On Tuesday, March 29th, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation held a "Science Film Show" at Seaside House for junior high and high school students. The idea behind this event was to watch a movie and learn about the science related to the story. Thirty residents of Onna Village and surrounding municipalities participated. Before showing the film "Awakenings," OIST Common Resources Group Scientific Senior Manager Dr. Masahisa Yamada gave the audience some background on the science that appears in the film, particularly brain science, including how the brain works, the role of the neurochemical dopamine, and the drug L-Dopa which was used to treat the illness encephalitis lethargica, popularly known as “sleeping sickness.”
After the film, Dr. Kenji Doya and Dr. Gordon Arbuthnott - OIST Principal Investigators who do brain-related research - joined the discussion, explaining that the brain controls not only learning and thought but also movement of the body. The discussion introduced issues like the side-effects of medication and the ethical problems raised by medicine and drug use. Participants were were given a chance to consider a wide range of topics, from pure science to the ethics of medical drug use.
Dr. Yamada, host of the event
The talk was targeted at junior high school students and older.
About half of the participants were secondary school students.
Adult participants also actively engaged in the discussion.
(From left) Dr. Arbuthnott, Dr. Yamada, and Dr. Doya.