29, 2022
On 29th January, a joint seminar of RIKEN AIP and Suri-Joshi took place and Ryosuke Iritani served as one of the guest speakers (including the iTHEMS affiliates Drs. Motoko Kato and Ade Irma Suriajaya). Unfortunately, the overwhelming COVID-19 situation in Tokyo did not allow for an in-person seminar as had been originally planned, which was indeed a bit disappointing for me. Nevertheless, thanks to the huge effort of AIP staff as well as Suri-Joshi organizers, we had a very successful talk session as well as Q&A session. I found the high diversity among the speakers considerably enriched our discussion. In this pandemic era, I can easily imagine many students struggling how to find dreams or what they want to be, which would have been already difficult even under normal circumstances. We emphasized that learning what you are interested in is a precious experience, which is the best motivating factor to work as a scientist. I hope the audience enjoyed our discussion, but as usual, I bet it was me who enjoyed best as-if one of the audience. I cannot thank too much to Suri-Joshi organizers and AIP staff for inviting me, to the speakers whom I was not able to meet in person this time but look forward to meeting in the near future, to the mathematically enthusiastic, professional announcer Naoko Shinozaki for her moderation of the sessions, and of course to the promising students who are deeply interested in learning and studying, for attending the seminar and asking excellent questions! Reported by Ryosuke Iritani
SSH Seminar "When high-school mathematics is useful in biology" was held on February 4, 2022
On February 4th, 2022, Ryosuke Iritani gave an online lecture on mathematical biology, entitled “高校で学ぶ数学が生物研究で活きるとき”（“when high-school mathematics is useful in biology”） for a Super Science High-school program at Takatsuki Junior and Senior High School. I started off with how a scientific career develops and what it is like to work as a scientist. I then delved into a scientific world, and demonstrated high school mathematics is a powerful tool to research in biology, drawing examples from the Fibonacci series in genetics, Price equation using recursive equations, game theory with matrix algebra, and kin selection theory for ants' society. I closed the talk with an encouragement for the motivated, budding scientists, that learning and studying are both extremely fun. I thank Kanda-sensei for inviting me to such a fantastic opportunity, as well as Suri-Joshi for giving me the opportunity to write an article that made this lecture possible by drawing Kanda-sensei's attention! Reported by Ryosuke Iritani
Reading the World through the Window of Math Focusing on the Sensitivity of Young Researchers
A column article about "Reading the World through the Window of Math" appeared on Imagineer Co., Ltd. Ten Minutes TV. The article is based on the co-authored book "Reading the World through the Window of Math: Exploring Prime Numbers, AI, Biology, and the Universe" (edited by Tetsuo Hatsuda and Ryosuke Shibato, Iwanami Shoten), which was written by young researchers from iTHEMS. Please see the related link for details.
Farewell message from Dr. Jason Chang
Our colleague Jason Chang moves on to a new carrier at LinkedIn as of November 14th. We all will miss him and wish him the best of luck in his latest endeavor. Here is a message from Jason: It was truly a pleasure to be part of iTHEMS. I have matured so much during this time through all the opportunities that have been made available to me because of how much iTHEMS has supported me in the decisions that I made. I certainly will miss everyone as well. I will move on to a data science position at LinkedIn. If anyone from iTHEMS is curious or has interest in transitioning to some industry position especially around the Bay Area, feel free to reach out to me. I will be more than happy to help with the process and introduce the person to the right recruiters as well. I believe I can convince LinkedIn to let me continue research in quantum algorithms for around 1 day / week as well. So perhaps in the end, I am not going away as far as one might think. The world is quite small after all. My direct manager at LinkedIn was Aida’s postdoc when I was her graduate student. One never knows which doors life decides to open. Kind Regards, Jason
Can social issues be solved by mathematical science? -attempts and challenges
On Oct.26, the symposium "Can social issues be solved by mathematical science? -attempts and challenges" was held under the leadership of Takashi Sakajo (Kyoto Univ.) and Shingo Iwami (Nagoya Univ.) who are also iTHEMS colleagues. The symposium was held in a hybrid matter with more than 220 participants. After the presentations on various approaches to bridge the academia and industry, there were lively discussions on how to cross the valley between the mathematical science and social needs.
