East Asia Youth Seminar - a Steppingstone for Long Term Collaboration
with East Asian Astronomy Communities
July 19, 2006
The East Asia Youth Seminar was held in Kailua-Kona, western side of the Big Island of Hawaii from March 12 to 17 on 2006. Subaru Telescope is the primary sponsor and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) cosponsored as part of its ongoing Asian Science Seminars program. Total of 61 attendees flew in from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Indonesia for a week of very active discussions.
The theme of this seminar was "Let's expand the frontier of the Universe by the coalition of large and medium-small telescopes". There are many mid-scale and smaller telescopes being used in the Asian regions. Then how can we integrate their effort with the observations at large telescopes? All the lecturers have this challenge in mind during the preparation of their presentations.
As a kick off speech, Dr. Hiroshi Karoji, then the Director of Subaru Telescope, expressed his strong desire of expectance for receiving many proposals from the participants as part of the results after this Seminar. Dr. Myung Gyoon Lee from Korea was the first to give the keynote presentation and talked about the globular clusters in the galaxies based on the observations including Subaru's data. Dr. Im Myungshin from Korea followed with the discussion on the galaxy evolution at large z. Dr. Chen Yuqin from China presented spectra from HDS - a high dispersion optical spectrograph at Subaru - analyzed by MIDAS software. Dr. Fu Jian Ning showed the contemporary stellar seismology of white dwarfs. Dr. Jeremy Lim from Taiwan compared the optical versus radio observations on AGNs and parent galaxy of the QSOs. Dr. Yoshiaki Taniguchi then at Tohoku University of Japan described COSMOS project that is to reveal the distant universe using wide field-of-view observations. He represented an international team of scientists who utilize the major telescopes available throughout the world including the ones in the space. Dr. Bun-ei Sato of Okayama Astrophysical Observatory of Japan talked about another hot topics, the exoplanet search at Subaru based on his data from Okayama. Dr. Motohiro Enoki from the headquarters of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan demonstrated SMOKA system that archives the data from Subaru and other telescopes.
Since hosting institute Subaru Telescope intended to see the participants of this seminar return as the users of the telescope, staffs from Subaru presented more pragmatic topics. They included the thorough introduction of the suite of its instruments, their performances, recent results, the operation system, and the telescope time allocation scheme. Subaru's presentation was concluded by the deputy director Dr. Masa Hayashi's speech of "How to write a good proposal that works".
During the preparation of this seminar, the local organizing committee expected to see young researchers from East Asian regions at the seminar. Due to the difference in the research institutes systems in the Asian regions, the actual attendees were younger than we expected, namely the graduate students. For many of them, this was the first visit to Hawaii (or even to foreign country) and they were all excited to be able to attend the seminar.
In order to encourage those participants, some time was set aside for short presentations by graduate students. We believe this opportunity helped networking the younger generation astronomers throughout the East Asia region. There were a couple of good observation programs for Subaru, and it became apparent that some of them are guaranteed to return as the users of Subaru.
One day was set aside for a tour to the summit of Mauna Kea. The participants visited two telescopes, one of course Subaru, the other Submillimeter Array (SMA) that partners with Taiwan's Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics(ASIAA). The guests were totally fascinated with the state-of-the-art facilities atop of 4200-m (13796 feet) mountain.
Fourth day of the seminar was another excursion - to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and then to the Base Facility of Subaru located in Hilo at the eastern side of the Island of Hawaii. Unfortunately the guests had to walk in the rather heavy rain, for this week was in the spell of bad weather throughout the entire island, even the State of Hawaii. Nevertheless, they were able to witness the formation process of the land on the earth. This experience boosted the discussion on the planet formation processes and the search for other planetary systems.
Last day was to learn some of the Hawaiian culture. To appreciate and respect the native environment is one of the fundamental component for the long lasting international collaborations. They attended Luau, Hawaiian dinner party, including traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian songs and dances. By finding differences and similarities with their own culture, each participants must have had strong impression from this event.
The growth of astronomical research in the eastern Asian countries have been very remarkable for the last 10-15 years. Subaru Telescope is located in the United States of America, but this Japanese-built facility is geographically located in the middle of Pacific Ocean. We can therefore claim it as the research facility in the middle of Asian and Pacific regions. This seminar was organized for the East Asian Youth astronomers, but we hope to extend the opportunities to researchers from other parts of the world, for pursing the fullest extent of the telescope's ability. That will make this place a true "Subaru", that is the gathering place in ancient Japanese word.