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Newsletter Autumn 2015 (Vol.11)

Researchers

In 2015, we welcomed fifteen new members into the Institute. Each of them briefly introduces his/her research fields

AKIYOSHI, Ryota My research fields are philosophy of mathematics and mathematical logic (proof theory). I am interested in logical philosophy of infinity in the beginning of 20th Century (Hilbert’s finitism and Brouwer’s intuitionism). Hilbert tried to justify infinity as “completed object”, and Brouwer accepted it only as “process” producing it. I’m investigating a common base between them in an interdisciplinary way.
ABE, Masashi My research topic is the Neolithisation in the Middle East. In the 1990s, it is generally believed that domestication of plants and animals first occurred in the Levant. However, recent genetic studies suggest the Neolithisation also occurred independently in the Zagros. I am undertaking archaeological research in the Zagros.
SAKAUE, Kazuyuki My research interest is a quantum beam, which is well-controlled ionizing radiation. Radiation from a quantum beam has various properties depending on its production process. We use nano-technologies on radiation processes for producing a novel light by a quantum beam and promote its application researches.
SUZUKI, Taro An acquisition and processing geospatial information are needed for automation systems that are used in agricultural and disaster fields in order to support human activities. I will develop a method for gathering geospatial information such as high-accurate location information and 3D environmental data using robot technologies.
TAKAHASHI, Ryo In recent years, environmentally friendly products, such as products with environmental certification, have attracted increasing attention. Although the sales for certified products in other developed countries have been growing, the sales in Japan remains very limited. In this study, I will conduct the social experiments to identify the determinants of consumer behavior related certified products and to investigate whether willingness to purchase increases if the obstacle is removed.
TANAKA, Shu I have studied quantum information processing which is positioned as an interdisciplinary field between physics and informatics. My purpose is to propose a solution methodology for combinatorial optimization problems which are hard to solve. These problems exist in wide area, e.g, natural science and social science. This project will be done in collaboration with researchers in several fields including industrial world.
TAHARA, Yu Circadian clock system organizes physiological functions in our body to keep our homeostasis. In my research projects, I am focusing on the effects of food/nutrition or physiological stress on the circadian clock functions.
CHEN, Yun-Ru Family law is not only a specific area of law that reveals the unique culture and historical development of a society, but is also a legal regime undergoing fundamental changes around the world. By analyzing both black letter laws and “laws in action”, my research aims to bring the often-missing East Asian experience to the broader discussion on family, nationalism and globalization of law in colonial and post-colonial societies.
TSURUOKA, Masanori My research interest is the empirical investigation of public procurement auctions. Scoring auctions, in which each bidder submits quality besides price, have recently started to become common. Using the data of public-work auctions in Japan, I quantify the benefits of scoring auctions over price-only auctions in terms of both price and quality. Moreover, I develop a structural estimation model to compare the outcomes of scoring and price-only auctions.
HASHIMOTO, Kenji Studies in human sciences have identified some characteristics of human running such as leg stiffness, pelvic movement and so on. I aim at creating a novel sports coaching program through developing a biped robot mimicking human running characteristics. I also try to develop a disaster response robot having high accessibility in extreme environments.
HIGASHIJIMA, Masaaki After the end of the Cold War, many authoritarian countries are now holding elections periodically. How are these elections designed and what political and economic consequences do authoritarian elections have? Constructing a theory of autocratic elections, I explore these questions. I then empirically test the theory though conducting cross-national statistical analyses and comparative case studies of Central Asian republics.
HIROSE, Kentaro How does the size of national power affect the likelihood of violence among states? A strong state can influence the behavior of weaker states through the use or threat of force. At the same time, the large amount of economic/military resources also makes it possible for the strong state to provide economic/military benefits and peacefully buy off weaker states through side-payments. My research analyzes the relationship between power and violence given the substitution between “sticks” and “carrots”.
VERDONSCHOT, Rinus I investigate how people produce speech sounds. This is interesting, as not all languages seem to do this alike. I look at people’s behavior (how fast they speak) as well as their brain patterns to better understand the underlying mechanisms involved. My findings may influence other areas like: education, linguistics, psychology, medicine, and human/machine interaction.
HONDA, Akiko My research focuses on the relationship between media images and discourse on architecture under the totalitarian system. From this viewpoint I mainly analyze the role of the media, such as films, architectural journals, and newspapers, in the process of sanctifying and de-sanctifying architectural spaces from the Stalin period to the Khrushchev period in Soviet Russia.
YUHARA, Shinichi My research interests are in normative, prescriptive and descriptive analysis of the corporate law and securities regulation. Especially, I analyze the corporate law and securities regulation from the economic point of view and their functions and effects from policy perspective.

