26 Mar 2014

“Why Science?”

OIST hosted a two-day contest entitled, “Why Science?” on March 18-19. The competition brought 27 contestants from universities all over Japan, who gave five-minute English presentations about their passion for science. Congratulations to the winner, Shunsuke Tamaki, a senior in physics in the Faculty of Science, at Niigata University!  Mr. Tamaki has been invited to OIST as an intern for two weeks as part of the prize.

Every year OIST Graduate School hosts a science contest open to all science students in Japan.  This year, there were high number of submission, and the contest had two stages. First, the students produced a 60 second video that explained their passion for science. A selection committee at OIST chose 27 winners to come to Okinawa to give a live presentation of their ideas before the audience, comprising five judges, OIST faculty, a throng of students, and OIST staff members. The presenters made the audience laugh with their unique personalities and approaches.  The event also provided an opportunity for the contestants to demonstrate English skills, especially during the Q&A sessions.  Mr. Tamaki, who won the first prize, entertained the audience with his animated talk about the gap between the imaginary and real worlds of science.  Comics and other books provided the inspiration for his interest in science. “I was allowed to express myself in my own way. Most of all, I am happy to have met peers who are also pursuing paths in science, and that was inspiring,” said Mr. Tamaki.

The quality of the presentations was so high that the judges decided to give two extra “Honorable Mention” awards. One was given to Arina Matsumoto and Rina Yonamine of the University of the Ryukyus, whose presentation made the audience ponder how science brings pleasure and excitement into people’s lives. Yuka Suzuki of Ochanomizu University won the 2nd “Honorable Mention” by answering her own question “What is life?”

This contest event also featured a lecture on English presentation skills by OIST English teacher, Kevin Hunt, and talks by Professor Tsumoru Shintake and several researchers.  

By Mayumi Nishioka

By Mayumi Nishioka


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