著者
伊藤 憲二
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.57, no.288, pp.266-283, 2019 (Released:2021-01-24)

This paper examines one of the most publicized scientific scandals in Japan before the end of WWII, Takeuchi Tokioʼs alleged discovery of artificially induced radioactivity in common salt. In 1936, Takeuchi, then an associate professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, claimed a discovery of a new way to produce a radioactive substance. According to his paper, he could induce radioactivity in common salt by a gamma ray from a radium source. When Takeuchiʼs patent for this alleged discovery was announced, Nishina Yoshio and other researchers at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) objected. A debate took place at a monthly meeting of the Mathematico-Physical Society of Japan in June 1941. The controversy ended when Takeuchi and Nishikawa Shōji conducted an experiment to confirm that Takeuchiʼs result was due to contamination from the radium cells, and Takeuchi withdrew his patent. This incident attracted much media attention: Newspapers and magazines published many articles on it. By examining the debates and the media coverage, this paper analyzes how Nishina and other nuclear physicists sought to set a clear boundary between acceptable and unacceptable studies of radioactivity, and shows that not only researchers, but also newspapers treated and demonstrated to the public the studies of radioactivity as something rationally verifiable, rather than magical or mysterious, indicating that the relation between the lay public and nuclear physics at that time was far more sophisticated than previously suggested. The paper concludes by discussing how such boundary work was possible in the given socio-cultural context.
著者
平田 光司 高岩 義信
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.59, no.293, pp.38-52, 2020 (Released:2021-01-24)

Inter-University Research Institutes (IURIs) are supposed to be shared properties of the researchers of corresponding disciplines. The Institute of Nuclear Study (INS) affiliated to the University of Tokyo was the first IURI equipped with large scientific facilities. A newly found set of records, collected and archived by Hiroo Kumagai, a former professor of INS, gives us new insights and interpretation of the history of the INS and its successors. INS was designed to be managed democratically on the sole basis of the common will of all nuclear physicists in Japan (the autonomy of the research community). It conflicted with the principle of the autonomy of the university. It is shown that the conflict of the two different kinds of autonomy was one of the motivations to create a new, larger physics institute, the Laboratory for High Energy Physics (KEK). Because of this historical background, KEK and other newer IURIs could provide “virtual” autonomy for researchers, though they are formally the institutes operated by the government.
著者
横田 陽子
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.59, no.293, pp.1-17, 2020 (Released:2021-01-24)

This paper examines controversy during the safety examination of the first commercial nuclear power plant (NPP) in Japan, the Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, focusing on the issue of major accidents. Politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders, and engineers generally pushed for the plantʼs construction, while scientists̶mainly physicists̶opposed it. At the time, nuclear power technology was a rapidly growing field, with the knowledge of its safety yet to be established. The controversy revolved around four key issues: 1) how to develop NPP technology; 2) how to mitigate the risk of a major accident; 3) how to estimate the potential effects of such an accident on people; and 4) how to determine the "safety" of NPPs. In addressing these issues, scientists consistently upheld the three basic principles on nuclear research and development in Japan, namely democracy, independence, and public disclosure, emphasizing the importance of free discussion and rigorous scientific standards. By contrast, advocates of power plants opposed such an approach and supported the approval of the construction plan on the basis of administrative procedures. In this way, the knowledge on reactor and radiation safety offered by scientists was intentionally and politically disregarded.
著者
法貴 遊
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.54, no.274, pp.37, 2015 (Released:2020-12-14)

The present article explores practical aspects of medieval ophthalmology in Cairo Genizah, by examining an exchange of letters (T-S 10J16.16) between two ophthalmologists (Abu Zikri and Abu 'Ali). In this document, written between the twelfth and thirteenth century, they talked about conditions and treatments of three eye diseases, i.e. ulcer of cornea (qarha fi qarniya), conjunctivitis (ramad) and trachoma (jarab). I compare their descriptions with the explanations found in major Arabic ophthalmological texts, and thereby reveal the practical dimension of their medical activity. At the stage of diagnosis, Abu Zikri's observation was based on the same pathological knowledge as described in the medieval Arabic medical texts, which was also shared by Abu 'All. However, when deciding the treatment plans, the two ophthalmologists, though still basing themselves on the same medical books, adopted different methods. Finally, at the stage of prescription, Abu 'Ali suggested the use of some medical substances that could seldom be found in the major texts. His knowledge of pharmacotherapy could come from his experiences (tajriba). Although such empirical knowledge might not have affected Abu 'All's basic physiology, its accumulation within the domain of pharmacotherapy could have influenced his decision about treatment plans.
著者
千葉 庫三
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.59, no.294, pp.113-130, 2020 (Released:2021-01-24)

In the 1960s, radio astronomy research in Japan was at a developing stage in comparison with that of leading countries. However, in the following decades the situation improved dramatically, and Japan gained a competitive position in this research field. This was achieved largely through the construction of the Nobeyama Radio Observatory (NRO). This paper describes the NROʼs construction history by focusing on the setting of scientific goals and development of the equipment to achieve them. Although there have been a few preceding studies on the Japanese history of modern astronomy including radio astronomy, it is characterized that this study utilized mainly the minutes of the Science Council of Japan and documents of research groups as primary sources. This paper clarifies the following processes. In the 1960s, with a series of major worldwide discoveries in radio astronomy, the importance of radio astronomy was recognized in Japan as well, which led to the planning of the Science Council of Japan. Responding to the global trend of radio astronomy, Japan set as the scientific goal exploring millimeter-wave astronomy. In order to meet the requirements, the 45m radio telescope and an acousto-optic radio spectrometer for spectral observations were designed and their specifications were actually realized, which far exceeded world standards at that time. Consequently, Japanese radio astronomy could obtain its global position.
著者
坂本 卓也
出版者
日本科学史学会
雑誌
科学史研究 (ISSN:21887535)
巻号頁・発行日
vol.59, no.294, pp.131-148, 2020 (Released:2021-01-24)

The author will clarify the engine operation and its specifications of Hakki-Maru of Kaga clan that was the steamship introduced to Japan at the end of the Tokugawa period. Hakki-Maru was propelled by sails and a steam engine on Japanʼs coastline. The engine operation was relatively smooth under the calm weather, but some steam leaks of the boiler occurred mainly at the stormy weather. Though the boiler of Hakki-Maru was designed to generate steam pressures of 60 psi., the steam pressure was frequently less than 1/4 of the maximum working pressure. The repair of the engine required the help of a Shogunate engineer with a lot of operating experience. Hakki-Maru built in the United Kingdom and was equipped with a compound engine. Also it is highly probable that a combination of cylindrical boiler and surface condenser was equipped. These were developed to improve the efficiency of the engine but had been just put into practical use. The frequent breakdowns at Hakki-Maru were due to the installation of the latest equipment that required careful operation and maintenance. The steamship sold to Japan at the end of the Tokugawa period included not only old ones but also new one equipped with some cutting-edge technology. Since the steamship itself was the means of transportation, the latest technology onboard could quickly spread to the distant locations.