Shigefumi Mori will be awarded the Order of Culture
We are very happy to hear that Shigefumi Mori, Director-General and Distinguished Professor, KUIAS and Senior Advisor of RIKEN iTHEMS, will be awarded the Order of Culture in recognition of his “outstanding achievements in mathematics, especially in algebraic geometry, in creating Mori Theory, a theory of minimal models of algebraic varieties, which has had a significant impact on a wide range of fields in the mathematical sciences, and for his outstanding contributions to the development of this field”. Mori-san’s field of expertise is mathematics, especially algebraic geometry. He was awarded the Fields Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1990 for his great work on the classification problem of algebraic varieties, a central theme in algebraic geometry, and has continued to vigorously lead research in related areas. An algebraic variety is, roughly speaking, the set of solutions of algebraic equations. For example, the (real) solution of the equation x2 + y2 = 1 is a unit circle, which is an algebraic variety. The notion of algebraic varieties enables us to transform algebraic problems into geometric problems. It is an important task in algebraic geometry to study the properties of algebraic varieties. However, it is not efficient to study each algebraic varieties one by one. So, mathematicians identify similar varieties as the same “species”, and try to make a “biological dictionary” of algebraic varieties. Here, we say that two algebraic varieties are “similar” if they map to each other under an operation called birational transformation. Birational transformation is an operation to modify low-dimensional part of an algebraic variety. Since birational transformation preserves main part of algebraic varieties, we can naturally regard two varieties that are transformed to each other by this operation as the same species. In such a biological species, there are many (non-isomorphic) individual algebraic varieties. Which individual should we choose to show in the dictionary as a “standard example”? In this kind of situation, mathematicians usually want to bring the simplest possible representative example, which algebraic-geometers call “minimal model”. For example, let’s think of 1-dimensional algebraic varieties, i.e., curves. A curve has singularities in general, but we can birationally transform the curve into a non-singular curve. In fact, inside a “species”, there is only one non-singular curve. So it is obvious that we should choose this non-singular curve as a minimal model. In 2-dimensional case (surface case), we can still make any surface into non-singular surface. However, this time, there are many non-singular surfaces in a species, so not all of them are the simplest as possible. If a surface is not minimal, then we can alway find a special types of curve, called “(-1)-curve” on a surface and contract them into one points to get a smaller surface. By iterating this process, we can obtain a non-singular surface with no (-1)-curves, which is the minimal model. What happens in higher dimensions? In any dimension, fortunately, we can always transform an algebraic variety into a non-singular one by birational transformation (This is an important result by Heisuke Hironaka, another Fields Medalist). But if the dimension is greater than or equal to 3, in the process of creating smaller algebraic varieties, it is sometimes inevitable to allow some singularities to re-appear. This makes the classification problem much more difficult in higher dimension. However, Mori-san proved that we can always find the minimal model in three dimension if we allow the existence of mild singularities called “terminal singularities”. It is very hard to construct smaller algebraic varieties without causing bad singularities, but Mori-san constructed a theory to overcome this essential difficulty. After Mori-san’s breakthrough, there has been a big development in classification problems in dimensions higher than 3. Moreover, the theory has had (and will have) vast applications in various areas of mathematics. I have introduced only a small part of the great achievements of Shigefumi Mori. We congratulate Mori-san on his award and on the progress of higher dimensional minimal model program. iTHEMS wishes him further progress in Mori Theory and in the promotion of mathematical sciences. Hiroyasu Miyazaki (on behalf of iTHEMS)
Prof. Motoko Kotani was elected as the next president of the International Science Council
Prof. Motoko Kotani (Senior Visiting Scientist, iTHEMS) was elected as the next President-elect of the International Science Council (ISC) at the ISC General Assembly held on October 14, 2012. The term of office is for three years starting in 2024. To read more, please see the related link (in Japanese).
Mathematics and Physics: Topology, Insulators and My Research Life
Dr. Tomoki Ozawa (Visiting Scientist, iTHEMS) writes on the website "SURI-JOSHI" about topological insulators and his research life and daily life. Please see the related link for the article.
RIKEN-Vancouver Joint Workshop on Quantum Computing was held on August 24-25, 2021
RIKEN-Vancouver Joint Workshop on Quantum Computing was held online on August 24-25. The main aim of this workshop is that the quantum people in RIKEN (iTHEMS and RQC) and Vancouver (Quantum BC) get together online to discuss scientific activities and explore future collaborations. There were altogether 164 registrations (90 from Japan, 62 from Canada and 12 from other countries). 12 scientific talks were presented together with 3 introduction to iTHEMS, RQC and Quantum BC. From iTHEMS, Jason Chang, Etsuko Itou, and Takumi Doi gave talks respectively on the Schroedinger equation, the U(1) gauge theory and combinatorial optimization. After each session, there were one-hour breakout sessions, so that people can ask further questions to the speakers, which worked very well. The workshop was an excellent first step toward a close tie between RIKEN quantum activities and Vancouver quantum activities.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun: Utilizing the Power of Quantum Computers in Combination
Dr. Hirotaka Irie (iTHEMS Visiting Scientist (Industry)) was interviewed in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He talks about the "hybrid type" that combines the best parts of conventional computers and quantum computers. Please see the related link for details.
iTHEMS Science Outreach Workshop 2021 was held on July 11-12, 2021
On July 11 and 12, we had Journalist in Residence Workshop 2021 on Zoom. This year as last year, Tambara Institute of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Tokyo is closed because of COVID-19 and we again organized it on Zoom. The participants included more than 20 journalists, more than 20 participants from RIKEN and 10 from universities. 9 iTHEMS members mainly explained their working field and recent important achievements to the nonspecialists. There were 24 talks in total in a variety of fields. The discussion among the participants continued with joy in the evening of July 11 in ZOOM. We hope to organize it next year, in principle face to face and including remote participants by online.
The work of a research group, including Dr. Maria Dainotti and Enrico Rinaldi, has been featured in several institutional press releases and websites
The work of a research group, including Dr. Maria Dainotti and Enrico Rinaldi, has been featured in several institutional press releases and websites. One of the most famous open problems of modern cosmology is the Hubble constant (H0) tension. This consists in the discrepancy (>4 sigma) between the values of H0 measured with the late universe local probes, namely the Supernovae Ia (SNe Ia), and the early universe observations, the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation. With our investigation we found that a slow evolution with redshift is present in this constant thus allowing to alleviate this discrepancy. The study is published in ApJ. The investigation started when Dr. Maria Dainotti (now Assistant Professor at NAOJ) and Enrico Rinaldi (now Research Fellow at Michigan University) were Senior Research Scientist and Visiting Scientist both at iTHEMS, respectively. See related links for details.
Event to celebrate the publication of "The Future of Useless Research was held on April 28, 2021
On April 28, 2021, an online event "Ai Nishida x Tetsuo Hatsuda x Sayaka Oki x Ryosuke Shibato: What We Need to Talk About Now for a Happy Relationship between Researchers and Citizens" was held at B&B, a bookstore in Shimokitazawa. The event was held to celebrate the publication of "The Future of Useless Research," which was released on April 14. For details, please see the related link.
