Muographers 2019: “Towards SDGs” Workshop

Held in the Maple room of the Chizanso Hotel, Tokyo on September 10th, the “Towards SDGs” workshop was an opportunity for key members of the newly formed Hungary-Italy-Japan partnership between Wigner RCP, University of Catania, and UTokyo to meet along with professionals from industry, diplomacy and public outreach to discuss specific future plans and applications of muography to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).  Academic presentations were given by Dr. Carmelo Ferlito, Dr. Dezső  Varga, Dr. Domenico Lo Presti, Dr. László Oláh, and Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka; presentations were also given by Dr. Toshio Mori and Dr. Atsushi Homma to discuss possible international industry/academic collaborations.

The main trigger that set off worldwide attention for muography was its application to volcano monitoring and imagining which continue to evolve.  Dr. Carmelo Ferlito (Professor of Volcanology, University of Catania) spoke about the Mt. Etna experiment from a volcanologist perspective and how the muography technique can be a means to better understand the cycles of volcanoes, particularly the formation of fractures, and also have a role as part of the solution of SDG social infrastructure concerns. Different detector technologies which have been successfully been used in volcano monitoring were outlined by Dr. Dezső  Varga (Senior Researcher, Wigner RCP)  and Dr. Domenico Lo Presti (Professor, University of Catania) for the Sakurajima Observatory and the Mt. Etna experiments respectively.  Dr. Dezső  Varga discussed detector development that was originally designed for use in HEP experiments and how this technology was adapted for the Hungary-Japan joint Muography Observatory of Sakurajima volcano.  He had a physical example of the detector prototype and described recent upgrades to the system as well as introducing some of the borehole detector experiments for underground use that are currently being tested.  Detectors that have been used at Mt. Etna are scintillator based and Dr. Domenico Lo Presti discussed their unique design for muon tracking and the results of the monitoring that has been taking place 700 meters from the northeast crater of Mt. Etna since August 2017. An overview of muography data results and progress at the Hungary-Japan joint Muography Observatory of Sakurajima was given by Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka (Director of Muographix and Professor at ERI, UTokyo).

In the last few years, industrial applications of muography have been steadily increasing. Applications of muography to underground structures for industrial and natural structure investigations were discussed by Dr. László Oláh (Researcher, UTokyo).  He divided his talk into a discussion of Hungarian cave exploration, nuclear security and natural resources exploration applications of muography as well as the new detector designs that have been developed to handle these targets.  Dr. Toshio Mori (Sabo Frontier Research Institute) described how muography may be a good solution for the monitoring of  landslide risks by assessing the structure of ageing engineering structures called sabo dams which are built on sites in Japan to prevent landslides and debris flow in hazardous areas.  NEXCO is a company which is responsible for maintaining approximately 9,000 km of toll roads and Dr. Atsushi Homma (NEXCO) in his talk mentioned that the danger of ageing road structures breaking without warning, particularly highway pillars, poses a national safety threat; he suggested ideas for how muography can monitor and provide useful data for engineers at his company in their efforts to reduce this risk.

At the conclusion of the workshop, time was set aside for participants to brainstorm and evaluate future muography projects.

More information about Muographers 2019 events is available at this link: