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In Japan, there is serious concern that children are losing touch with science. The Japanese government has formulated the Science and Technology Basic Plan with the intention of keeping Japan at the highest international level of scientific and technological creativity, and one of its major themes is nurturing creative human resources. This plan is implemented under the guidance of the Council for Science and Technology Policy*1, which has as one of its expert members Hitachi Chairman Etsuhiko Shoyama, who has emphasized the importance of active scientific minds. The Hitachi Group itself engages in various programs designed to spark interest in science and technology among young people.
Programs that revolve around our research departments include many lectures and hands-on learning opportunities for elementary and high school students. Since 2003, for example, Hitachi, Ltd. has opened its research facilities to high school students as part of the Spring Science Camp program sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. A total of 40 students were given the opportunity to gain first-hand experience with such cutting-edge technologies as nanotechnology and future displays. In addition, Hitachi Research Laboratory (Ibaraki, Japan) has conducted Science Mini Seminars since 1995 for local elementary and junior high school children, with a total of more than 100 participants. Fifteen students participated in the Science Seminars, which the company's Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory (Ibaraki, Japan) began conducting in 2005.
Other Hitachi Group companies also offer educational programs that take advantage of their respective fields of business and technical expertise. Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation and Hitachi Instruments Service Co., Ltd. have conducted hands-on experiential programs using electronic microscopes at several elementary schools in Japan since 2001. Similarly, Hitachi Plant Technologies, Ltd. has sponsored the "We Love the Earth Class" program each year for elementary school students in the Matsudo area in Japan since 1998, with a focus on water purification and sewage treatment technologies, which offers a fun way for children to learn about the importance of environmental conservation.
We are also active through an organization called Himawari (Sunflower), founded by and composed primarily of retirees from the Hitachi Group's electric power divisions. This group is dedicated to disseminating understanding and knowledge of energy and global environmental problems among elementary and junior high school students by conducting classes and supporting experiments.
Left:The "We-Love-the-Earth Class" sponsored by Hitachi Plant Technologies, Ltd.
Right:Members of the volunteer group "Himawari" lead experiments evaluating the effects of CO2 gas on global warming.
Left:At Spring Science Camp 2006, students prepare samples for observation under an electron microscope.
Right:Students operate the electron microscope.
For three days from March 21, 2006, Spring Science Camp 2006 was held at Hitachi, Ltd.'s Central Research Laboratory under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Ten high school boys and girls who applied for the camp and were selected from all over Japan visited the facility and directly experienced such advanced technologies as the electron microscope, three-dimensional imaging display, speech synthesis, and the μ-chip. Participant comments included: "It was exciting to use an electron microscope to see a sample I had prepared myself"; "It was really fruitful to talk directly with researchers"; and "I want to keep pursuing my dreams, too.
"The Hitachi Group will continue to cooperate with the Spring Science Camp program.
Since our inception, the Hitachi Group has disclosed the technologies it has developed and their results in an ongoing dialogue with the world. This open attitude is exemplified by Hitachi Hyoron, (the Hitachi Review), which first came out in 1918. The 1000th edition of this publication, which makes the latest results Hitachi has achieved in cutting-edge technologies available to scholars, customers, and other interested parties, was published in May 2005, giving it the longest history of any publication by a private-sector manufacturing firm in Japan. For 88 years, in volume after volume, Hitachi has poured its passion for technology into these pages for others to share.
Another activity that has garnered public attention is the Hitachi Technical Forum, an annual event that was initiated in 2001. Operated by the Hitachi Henjinkai, or Henjin Association, which is comprised of researchers with advanced degrees, the forum invites Hitachi engineers and world-level figures of authority to present lectures with the aim of increasing exchange among customers, scholars, and students.
Young researchers working at Hitachi, Ltd.'s Central Research Laboratory and Advanced Research Laboratory are engaged in another unique activity, introducing advanced technologies to high school students, college students, and teachers, who in turn vote to recognize the presenter of their choice with the Best Presentation Award. Similarly, the Central Research Laboratory and the Systems Development Laboratory present advanced technologies to customers twice a year at an event called "Technology Community." In these and other ways, the Hitachi Group is actively engaged in promoting science and technology.
Hitachi will continue its commitment to creating new solutions through the fusion of wide-ranging technology and knowledge, and will put even more energy into widening its circle throughout the world to nurture future generations.
Left:The 1000th edition of Hitachi Hyoron.
Right:Hitachi Fellow Dr. Hideaki Koizumi gives the keynote address at the forum held to commemorate the 1000th edition of Hitachi Hyoron.
Hitachi Hyoron was launched in 1918. When it was founded, the general tendency was for companies to keep their technologies secret. But Hitachi decided to widely publish the results of its independently developed technologies with the aim of raising the technical level of Japanese industry, and thereby contributing to the development of society. For more than 80 years, we have done just that. In November 2005, a special forum was held to commemorate the 1000th edition, with the participation of many distinguished scientists, including Dr. Charles M. Vest, president emeritus of MIT in the United States, and Hitachi Fellow Dr. Hideaki Koizumi. Lively discussions were held concerning the future of science and technology.
(Published in July 2006)