iTHEMS x academist online public event was held on April 18, 2021
Following last year’s precedent, iTHEMS held an online lecture event for the general public with the help of Academist Inc., on April 18th, 2021. The event was planned as an alternative for the lectures at RIKEN’s annual open house. The event was started by Kanato Goto with his talk on Blackhole and its information problem. His compelling narrative evoked a lot of questions from high school students; some of them were very sharp. Next, Jeffery Fawcett talked about genome science. Among other topics he studied, he also mentioned the mutation of COVID-19 virus. During the lunch break, Program Director Hatsuda talked with Mr. Shibato from Academist about related books, the exhibition of Black Hole Recorder at Miraikan, and the attempts with RIKEN SUURI. In the afternoon, Sugiura-san talked about the supercomputers and the analysis of subatomic physics, followed by Naomi Tsuji's talk on supernovae and their remnants. The talk included several polls from the audience. Keita Mikami concluded the event with his talk on Mathematics, in particular inequality and differential equations. All the talks were compered by Ms. Michibayashi from Academist; Her facilitation with a wit kept the talks accessible even to high school students. The event was viewed by as many as more than three hundred audiences at one time.
iTHEMS Starter Meeting for FY 2021 on April 9, 2021
iTHEMS officially kicked off its activity for FY 2021 by the iTHEMS Starter Meeting for FY 2021, on April 9th 2021. The meeting was held over Zoom as last year's meeting. Over sixty iTHEMS members gathered together as well as several frequent visitors and colleagues from other institute, and introduced themselves to other members.
New faces in April 2021
April is the season when we have new faces. Yesterday, 10 people have joined us. Welcome to iTHEMS and let's have fun in science together!
Message from the Director at the end of FY2020
I would like to thank all the iTHEMS members and iTHEMS supporting staff for your great efforts to keep iTHEMS very active during FY2020 even under the Covid-19. Our iTHEMS mission is very simple. Good science under the environment of interdisciplinary interactions: "A+B --> A*, A+ B --> B*, A+B --> C" are all in line with this mission. We will have many newcomers joining iTHEMS from FY2021, and let us keep moving forward without boundaries. Now, I would like to congratulate the two iTHEMS students: Toshihiro Ota (student trainee from Osaka Univ.) and Keisuke Fujii (student trainee from Tokyo Institute of Technology) who successfully defended their Ph.D. and are going to graduate from their Universities and from iTHEMS. I hope you have enjoyed your stay in iTHEMS and let us keep in touch for further interactions. Last but not the least, I would like to thank our assistant Izumi Nagasawa who has made tremendous support for the web page, seminars, colloquiums etc and is leaving iTHEMS at the end of this March. Although we could not see her so frequently in person under Covid-19 situation, she has been really helping our activities from behind. We send her our heartfelt gratitude.
Exhibition of "Black Hole Recorder"
At the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) located in Tokyo, iTHEMS exhibition of "Black Hole Recorder" was held last week (March 14-15, March 17-21). Details of this outreach activity (Black Hole Recorder) and the general concept behind (UselessPrototyping Studio) can be seen from the URLs below.
iTHEMS NOW & NEXT FY2020 was held on March 11, 2021
The annual in-house gathering entitled iTHEMS NOW and NEXT FY2020 was held on March 11th via zoom. The gathering is the occasion we share the current status and future perspectives on our research and organization. In the morning, keynote overview talks were given by Takashi Okada, Hiroyasu Miyazaki, Akinori Tanaka, and Ching-Kai Chiu, followed by the interdisciplinary talk which Don Warren and Catherine Beauchemin jointly presented. During subsequent lunchtime, a special session on the proper practices in conducting scientific researches was taken place. In the session, the participants discussed their research practices in small groups and later shared their discussions with all. The afternoon session was devoted to the progress reports from the working groups and the study groups. This time, we observed a moment of silence in honor of those affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami during these presentations since it just marked precisely ten years from the calamity. Program Director Hatsuda's remarks concluded the gathering.
Biology and mathematics: What it would be like to be crazy about both
Dr. Ryosuke Iritani (Research Scientist, iTHEMS) writes frankly on the website SURI-JOSHI about why he chose his current field. Don't miss it!
