Event: Symposium for the Muographers Liaison Program Symposium: Muography and SDGs

In anticipation of the upcoming “Muographers Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” conference in September 2019 which will be co-hosted by the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability of the United Nations University (UNU-IAS) and the International Muography Research Organization of the University of Tokyo (MUOGRAPHIX), the topic of SDGs was discussed at the Muographers Liaison Program Symposium, a new program which seeks to create links and encourage collaboration between academia and industry by contributing to SDGs.

Prof. Hiroyuki Tanaka (Director of Muographix) presented the ways in which muography research has been committed to SDGs.  First, he established the boundaries of muography research, contained within the solid space in which human activity is contained.  He also made the case that muons are actually a form of cosmic energy and as such are a sustainable natural resource that should be utilised to benefit humanity.  Muography has already been applied to the following SDGs:  7.  Affordable and Clean Energy, 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities and 13. Climate Action.  He gave examples from academic research including the Metropolis Project in Naples, and companies that specialize in muography solutions including Global Warming (Finland), Lynkeos (UK), and Lingacom (Israel).

Another issue that was stressed was the challenge of fitting muography solutions to local interests and in a global framework.  For example, while Japanese communities are very concerned with volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters, other regions in the world have very different concerns so the application of muography will also be different.  Tanaka also stated some statistics about the expansion of muography worldwide: as of 2018 there have been 8 companies worldwide specialising in muography, 500 researchers, and 1,000 academic muographers.  By 2030, he anticipates further expansion; perhaps as many as 30 companies,  4,000 researchers, and 2,000 academic muographers. He also presented a call to action for Japanese industry to increase their investment in muography technology.

After a Q and A session, the panel session began. During active discussions between participating panelists, Prof. Dr. Popovski (Vice Dean of Jindal Global Law School and Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of the United Nations) brought up suggestions for additional SDGs that muography may indirectly aid: 3. Good Health and Well-Being, 4. Education, 14. Life Below Water, and 15. Life on Land.  Currently muography has been utilised mostly in MEDC countries (more economically developed countries) and he stressed the importance of developing methodologies to make muography and other research aiding SDGs available to developing nations who are facing the consequences of issues like climate change.  Some possible strategies would be to come up with new laws for patents and intellectual properties to favor developing nations to encourage these countries to adopt better industry and ecological practices which are currently not economically feasible. Other topics introduced by moderator (Dr. Chiaki Ishikawa) and other panelists (Eng. Osamu Adachi and Jiro Shimoyama) related to smart cities with robot technology, IoT and AI technologies.