NOV 23 (WED) 8th Kavli IPMU/ELSI/IRCN Joint Public Lecture: "A Question of Origins"

October 26, 2022
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)

On November 23 (Wed), we invite you to take part in our upcoming online event, the 8th Public Lecture series "A Question of Origins", jointly hosted by the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU), the Tokyo Institute of Technology's Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI). Continuing on from last year, this year the evnet will be co-hosted by The University of Tokyo's International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN).

The Universe, Earth, Human Intelligence. How did it all begin? Throughout history, humans have always asked this question. In this event, researchers will talk about how far science has come to uncover the origin of the Universe, of Earth, and Human Intelligence. They will also discuss what it means to study the origin of something, moderated by a researcher who has crossed roads with mathematics, information sciences, physics and philosophy to discuss and think about what it means to look for an origin.

Click here to register (in Japanese only)


1:40PM - 2:10PM

Lecture 1

Looking at the time before the Big Bang - the origin of the universe -

Speaker: Tomotake Matsumura (Kavli IPMU Associate Professor)

Where did we come from? To answer this, we look to the origin of the universe. Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), remnants from the Big Bang, prove that our universe had a beginning. By finding a distinct pattern in the CMB's polarization signal could reveal whether the universe rapidly expanded (inflation theory) happened before the Big Bang. Cosmologists around the world are cheering each on to discover this signal. In this talk, I will talk about the latest experimental efforts to study the universe before the Big Bang.

2:10PM - 2:40PM

Lecture 2

Looking for life in space

Speaker: Hironori Genda (ELSI Professor)

Is there life in the universe beyond Earth? Scientists around the world are putting everything they can into answering this question. Traces of what used to be rivers have been discovered on the Mars terrain, and in the near future, scientists will be able to test samples of sand brought back from the red planet. Satellites flying over Saturn and Jupiter have found what could be liquid flowing underneath the crust, which could be thriving with microscopic life. Outside out Solar System, many Earth-like planets have been discovered. We may be on the brink of something, and this talk will look at the current situation and what could be expected.

2:40PM - 3:10PM

Lecture 3

Listen, talk, pass on: How the brain supports vocal communication

Speaker: Yoko Sugiyama (Yasaki) (IRCN Project Associate Professor)

Many organisms on Earth communicate to one another using their voices, but recognizing different voices is something only a few organisms are capable of, including humans. Much in the same way human babies listen and learn to mimic what their parents speak, song bird chicks also listen and learn to try and mimic the songs their parent birds sing. Through communication, we can retain information and knowledge through our own characteristic songs. This talk will look at how the brain works to enable learning from voice communication.

3:20PM - 4:00PM


What does it mean to study an origin

Moderator: Norihisa Baba (The University of Tokyo Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia Professor)

What does one mean to study an origin. Experts studying an origin from three different perspectives will have a discussion, moderated by a religion and culture expert.


Time & Date:

1:30 PM - 4PM, November 23 (Wed), 2022

Venue: Hybrid event
Onsite venue: Ito Hall, Hongo Campus, The University of Tokyo
Host: The University of Tokyo Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU), Tokyo Institute of Technology Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), and The University of Tokyo International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN)
Difficulty: High school level and above
Admission: Free

When onsite venue reaches full capacity, seats will be allocated by loteery


Click here to register


03-6661-0205 / Email: (Seiko co. Operations office)

Kavli IPMU Fundamental+ Project

A series of events where Kavli IPMU researchers have exchanged discussions with experts from different disciplines. Click here for a full list of past events.