March 23, 2012 Guest

Guest : Mr. Damien Caze(Delegate chief executive, Universcience)

Mr. Damien Caze, Delegate Chief Executive of France's universcience paid a visit to Japan. Universcience is the umbrella organization that manages the two science museums that are representative of France--the Cité des sciences and the Palais de la découverte. During his tour of Miraikan, Mr. Caze showed a keen interest in the exhibits, examining them and asking questions about the novelty and design of each exhibit, how demonstrations were created, and other aspects of the museum. He also had a hands-on experience at the exhibit titled "A Hands-on Model of the Internet." This exhibit shows packets made of white and black balls representing the binary numbers "0" and "1" being sucked into a tower that serves as the router and server. The packets then pass through a route corresponding to the IP address of the packets, in order to reach their destination. Mr. Caze enjoyed watching this simulation of the Internet process. He was also shown the concepts that Professor Jun Murai--information engineer, father of the Japan's Internet, and supervisor of the exhibit-- had incorporated into the exhibit, as well as how we communicate with regular Miraikan visitors.

Mr. Caze also held a lively discussion with Miraikan Director, Dr. Mamoru Mohri, about the role of science museums in society. One of the examples they raised was that of nuclear power generation. Nuclear power accounts for approximately 77% of domestic power in France (as of 2008) (Reference: However, in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the number of people who are reconsidering the future of nuclear power generation, both in the government and among the general public in France, appears to have increased. According to Mr. Caze, they are seriously considering what science museums can do in the face of this situation. This visit has thus served as valuable opportunity to consider, once again, the role that science museums play in society.

(Science Communicator: Michiko Toyoda)

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