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'The Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research Conference 2011' (AP-IRC 2011)

05 Dec 2011

The first Asia-Pacific Interdisciplinary Research Conference 2011 was held at Toyohashi University of Technology (Toyohashi Tech) on 17-18 November 2011. The conference is a forum for enhancing mutual understanding between scientists, engineers, policymakers, and experts from a wide spectrum of pure and applied sciences to resolve the daunting global issues facing mankind.

professor_Pankhurst.jpgThis inaugural gathering attracted 180 participants including delegates from Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Sweden, the UK and the US. The AP-IRC 2011 was chaired by Dr Yoshiyuki Sakaki, the president of Toyohashi Tech, who opened the proceedings by stressing the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to research to resolve global scientific and technical issues. And, recalling his own experience as the leader of Japan's efforts in the Human Genome Project, Sakaki encouraged participants to make an effort to try to understand the sometimes difficult concepts and terminology of other areas of research.

professor_Gross.jpgHighlights of AP-IRC 2011 included a first-hand account of the damage caused by the massive earthquake in March 2011 to experimental facilities at Tohoku University by Masayoshi Esashi; the fascinating world of bees and the inborn numerical competence of humans and animals, by Hans J Gross; research on robots and cognition-enabled technical systems at Technische Universität München by Sandra Hirche; the history of events leading to the invention of the world's strongest NbFeB magnet by Masato Sagawa; novel method for the synthesis of graphene using bacteria extracted from a riverside near Toyohashi Tech campus (see fig. 1) ; and Hideomi Koinuma described ambitious plans on harvesting energy by laying massive numbers of solar cells in North Africa as part of the "Sahara Solar Breeder (SSB) Plan" for global clean energy superhighway.

Sakaki concluded his opening address by announcing that this conference will be held annually at the same time each year, with AP-IRC 2012 scheduled for 15-16 November 2012 at the Irago Sea-Park & Spa Hotel in Aichi Prefecture.

professor_Jang.jpgIn addition to the technical sessions, the conference banquet included a short session during which the invited speakers described notable trends in research and policy in their part of the world. The short speeches led to animated discussion between the delegates, especially young scientists and graduate students, who were able to talk directly with veteran researchers for a first-hand view of the issues raised during the day's presentations.

Refereed papers will be published in the Journal of Physics Conference Series

About the author
Adarsh Sandhu is editor of IOP Asia-Pacific.

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