4DSpace in Japan
av Wojciech Miloch - 2. juni, 2016
Japan-Norway Arctic Science and Innovation week fortsatte i dag med selve hovedarrangementet. For meg var høydepunktet en høytidelig undertegning av en samarbeidsavtale med Universitetet i Kobe. Vår egen Wojciech Miloch, mannen bak avtalen, innledet selv ved å beskrive prosjektet godt for oss med mindre kunnskap om romvær, turbulens og rakettoppskytinger. Statssekretær Bjørn Haugstad og Prof. Yui fra Universitetet i Kobe, talte på vegne av KD og Universitetet i Kobe. Wojciech tale var så god at jeg spurte om den kunne være en gjesteblogg på min blogg. Ingen grunn til å prøve å gjøre det bedre .. Talen følger her:
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentelmen, your excellency ambassador Erling Rimestad, vice minister Dr. Bjørn Haugstad, directors Kristin Danielsen, Harald Nybølet, Masazumi Miyake-san, Bjørn Tore Kjellemo, representatives from Ministry of Education and Research, Research Council of Norway, Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Education, Innovation Norway, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, Norwegian Space Center, Kobe University and the University of Oslo.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you here today, at the ceremony for signing the Agreement of Academic Cooperation, which we also refer to as Memorandum of Understanding, between the University of Oslo, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Kobe University, Graduate School of System Informatics and Education Center on Computational Science and Engineering. Today, the two Universities decided to take a step further and enter the agreement to foster the academic collaboration within education and research.
Let me take just a few minutes to present the background and scope of the collaboration that provided the basis of this agreement.
The background of the collaboration is space research, and in particular the space research over the polar regions, in the Arctic. The space in the Arctic has been fascinating the mankind for centuries, mainly due to the beauty of northern lights. It was thus natural, that early Norwegian scientists took expeditions to the North to study and understand these phenomena.
It is not surprising that the Norwegian – Japanese collaboration in space research traces back to the beginnings of space science. Prof. Kristian Birkeland, was the Norwegian scientist, he was a professor at the University of Oslo who actively collaborated with scientists at Tokyo University: Prof. Torahiko Nagaoka and Prof. Hentaro Terada. Prof. Birkeland was a pioneer of space research who laid foundations for understanding the physics of aurora and ionosphere at high latitudes. He created the first artificial northern lights in his experiment called terella. It is worth noting that his fundamental research resulted in the very applied science – he created the method for nitrogen fixation, which was so important for producing artificial fertilizers for agriculture, and resulted in establishing related industry in Norway. Birkeland was born in Oslo in 1867 and died in Tokyo, near Ueno, in 1917, nearly 100 years ago.
The legacy of this collaboration in space research has been continued. Japanese and Norwegian scientists have been exploring the space and ionosphere through joint missions and research projects. Both countries are particularly active in studies of the polar ionosphere, which is the most complex and least understood region of the near-Earth space. Due to the direct coupling of the Earth’s magnetic field to the Sun, the polar regions are subject to very dynamic phenomena, such as electron precipitation or plasma turbulence, and are the place where one can observe the spectacular northern lights.
With joint Japanese and Norwegian efforts, we have been launching rockets with sophisticated instruments on board into the northern lights, in order to understand the physics behind aurora and consequences of the ionosphere dynamics in the polar regions for the infrastructure on the Earth surface. These effects are now often called space weather. The most recent campaign was last year. We launched ICI-4 (Investigation of Cusp Irregularities) Norwegian sounding rocket into the aurora from Andøya in Northern Norway, and it carried Japanese instruments. This successful collaboration is continuing, by planning new research campaigns. The next one will be the Japanese rocket, JAXA SS520-3, that will be launched from Svalbard next year, and will carry on-board Norwegian instruments. This new rocket is a part of the grand challenge vision, being the first of five sounding rockets within international collaboration that will study the most complex dayside phenomena in the polar ionosphere. We are also sharing ground-based radar and optical data, in order to provide a comprehensive study of space weather phenomena in the Arctic. This complex research is only possible in international collaboration.
