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AAAS-Hitachi Lecture on Science & Society

, Washington, DC

Challenges of Using Highly Sensitive Measurement Technologies: From Explosives and Illegal Drug Detection Using Mass Spectrometer to Cancer Detection Using Nematodes

The 2015 Annual AAAS-Hitachi Lecture on Science and Society will be addressed by Dr. Minoru Sakairi, Chief Scientist, Center for Exploratory Research, of the Research and Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd., and discussant Dr. Gerald L. Epstein, former AAAS Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy.

In the News: Nematode Cancer Screening Method Featured at AAAS-Hitachi Lecture


To accommodate the needs for high detection accuracy and high throughput in a measurement system, Dr. Sakairi and his group have been developing real-time mass spectrometry and have deployed and implemented it in environmental measurement systems and physical security systems. Japanese Customs uses the physical security systems in inspection areas to detect smuggling of explosives and illegal drugs.

Although advancements in physical measurement technologies have led to the birth of a giant industry, we have now almost reached their performance limits. Now research is moving toward creating a measurement technology modeled after the olfactory system of living organisms for accurately recognizing and distinguishing a vast array of odorant molecules.

Minoru Sakairi - Dr. Sakairi is the Chief Scientist, Center for Exploratory Research, of the Research and Development Group at Hitachi, Ltd. He has been continually engaged in developing highly sensitive measurement technologies mainly based on mass spectrometer, compact sensors and measurement technology modeled after the olfactory system of living organisms. He has succeeded in applying these technologies to environmental measurement systems, in-vitro diagnostic devices, physical security systems and bio-instrumentation systems for automobiles.

He was awarded the Nikkei Global Environmental Technology Award (2000), the Okochi Memorial Technology Award (2000), the Ichimura Industrial Award (2007), The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Development Category (2008), and the title of Fellow of the Chemical Society of Japan (2012). In addition, he served as Advisor of the Japan Science & Technology Agency (2004-2009) and guest lecturer at the University of Electro-Communication (2005-2015), Chairman of the Japanese Association of Healthcare Information System and Industry (2005-2006) and Auditor of the Japan Society for Analytical Chemistry (2006).

He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Tokyo in 1979, 1981, and 1989, respectively. During 1989-1990, he was a guest researcher at the National Institutes of Health (U.S.) to conduct a research of electro-spray ionization mass spectrometry for protein analysis.

Gerald L. Epstein - Dr. Epstein is the former AAAS Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy. He currently serves at the Department of Homeland Security as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Policy. He has also worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (where he served jointly as Assistant Director for National Security and as Senior Director for Science and Technology on the National Security Council staff), and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.  He directed a project at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on the relationship between civil and military technologies and has taught at Princeton (arms control and nonproliferation) and Georgetown (science, technology, and homeland security) Universities.

Dr. Epstein is a Fellow of the APS and the AAAS; he served on the APS Committee on International Scientific Activities (2005-2007, chair for 2007) and the Executive Committee for the Forum on Physics and Society (1994-1997).  He is a member of the editorial boards for the journals Biosecurity and Bioterrorism and Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.  He has also served on the National Academy’s Committee on Science, Security, and Prosperity, its Committee on Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures, and on the Biological Threats Panel of its Committee on International Security and Arms Control.  He has served on the Biological Sciences Experts Group for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  His Ph.D., in physics, is from the University of California at Berkeley.

When and Where?
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
5:00 p.m. Registration
5:30 p.m. Lecture
Reception to follow

AAAS Auditorium, 2nd floor
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Entrance at 12th and H Streets, NW
Washington, DC