Report on the online discussion, "The Usefulness of 'Useless' Knowledge"
On August 22 last year, academist.Inc, and RIKEN iTHEMS held an online discussion entitled "Tetsuo Hatsuda × Yoshinori Ohsumi × Sayaka Oki Online Discussion: The Usefulness of 'Useless' Knowledge" with the aim of discussing the future of basic science research. Please refer to the related links for the online discussion of the day.
Dr. Ozawa’s interview published in Israeli magazine “Epoch”
The Israeli popular magazine “Epoch” has featured Dr. Tomoki Ozawa, AIMR Junior Principal Investigator, in its December 2020 issue. The feature article describes his research on synthetic dimensions. Although we live in a three-dimensional space, scientists can now “artificially” create and study the equivalent of dimensions, which is different from ordinary ones. Dr. Ozawa uses “spin” of an atom as an example of a synthetic dimension. By using spin degrees of freedom as an additional dimension, it is possible to study higher dimensional physical phenomena, such as the four-dimensional quantum Hall effect. The article was published for the general public focusing on cutting-edge research on higher dimensions, also discussing their relations to science-fiction like parallel universe. The article contains an easy-to-follow description of the new idea of synthetic dimensions, which is accessible to general readers. We expect that the studies on synthetic dimensions to have impacts in a variety of fields, ranging from condensed matter physics to high-energy physics.
Season's Greetings from Dr. Tetsuo Hatsuda, iTHEMS Director
Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for the New Year Thank you very much for sharing the joys of excellent science as well as your patience under COVID-19 during 2020. We wish you a good holiday season and a safe new year 2021 with happiness, prosperity, and novel scientific perspectives. Tetsuo Hatsuda, iTHEMS Director
"Do you really know what the black hole is?" was held on December 6, 2020
The academist event "Do you really know what the black hole is?" was held on December 6 via YouTube, and iTHEMS members Shigehiro Nagataki (Deputy Program Director), Yoshiyuki Inoue (Senior Visiting Scientist), and Yuki Yokokura (Senior Research Scientist) gave an easy-to-understand explanation of how black holes are born, how to search for black holes, and the inner workings of black holes, mentioning the achievements of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics. Please check out the video from related links below.
Farewell message from Dr. Martin Skrodzki
When my scholarship program first notified me that I would be able to spend a year, working in the RIKEN iTHEMS program, I was extremely happy for this great interdisciplinary and intercultural opportunity. Now, this year has ended and I will return to Germany to continue my research there and possibly at other locations in Europe. I arrived at RIKEN iTHEMS on January 20. While I expected the year to be very exciting, I did not at all imagine what 2020 had in store for all of us. After my first talk in the math seminar, we went to an Izakaya and had a Nomikai there. From the current perspective, this appears quite unreal to me. The Covid-19 pandemic caused this year to be run quite different from any other year. We all had to get used to working from home, working online, and even enjoying each other’s company during online coffee as well as online parties. Despite these restrictions, I tremendously enjoyed my stay in Wako and in Japan in general. Several aspects at iTHEMS contribute to a very friendly and positive atmosphere in the program. For instance, the coffee afternoons were a great way throughout my first couple of weeks to get to know many members of the workgroup. Also the all-hands coffee meetings on Friday are a great installment to stay in touch with each other. Furthermore, the dedicated math seminars were great for me to get new input, learn new mathematics, and chat with the colleagues. The organizers of the math seminar, but also all other chairs and the speakers, made the seminars very enjoyable events. Aside from these events, I was very happy to pursue my own research projects. As I am in the first phase of my postdoctoral career, this was a great opportunity to sharpen my research foci. Thus, I would like to close by thanking everyone for making my stay at RIKEN iTHEMS as enjoyable as it was. Once the global situation has settled down, I would love to return for a short visit or even another extended research stay. Let’s stay in touch!
Coffee Meeting on October 9, 2020
At the weekly coffee meeting on October 9th (Fri.), Dr. Jeremy Riousset (Florida Institute of Technology) gave a nice description on the properties of "Planetary lightning". After his talk, Dr. Shigehiro Nagataki (Deputy Program Director, iTHEMS) gave an explanation on this year's Nobel Prize in Physics "the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”.
