“How can muographers contribute to achieving sustainable development goals [SDGs]? In my opinion it is a brilliant topic for a discussion and the venue for the discussion, the United Nations University, has a symbolic significance. ” said Dr. Gediminas Ramanauskas (First Counsellor, Head of Science, Innovation, Digital, and Other EU Policies Section for the Delegation of the European Union to Japan) as he officially opened the Muographers 2019 “Towards SDGs” Symposium. After mentioning past milestones of European/Japanese muography cooperative research achievements such as involvement in the Horizon 2020 INTENSE project (which will continue until 2022 and fund joint European/Japanese technology, research and human resource exchange), Agora Science conference events and the Muographers 2018 workshops which were held at the European Delegation, he stated: “I believe that muography has an important role to play in today’s world which is facing massive transformations and massive challenges”
Overviews on the topics of SDGs and how muography capabilities may fit in with these goals were introduced in the first two keynote speeches. Dr. Vesselin Popovski (Senior Academic Programme Officer in the Peace and Security section at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, and Full Professor and Vice Dean of Law School at O.P. Jindal Global University) discussed SDGs in the context of climate change global law as well as the scientist’s role and how this links up with the potential of muography to help countries reach their SDG goals, for example in applications of monitoring carbon capture storage (CCS). Next, Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka (Delegation and Director of Muographix International Research Organization, UTokyo, Professor at Earthquake Research Insitute, UTokyo) gave a general overview of the ways in which muography currently and in the future will contribute to society with SDG solutions and industry cooperation. Cosmic ray energy, which is the source of the muon particles utilized by muography is a sustainable, a free energy source and also an example of a peaceful application of nuclear physics science and technology.
The next 3 keynote speeches focused on issues of how to enable better dissemination of muography research to the general public, industry and other partners. The first slide of Dr. Hajime Sasaki’s (Professor, Institute of Future Initiatives, UTokyo) talk entitled “Innovation and Open Knowledge Networks for Muography” was a word cloud which visually presented, as a computer-generated data visualisation, the most common terms used in hundreds of muography papers published internationally. He also touched upon the the role of serendipity, specifically network immersion serendipity (which involves international teamwork and may be the most appropriate method for muography innovation) to outline practical strategies that muographers can employ to strengthen the field worldwide.
Dr. Kenji Sumiya (former Hitachi Maxell CTO, former Senior Research Administrator of Kansai University, and Visiting Professor of Kansai University) next described how the Muography Art Project has built a team of 42 Japanese and international Fine-Art professionals and students to become inspired by and to share the message of muography with new audiences in art exhibitions. Dr. Euan McKay (Project Professor, UTokyo, Public Relations Office of UTokyo) described how UTokyo has been promoting their SDG strategies and also how the Future Society Initiative along with participation in public outreach events such as the Science Agora conference have been been raising public awareness of muography.
Specific projects which will soon to be implemented as a result of this new partnership between Wigner RCP, the University of Catania and UTokyo were the subjects of the final keynote speeches given by Dr. Domenico Lo Presti, Dr. Carmelo Ferlito, and Dr. Dezső Varga.
Dr. Carmelo Ferlito (Professor of Volcanology, University of Catania) described the muography surveys that have been conducted at the active volcano of Mt. Etna, Italy which will be expanded in the future with this new academic agreement and also contributes to the resilient society goals of the United Nations. He also emphasised his predictions that collaborations with Physicists and Geologists will generate serendipitous ideas from their different viewpoints, for example by working together with Volcanologists, Physicists can design better experiments to study phenomenon such as fractures which may help to predict the nature of eruptions more reliably than is currently possible with present methods.
Dr. Domenico Lo Presti (Professor and Delegation of the University of Catania) went into more detail about the Mt. Etna project and how with ingenuity the University of Catania with partners at INFN, INAF and in collaboration with the Volcanologist community, experiments were done yielding data that has captured interesting sequential volcanic activity; he also discussed plans to improve and expand upon this success. As a “living laboratory”, Mt. Etna has posed very challenging conditions, pushing the limits of muography research and technology.
How do we go from academic R & D projects to practical tools, eco-friendly, low power consuming, reliable, and scalable technology that can be utilised by the scientific community and industry worldwide? In the final keynote speech, Dr. Dezső Varga (Senior Researcher and Delegation of Wigner RCP) discussed how the Wigner RCP muography detector program grew from roots of the ALICE collaboration at CERN and ESS Neutron Studies to be adapted later for muography experiments. Also, he mentioned the role of international human resources, and how the Horizon 2020 INTENSE project will support educational goals between Europe and Japan including programs which are already providing opportunities for valuable scientific field work experiences to ESRs (Early Stage Researchers), the next generation of muography scientists.
After the keynote presentations, speeches outlining the diplomatic and scientific benefits of collaboration between countries were given by His Excellency Dr. Norbert Palanovics (Ambassador of Hungary) and Professor Enrico Traversa (Italian Science Attache) during the introduction to the signing ceremony. The Muographers 2019 “Towards SDGs” Symposium concluded with signing of the official trilateral academic agreement between the Hungarian, Italian and Japanese Institutes for cooperation between these 3 countries by the Delegates for Wigner RCP, the University of Catania and UTokyo, Dr. Dezső Varga, Dr. Domenico Lo Presti and Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka respectively.