Activity

April 17 – 29, 2015 UBIAS Intercontinental Academia Participation Report

Assistant Prof. Kazuhisa Takeda

Universities around the world that have internal institutes for advanced studies united to establish the UBIAS1 (University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study) network in October 2010 in reaction to increasing globalization. At this latest seminar, as an initial test case, 13 young researchers from Europe, the Americas, and Asia were invited to engage for a fortnight in debate in English on the subject of “time” in a way that transcends the boundaries of their respective fields. The researchers were chosen as representatives of a wide variety of disciplines including, biology, psychology, history, literature, and mathematics. The Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo in Brazil, which has been a particularly active participant in the UBIAS network, was chosen as the venue for the seminar. As a sequel, a further international seminar is scheduled to take place at the Institute for Advanced Research of Nagoya University in March 2016. The seminar featured lectures on “time” by internationally recognized authorities in fields such as anthropology, chemistry, physics, philosophy, and cosmology, and young researchers engaged in debate based on these lectures.

I myself participate in lectures covering a diverse range of scholastic fields at the monthly research workshops held at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, and while participating in the seminar in São Paulo, I got the impression from the very first day that it was like an even deeper, more involved version of those workshops. I realized that it was thanks to my belonging to the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study that I was able to participate in the seminar, and was able to feel stimulated by the content of the debates thanks to the academic foundation with which the Institute has provided me. The words of one of the hosts at the seminar’s opening ceremony made a very strong impression on me—“Since your disciplines each have their own distinct language and culture, you will find it difficult to properly express your ideas to people from other disciplines. However, that is the very reason why interdisciplinarity is so important, and why it is necessary to continue communicating with people working in fields different to your own.” The difficulty in engaging in debate with people working in different fields is something that has often been pointed out, but the idea that this was due to the differing “language and culture” of each discipline was highly illuminating to me. The stance of proactively engaging in communication with people from other fields with the assumption that our language and culture will differ, and the new relationships that can result from those interactions, I believe, will bring about new and innovative solutions that could not have resulted from a more conventional mindset.

I found that the seminar was also highly useful in helping me to consider anew the globalization we have witnessed in recent years and the increased emphasis on interdisciplinarity. After returning to Japan I discussed the ideas that were debated in São Paulo in classes with my students. A considerable number of my history students also showed interest in topics relating to natural sciences, and one student wrote the following in a reaction paper: “I’m very impressed that you were able to attend such a seminar, and jealous too.” It was clear to me that discussion of interdisciplinary communication on the topic of time was highly stimulating to the intellectual curiosity of my students. You can learn more about the seminar on the internet2. A range of lectures have also been uploaded to the website of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of São Paulo and are freely available for viewing3.
http://www.ubias.net/
http://intercontinental-academia.ubias.net/
http://www.iea.usp.br/midiateca/video

Achievement

June 16, 2015 His research paper “Entrainment of the mouse circadian clock by sub-acute physical and psychological stress” is published in Nature Group’s journal Scientific Reports. 

Assistant Prof. Yu Tahara

“Recently, we reported the relationship between stress and body clock in Scientific Reports. The effects of stress on the circadian clock system are not well understood. This research shows that stress late in the day and at night has a particularly large effect on circadian rhythm of the peripheral tissues. Furthermore, it shows that stress can distort the biological rhythm of the brain and other organs even more than light, but also that the body can build up resistance to the effects.”
more information (Scientific Reports, Nature.com)

Information

Visiting Fellows

WIAS invites distinguished, internationally active researchers from overseas. Through scholarly exchanges, seminars, and other activities jointly undertaken with Waseda researchers, WIAS contributes to the invigoration of the university’s research activities.
more information

November 1, 2015 – November 30, 2015 DE SUTTER, Laurent: Senior Fellow, Bonn University (Germany)
November 15, 2015 – December 14, 2015 HAMAO, Yasushi: Professor, University of Southern California (USA)
January 4, 2016 – February 3, 2016 IWASAKI, Noriko: Senior Lecturer, SOAS University of London (UK)
January 6, 2016 – February 5, 2016 JUAN, Xueyan: Professor, Tsinghua University (China)

Please feel free to contact us.


Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)

1-6-1 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050, JAPAN
URL:www.waseda.jp/inst/wias/
TEL:03-5286-2460
FAX:03-5286-2470
E-mail:[email protected]
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