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Researcher in Fundraising Drive for Study on Tardigrades (News)

Tsuruoka, Yamagata Pref., May 12 (Jiji Press)—Tolerant of extreme environments, such as temperatures of –273ºC and complete vacuums, tardigrades, commonly known as water bears, are called the strongest creatures on earth. Horikawa Daiki, an assistant professor at Keio University’s Institute for Advanced Biosciences in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, is an avowed expert on water bears, having res…

Japan’s Ig Nobel Prize Winners Show Path of Scientific Progress Is Not Always StraightShimizu Masatoshi

By highlighting humorous scientific research, the Ig Nobel Prize aims to make people laugh and then to make them think. Japanese scientists are regularly among the winners. Where do their ideas come from, and what is the point of their seemingly useless research?

New Law Aims to Expand Japan’s Space BusinessAoki Setsuko

The Space Activities Act, enacted last November, establishes procedures for licensing and supervision of rocket and satellite launches by private-sector companies. It also provides for government compensation to augment liability insurance coverage against accidents. The aim is to promote broad private-sector participation in space business.

Remembering AIBO

A Buddhist memorial service was held in July 2016 for AIBO robots developed by Sony, attesting to the depth of affection that the robotic pets have inspired among their owners. For them, these robots were clearly much more than mechanical devices; they were partners in life and deserving of a ceremony for their remembrance and the repose of their “souls.”

Ōsumi Yoshinori Wins Medicine Nobel for Autophagy Research

The Japanese cell biologist Ōsumi Yoshinori has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking discoveries of the mechanisms of autophagy, or “self-eating,” the process by which cells break down and recycle their own proteins. The 71-year-old Ōsumi, now a professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, received his phone call from the Nobel Committee in the even…

Reaching for the Moon: Japan’s Team Hakuto Competes in International Lunar Race

The Google Lunar XPrize competition pits the technical prowess of teams from around the world in a race to successfully land a privately funded rover on the moon. Among the competitors in the global contest sponsored by Internet giant Google is Japanese team Hakuto. The Tokyo-based crew is considered to be a major contender after winning a Milestone Prize in the competition in 2015. Hakuto’s rover…

Second Chance at Venus Orbit for Wandering Akatsuki ProbeNakano Fujio /Tamazawa Harufumi

On December 7, 2015, the Akatsuki probe entered into orbit around Venus, five years after its first, failed attempt. The probe was launched by JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, in 2010, a year when the successful return of Hayabusa from its mission to gather asteroid dust changed the attitude of the Japanese public toward space exploration.

Japan Falling Behind in Scientific Publishing

The past ten years has seen a relative drop in the number of academic papers published by Japanese scientists. Over this time, Japan has slipped from second to fourth place, in terms of global share. Some worry that this trend will result in fewer and fewer Japanese researchers winning the coveted Nobel Prize.

Kajita Takaaki Wins Physics Nobel for Work on Neutrinos

On October 6, the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Kajita Takaaki of the University of Tokyo and Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, for their discovery that the subatomic particles known as neutrinos have mass. The announcement came a day after Ōmura Satoshi, professor emeritus at Kitasato University, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, making ba…

Nobel Laureate Amano Sees Bright Future for LEDs

Professor Amano Hiroshi, one of the three winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, spoke to a packed audience at the Foreign Press Center/Japan this month about the far-reaching potential of these LEDs. Amano sees a future where these devices are applied not only in lighting equipment but also in medical tools and other high-tech devices…

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