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ACJC - Nagoya University Science Education Trip 2014

From 16 - 24 November 2014, 13 JC1 Science students, along with 3 teachers from the science department, Ms So Zhao Ying, Mr Kuna, and Mr Daniel Khor, embarked on a Science Education Trip to Nagoya, Japan. The main educational objectives were to develop the passion for the sciences in our students through networking with staff and undergraduates of Nagoya University (NU) and to understand the Japanese culture of innovation and environmental consciousness.

At Nagoya University, we visited the NU Museum, EcoTopia Science Institute and the Disaster Mitigation Research Building. We also visited the various Nobel Prize Exhibition Halls and the Akasaki Institute LED Gallery (named after Isamu Akasaki, the 2014 Physics Nobel Laureate). These visits impressed upon us the importance of passion for one’s research; coupled with an unrelenting, ever-determined spirit, one’s work would become extremely impactful to the society. 

Our intellectual curiosity was also piqued due to our visits to the laboratories of the Physics, Chemistry, Biology Departments and the Graduate School of Environmental Studies. The hands-on experiments in these labs and the Cloud Chambers to observe the tracks of Muon, Alpha and Beta particles provided us with an unforgettable learning experience in the sciences.  

The highlight of our trip is the 2 hour chit-chat session with Professor Maskawa, the 2008 Physics Nobel Laureate. From Professor Maskawa, we learnt about the attitudes of the NU’s researchers that enabled them to produce 6 Nobel Laureate since 1998. He taught us that having courage and believe in our ability is the first step needed, and not to assume that the conventional belief is right until it is proven. He also emphasised the importance of hard work, perseverance and teamwork. We learnt that teamwork will allow ideas from different people to develop into better solutions.

We attended the United Nations World Toilet Day workshop at NU together with some undergraduates. During the workshop, each group had opportunities to discuss and share about possible future developments in toilets. At NU, we also had opportunities to put on a Kimono and attended a Nihon-Buyou (Japanese Traditional Dance) class.

ACJC students also gave presentations on 2 research projects conducted by our students as well as an introduction about Singapore through a presentation titled Sight, Taste and Smell of Singapore. Our presenters were quirky and engaging and the presentations were well received by the NU professors and students.

We then spent a memorable day with the students of Nagoya University Affiliated Upper and Lower Secondary School. We participated in the English lessons where we learnt more about the Japanese culture. The students’ enthusiasm in learning and hospitality left a deep impression on us.

We continue to be inspired by the Japanese and their dedication towards innovation as we went sight-seeing in Nagoya. At the Toyota Commemorative Museum and Toyota Plant tour, we were greatly impressed by the Japanese’s foresight and innovation especially that of Sakichi Toyoda and Kiichiro Toyoda. At the Minato Recycling Plant we saw how recyclable materials are sorted out through a labour-intensive process over a conveyor belt system. At the Minato Disaster Prevention Centre, we saw how Japan takes their preparedness for natural disasters seriously to minimize the devastation and casualty. At the centre we also experienced earthquake simulations of up to magnitude 7 on the shindo scale and learned more about the Ise-wan typhoon that wrought Japan in 1959. These visits inspired us to think of how we could make a positive impact on Singapore through technology, better recycling practices and even our own practices during fire drills. 

The visit to Nagoya Castle, ancient Japanese sites in Kyoto such as the Golden Pavilion and Nijo castle provided a very good opportunity for us to learn about the Japanese history and culture. Last but not least, we also visited the Nagoya TV Tower, SC Maglev and Railway Park, Nagoya Port Aquarium and the City Science Museum. 

In conclusion, the trip to Nagoya was indeed exciting and enriching; our passion for the sciences grew and we had become ever more inspired to make a difference in society, in the same spirit as that of the people in Nagoya.

Do visit our blog at http://nagoyasciencetrip14.wordpress.com/ for a more detailed account and photos of our trip.

Sarah Low, 1SC 2
Wang Jinyi, 1 SA 5