OIST held its second Open Campus event on its Onna campus on Sunday, March 18, drawing more than 3,000 visitors from Okinawa and beyond. This was the first Open Campus since OIST was inaugurated as a graduate university in November and gave guests the opportunity to experience the full range of research here, from robots to marine life to child development to optics.
Atsuko Yonakuni, who flew to Okinawa from Ishigaki Island to see OIST based on a friend’s recommendation, said she had been looking forward to the hands-on banana DNA extraction. “But being here, I also got to see the inside of a brain, learn about marine life, and I really enjoyed the lens event,” she said.
Many visitors came to give their children an up-close look at science in action. Martin Reinert, a second grade teacher at Bob Hope Primary School on the U.S. air base in Kadena, came with about 25 students. “We thought it would be a great opportunity for the kids to meet world-class scientists and maybe inspire them to get involved,” he said.
Isamu Mekaru, a high school student from Urasoe City, first visited OIST in December 2011 on a school trip, and came back this time with his parents. Coming out of a talk on art preservation by Research Scientist Anya McDavis, Mekaru said he was happy to see a researcher from overseas helping to preserve Okinawan pottery.
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