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Science Cafe for future scientists: Over 900 people watched live online

| 18 May 2023

On Sunday, 19 March, the ILC Science Cafe entitled “How did the Universe begin and how did it come to be what it is today? “ was held, co-hosted by KEK and ILC-Japan.

This outreach and educational event was designed to have fun while learning about the research of the mysteries of the universe. 

Applications were invited from junior high school students and above who have a keen interest in pursuing science-related careers in the future. 21 participants, ranging from the age of twelve to senior university students, were selected to gather at Fukutake-hall at the University of Tokyo.

Professor Shoji Asai from the University of Tokyo, and Chair of ILC-Japan gave a fascinating lecture on the beginnings of the universe and its evolution. The lecture was broadcasted live on QuizKnock’s YouTube channel, “QuizKnockと学ぼう,” which garnered over 900 viewers in real-time. It was an engaging talk that captivated the audience’s attention. QuizKnock is a web media popular among young people in Japan operated on the concept of “learning that starts with fun” having reputation for providing informative and educational content.

Asai delivered the lecture, using a mix of analogies to make it easier to understand. When the content became a bit difficult, the moderator, Dr. Shunki Sugai of QuizKnock, who earned PhD in physics from the University of Tokyo, stepped in to make it more enjoyable and understandable. The audience survey showed that many participants found the lecture enjoyable because it was presented from the viewer’s perspective. The first part of the lecture is available as an archive.

Shunki Sugai of QuizKnock (left) moderates the workshop

The second part of the event was a workshop that included group discussions on questions that arose after listening to Asai’s lecture, or on questions that one wondered, “Is it true?” Participants of various ages and backgrounds were mixed and divided into small groups, and graduate students and young researchers joined each group as facilitators. They were close in age, which allowed the participants to ask questions and express their opinions without hesitation, and think about their own career paths.

The workshop participants were thrilled to have gained valuable insights into the Higgs boson research and the upcoming plans for the International Linear Collider. They expressed their gratitude for the impact that the workshop had on their mindset and approach to various aspects of life. Some were delighted to have discovered the joy of solving problems, while others recognized the significance of asking questions. A few participants emphasized the importance of verifying information before accepting it as true. The event was a great platform for honing critical thinking skills, with many attendees raising thought-provoking queries like “Why and how is this true?”

KEK and ILC-Japan will continue to plan similar events in the future.

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