Farewell message from Dr. Genki Ouchi
Hello. I am Genki Ouchi, a special postdoctoral researcher in iTHEMS. I am leaving iTHEMS and moving to graduate school of mathematics, Nagoya university as an assistant professor. I joined iTHEMS on April 2018. Since then, it has been two and a half years. I learned a lot of things from iTHEMS. Before I came to iTHEMS, I was just an “algebraic geometer”. I studied only algebraic geometry and related topics. After joining iTHEMS, I got opportunities to learn other topics in mathematical science. Especially, I study network science with mathematicians, physicists and network scientists now. With an experience at iTHEMS, I become a “mathematician”. I wish that interdisciplinary activities in iTHEMS bear fruit over the long run. I would like to thank all iTHEMS members for your kind support and help. I am looking forward to seeing you again.
Farewell message from Dr. Kenta Sato
Hello. I am Kenta Sato, a Special Postdoctral Resercher at iTHEMS. I am moving to Kyusyu University as an assistant professor. It is a great pleasure for me to spend one and a half years at iTHEMS because I have been stimulated by the open atmosphere of iTHEMS and by the energetic activities of each member. It helps me to broaden my perspective. I would like to say thanks to everyone in iTHEMS. I am looking forward to seeing the successful development of iTHEMS in the future.
Farewell message from Dr. Yoshiyuki Inoue
Hello colleagues. I am Yoshiyuki Inoue, a senior research scientist here at iTHEMS. I am leaving iTHEMS and joining Osaka University as an associate professor. It has been almost three years since I came here. I would like to thank all the iTHEMS friends for your kind support and help, especially Hatsuda-san, Tada-san, and assistants. The open research atmosphere allowed me to expand my research area a lot, e.g., collaboration with other RIKEN researchers. I believe the interdisciplinary and academic freedom mind in iTHEMS is essential for future research. I will bring and spread this iTHEMS spirit in Osaka. Even after moving to Osaka, I will keep visiting our precious research place, iTHEMS (the coffee room, maybe?). I wish future success of iTHEMS research activity.
Dr. Jason Chang was ranked in the list of the most downloaded physics papers published in Scientific Reports in 2019
It is our great pleasure to inform you that the paper on quantum annealing by our iTHEMS colleague, Jason Chang, was ranked No.14 of the most downloaded physics papers published in Scientific Reports in 2019.
Anew Calculation of Penguin Pooing Pressure by Hiroyuki Tajima
As posted in the Ig Nobel Prize web page, our iTHEMS friend Hiroyuki Tajima (Kochi Univ., former member of RIKEN Nishina Center) has published an interesting work "Projectile Trajectory of Penguin’s Faeces and Rectal Pressure Revisited" with Fumiya Fujisawa (Katsurahama Aquarium). Find how the gauge/gravity duality in particle physics is useful to find out the incredible power of penguin’s rectum!
iTHEMS Science Outreach Workshop 2020 was held on July 3 and 4
On July 3 and 4, we had Journalist in Residence Workshop 2020 on Zoom. It had been planned to be held at Tambara Institute of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Tokyo as in a same way as May 31 - June 3 of the last year 2019. This year, Tambara Institute is closed because of COVID-19 but we organized it on Zoom. There were in fact much more participants than last year and those living in US also participated in the meeting. The participants included 14 journalists and 17 participants from RIKEN, 9 from universities and 2 from others. 7 iTHEMS members mainly explained their working field and recent important achievements to the nonspecialists. There were 24 talks in total in a variety of fields. The discussion among the participants continued with joy in the evening of July 3 even in ZOOM. If we organize next year, it will be necessary to include online participants.
iTHEMS x academist Online open to the public "Mathematical science world" on April 18, 2020
The open house for RIKEN was scheduled on April 18th, but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. But that did not stop Dr. Yokokura and the other lecturers, Dr. Iritani, Dr. Irie, Dr. Hiroshima, Dr. Miyazaki and Dr. Tanaka. In defiance of the difficulties, they gave the same public lecture on-line with the help by Academist. Dr. Yokokura and other lecturers worked very hard preparing the event; their effort was rewarded by the spectacular success, with as many as over 900 viewers. Some of the positive response can be seen on Twitter.
Current status of training and co-creation -- Researcher thinking and technology required for innovative human resources
The CNET Japan Live 2020 held on February 19, various performances talk about the theme of "Innovation indispensable for corporate growth". Mr. Hiroyasu Kodama at G's ACADEMY and Dr. Tsukasa Tada at Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Program (iTHEMS) in RIKEN are trying to create and nurture innovators and work on co-creation with companies. A panel discussion entitled “Developing and co-creating innovators” was held.
Coffee Meeting with zoom streaming on April 3, 2020
At the weekly coffee meeting on April.3 (Fri.), Haoning He (ABBL) gave a nice explanation of "Multi-meesenger Search for sources of high energy neutrino". Almost 40 member of iTHEMS accessed on the virtual meeting.
Coffee Meeting with zoom streaming on March 27, 2020
On March 27 (the last Friday in FY2019), the first zoom coffee meeting in iTHEMS was held. Many iTHEMS colleagues have connected virtually to the iTHEMS common room. Takemasa Miyoshi gave a 15 min. talk on SIR model of epidemics followed by 1 min. farewell speeches by the people who graduated iTHEMS and/or QHP lab. at the end of FY2019. From FY2020, all the iTHEMS coffee meetings and colloquiums will be held only through zoom for a while to suppress the physical interactions among researchers and at the same time to increase their virtual interactions.
Farewell messages to the colleagues leaving iTHEMS from Tetsuo Hatsuda
I would like to congratulate iTHEMS colleagues who are moving to other places from April 1, 2020. Masato Taki (-> Rikkyo Univ.) Yosuke Kubota (-> Shinshu Univ.) Susumu Inoue (-> RIKEN ABBL) Hokuto Konno (-> Univ. Tokyo) Yoshimasa Hidaka (-> KEK) Koya Sakakibara (-> Okayama U. of Science) Shinya Gongyo (-> DENSO IT Lab.). Also I would like to thank Atsushi Mochizuki (Kyoto Univ.), who is one of the founding members of iTHEMS, for his long standing contributions. He will step down as an iTHEMS Deputy Director and will serve for iTHEMS Senior Research Scientist from FY2020. Last but not the least, I would like to thank Motoko Kotani (RIKEN Executive Director) who has served for iTHEMS Scientific Advisor and will move to Tohoku Univ. from April 1, 2020. I wish you all have great success in new places! with best regards, Tetsuo
Workshop on Communication for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
On January 28th, iTHEMS member Don Warren co-hosted a workshop on Communication for Interdisciplinary Collaboration. The goals of this workshop were (1) to learn how to communicate with people who do not study the same topic you do, and (2) to practice explaining your work so that a non-expert can decide if they want to join your project. The workshop was open to all RIKEN staff in all fields and positions, and turnout was very good: scientists from multiple centers attended, as did several non-research staff. Everyone who attended learned two key points to make cross-discipline communication easier and more productive. First, listen actively when someone is talking about their work to you; don’t fixate on the first interesting thing and stop listening to the rest of their explanation. Second, K.I.S.S.—keep it short and simple! (It is easy to talk about what to do, but it was much harder to practice it during the workshop.) The workshop facilitator was Christiane Brew, a performer and trainer who uses techniques from improvisation to encourage open discussion, deep listening, and clear “pitching”. This was the second of two workshops organized in FY2019 by Don and Amanda Alvarez of CBS. Support for the workshop came from the RIKEN Collaboration Seed fund. If this workshop is repeated next year, please consider joining and practicing your communication skills so you will be ready to start on your next interdisciplinary collaboration.