However, the experiments by rockets and satellites is only a part of the larger story. The system that we are studying is very complex, and to understand it we need a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach. The analysis of data is intricate, and such problems as accuracy of measurements, the disturbances induced by a rocket, interaction between different scales, and combining various datasets into a single picture, just to name a few challenges, require active modeling and simulation approaches.
As the response to these challenges, we have established at the University of Oslo the 4DSpace Strategic Research Initiative. 4DSpace involves three departments at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences: Departments of Physics, Mathematics, and Informatics. Within this interdisciplinary initiative we bring together 30 researchers and technicians to address instrumentation, experiments, data analysis and numerical modeling in space science. In particular, we are working with large-scale numerical models to address such problems as plasma turbulence and rocket-plasma interaction in order to better understand the in-situ measurements of space plasma.
In Japan, similar efforts, when it comes to numerical simulations, have been undertaken by Kobe University. Graduate School of System Informatics and Education Center on Computational Science and Engineering Kobe University have developed and operate cutting-edge codes for studies of spacecraft-plasma interaction, which can account for non-trivial shapes of the spacecraft and surface conditions. These codes are now being used to address various problems in space science providing a great support to various space projects, and also demonstrate how interdisciplinary the space research is.
So were are we now, and what is the current status on the student mobility program?
Common interests and complementary approach made it natural for Kobe University and University of Oslo to collaborate within computational space science. This collaboration has involved the student exchange programme. Only last year, we had about 10 months of student exchange, with 10 Japanese students coming to Norway, and 8 Norwegian students coming to Japan. Access to space research platforms, when the students can see the research laboratory, touch, and understand probes, and in the future possibly design the next generation experiments, and access to data from sounding rockets and spacecrafts allowed for establishing a successful research-based educational program, where students have hands-on experience by working with realistic problems. With this experience they can become the future scientists, innovators, engineers, team leaders.
The project Numerical simulations of rocket-plasma interaction has been funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, SIU, through the UTFORSK program. This funding has been provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and the program was arranged in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway. In the project we support data analysis for the Norwegian ICI rocket program, which is in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. We are very happy that representatives from all thse institutions are present here with us today,. We can say that todays ceremony would not be possible without your support. This is in fact our joint project!
In the project we focused on addressing the fundamental problem of rocket-plasma interaction, which we related to ongoing research activity, namely sounding rocket programs that are being carried out in both Norway and Japan. Huge success of this student exchange program resulted in increased mobility of students and also research staff, joint supervision of master and PhD students, and strong consolidation of collaboration between the two universities. We could observe that internationalization of education that is closely related to ongoing research, is an excellent way to increase the quality of university education, offer interdisciplinary projects, and is also a way to foster academic cooperation in all aspects. To reflect on the popularity of the project; already in January this year, some students sent to us applications with motivation letters for this year program, well before we announced the call for applications!
As a direct result of this successful activity, the two universities decided to enter into agreement of academic cooperation to further promote this successful collaboration.
Of course, we have concrete plans for the future!
We are going to further develop and expand our collaboration to include many different space missions, broaden its scope to provide even more attractive study program for students at different levels. Our focus remains to be the high-performance computing for space science, which is a very generic problem including and combining fundamental problems in informatics, mathematics, and physics. The focus will be on space science, in particular the polar ionosphere, but also on large international space missions – such as studies of comets and asteroids by European and Japanese spacecrafts, and relating the student results to data from Rosetta or Hayabusa missions. We have access to these data either by being co-investigators on those projects or through our collaborator networks. We are looking forward to provide attractive student and research program within framework of interdisciplinary space science, and plan to establish long term Japan-Norway Partnership in Space Science Simulations.
Today’s agreement is a stepping-stone in establishing a consolidated and broad collaboration between two universities. As it is stated in the documents, it is a commitment of both institutions to seek for further involvement in joint research activities; faculty exchange; student exchange at the graduate and undergraduate level; exchange of research results, academic publications and other academic information. It is important that this agreement is open for all research topics and for all interested scientists. It is, therefore, a generic agreement that paves the way also for other academic collaborations including education and research.
We are looking forward towards continuing this successful collaboration!
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