Director's Corner

14 September 2006

Mitsuaki Nozaki,
GDE Asian Regional Director

To-Gakkai meets the ILC

Science is a great achievement of human endeavour and culture. Yet sometimes people get confused about the distinction between science and foolish ideas. Some of these outrageous opinions can be found on the internet, such as "Apollo never landed on the Moon." It helps to have friends who would persuade people and explain why these opinions are nonsensical with a certain touch of humour. In the US, there is such a site called

The To-Gakkai coat of arms.

To-Gakkai, the Academy of Outrageous Books ( is one of these unique and humorous groups in Japan. They make a ranking of "outrageous" books with very amusing comments (Sorry, their site is only in Japanese). Members include scientists, engineers, advertising agents and writers.

About thirty members of this eccentric academy visited KEK on 26 and 27 of August to see a real laboratory of high energy physics. After visiting the KEKB accelerator and the ATF, I gave them a brief lecture of what is the Higgs mechanism and what we are going to do with the ILC. Their enthusiasm towards science seems quite high, and it was an amusing experience to myself as well. It is always good to have friends who support you.

To build the ILC, I think it is quite essential to have a group of core people who will build up a kind of momentum and understanding about the project. Looking back to the days of the SSC, physicists rarely interacted with the public in friendly ways. Thirteen years have passed, and we are now really trying very hard to reach the public. I'm sure that this is a good thing. The encounter with To-Gakkai reminds me of the days when for me physics seemed to be a never-ending allurement of solving the big puzzles.

-- Mitsuaki Nozaki, GDE Asian Regional Director