Today we visited the University of Tokyo Kashiwa campus. The first thing to notice about this campus was its large size and spacious design, especially compared to the older Hongo campus. It contained many different laboratories and institutes for specific areas of study in physics, rather than a single physics faculty. This definitely gave me the impression that the University of Tokyo takes its physics research very seriously, and devotes a lot of resources to it.
First we were guided through the Transdisciplinary Sciences Laboratory by Mr Kotaro Yamazaki, who explained to us the research done on plasma for the purpose of investigating its use in nuclear fusion. This lab left a good first impression on me, with its advanced technology and interesting work.
Next we were guided through the Itani Laser laboratory of the Institute of Solid State Physics by Mr. Florian Geier, where we learned about High Harmonic lasers with incredibly short-timed pulses, and his efforts to develop amplifiers and other laser equipment. After that, we had lunch with Mr. Geier at a sushi store on campus, where it was confirmed that I cannot use chopsticks.
Next Dr. Misato Hayashida guided us through the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research. Here she explained to us gravitational waves as well as a potential method of measuring them using a very large, underground Michelson interferometer. To further demonstrate this concept, we constructed small interferometers and used the optical signal to listen to music.
Finally, we got an introduction to the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, where physicists and mathematicians combine approaches to solve astronomic problems. We had the opportunity to participate in tea time where everyone gathers for a short coffee or tea break in order to discuss their research and foster collaboration. Ms. Midori Azawa then gave us a short tour of the building. This was a highlight of the day, observing how people work together in this modern institute.
I was extremely impressed by the University of Tokyo, it contained some fantastic, state of the art physics laboratories with some cutting edge instruments. It is a place that I would love to study or work at in the future, given the opportunity.