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Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (Riken)
RIKEN logo.png
TypeDesignated National Research and Development Institute
HeadquartersWak?, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
  • 7 campuses
AffiliationsAsian Research Network

Riken (, stylized as RIK?N) is a large scientific research institute in Japan. Founded in 1917, it now has about 3,000 scientists on seven campuses across Japan, including the main site at Wak?, Saitama Prefecture, just outside Tokyo. Riken is a Designated National Research and Development Institute,[1] and was formerly an Independent Administrative Institution. "Riken" is a contraction of the formal name Rikagaku Kenky?jo (), and its full name in Japanese is Kokuritsu Kenky? Kaihatsu H?jin Rikagaku Kenky?sho () and in English is the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research.

Riken conducts research in many areas of science, including physics, chemistry, biology, genomics, medical science, engineering, high-performance computing and computational science, and ranging from basic research to practical applications with 485 partners worldwide.[2] It is almost entirely funded by the Japanese government, and its annual budget is about ¥88 billion (US$790 million).[when?]


Riken in the Taish? period
A 1938 ad for Riken Vitamin A

In 1913, the well-known scientist Jokichi Takamine first proposed the establishment of a national science research institute in Japan. This task was taken on by Viscount Shibusawa Eiichi, a prominent businessman, and following a resolution by the Diet in 1915, Riken came into existence in March 1917. In its first incarnation, Riken was a private foundation (zaidan), funded by a combination of industry, the government, and the Imperial Household. It was located in the Komagome district of Tokyo, and its first Director was the mathematician Baron Dairoku Kikuchi.

In 1927, Viscount Masatoshi ?k?chi, the third Director, established the Riken Concern (a zaibatsu). This was a group of spin-off companies that used Riken's scientific achievements for commercial ends and returned the profits to Riken. At its peak in 1939 the zaibatsu comprised about 121 factories and 63 companies, including Riken Kank?shi, which is now Ricoh.

During World War II the Japanese army's atomic bomb program was conducted at Riken. In April 1945 the US bombed Riken's laboratories in Komagome, and in November, after the end of the war, Allied soldiers destroyed its two cyclotrons.

After the war, the Allies dissolved Riken as a private foundation, and it was brought back to life as a company called Kagaku Kenky?jyo (), or Kaken (). In 1958 the Diet passed the Riken Law, whereby the institute returned to its original name and entered its third incarnation, as a public corporation (?, tokushu h?jin), funded by the government. In 1963 it relocated to a large site in modern day Wak? then "" until 1970 in Saitama Prefecture, just outside Tokyo.

Since the 1980s Riken has expanded dramatically. New labs, centers, and institutes have been established in Japan and overseas, including:

  • in 1984, the Life Science Center in Tsukuba
  • in 1995, the Muon Research Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK
  • in 1997, the Harima Institute, the Brain Science Institute in Wako, and the center at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA
  • in 1998, the Genomic Sciences Center
  • in 2000, the Yokohama Institute, which now contains four centers for research in the life sciences
  • in 2002, the Kobe Institute, which contains the Center for Developmental Biology

In October 2003, Riken's status changed again, to Independent Administrative Institution. As such, Riken is still publicly funded, and it is periodically evaluated by the government, but it has a higher degree of autonomy than before. Riken is regarded as the flagship research institute in Japan and conducts basic and applied experimental research in a wide range of science and technology fields including physics, chemistry, medical science, biology and engineering.

Riken was the subject of international attention in 2014 after the Stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency cell (also known as STAP) publication, investigation, retraction, and suicide of Yoshiki Sasai, the principal investigator. Observers, journalists, and former members of Riken have stated that the organization is riddled with unprofessional and inadequate scientific rigor and consistency, and that this is reflective of serious issues with scientific research in Japan in general.[3][4]

Organizational structure

Main Research Building in Wako
Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe

The main divisions of Riken are listed here. Purely administrative divisions are omitted.

  • Headquarters (mostly in Wako)
  • Wako Branch
    • Center for Emergent Matter Science (research on new materials for reduced power consumption)
    • Center for Sustainable Resource Science (research toward a sustainable society)
    • Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science (site of the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory, a heavy-ion accelerator complex)
    • Center for Brain Science
    • Center for Advanced Photonics (research on photonics including terahertz radiation)
    • Research Cluster for Innovation
    • Cluster for Pioneering Research (chief scientists)
    • Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Program
  • Tokyo Branch
  • Tsukuba Branch
    • BioResource Research Center
  • Harima Institute
  • Yokohama Branch (site of the Yokohama Nuclear magnetic resonance facility)
    • Center for Sustainable Resource Science
    • Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (research toward personalized medicine)
    • Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (also based in Kobe and Osaka) [5]
    • Program for Drug Discovery and Medical Technology Platform
    • Structural Biology Laboratory
    • Sugiyama Laboratory
  • Kobe Branch

<--** Center for Life Science Technologies-->

Facts and achievements

  • Two Riken scientists have won the Nobel prize for physics: Hideki Yukawa in 1949 and Shin'ichir? Tomonaga in 1965.
  • The SPring-8 (Super Photon Ring 8GeV) facility in Harima is the world's largest and most powerful third-generation synchrotron radiation facility.[6]
  • In July 2004 a team at Riken created element 113. On April 2, 2005 the same team successfully created it for the second time, and a third event was seen in 2012. The discovery was officially recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) in December 2015.[7][8]
  • The Riken Super Combined Cluster is one of the world's fastest supercomputers. In January 2006, Riken set up the Next-Generation Supercomputer R&D Center, with the purpose of designing and building the fastest supercomputer in the world, and in June 2006, it announced the completion of a one-petaFLOPS computer system designed specially for molecular dynamics simulation. Currently a new system, the K computer is being installed at Riken and despite it being still not finished, it topped the LINPACK benchmark with the performance of 8.162 petaFLOPS, or 8.162 quadrillion calculations per second, with a computing efficiency ratio of 93.0%, making it the fastest supercomputer in the world at the time.[9][10][11][12] The complete project entered service in November 2012.[13]

List of presidents

  • Dairoku Kikuchi (1917)
  • K?i Furuichi (1917 - 1921)
  • Masatoshi ?k?chi (1921 - 1946)
  • Yoshio Nishina (1946 - 1951)
  • Kiichi Sakatani (1951 - 1952)
  • Takeshi Murayama (1952 - 1956)
  • Masanori Sat? (1956 - 1958)
  • Haruo Nagaoka (1958 - 1966)
  • Shir? Akahori (1966 - 1970)
  • Toshio Hoshino (1970 - 1975)
  • Shinji Fukui (1975 - 1980)
  • Tatsuoki Miyajima (1980 - 1988)
  • Minoru Oda (1988 - 1993)
  • Akito Arima (1993 - 1998)
  • Shunichi Kobayashi (1998 - 2003)
  • Ry?ji Noyori (2003 - 31 March 2015)
  • Hiroshi Matsumoto (1 April 2015 - present)[14]

Notable scientists and affiliated people

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "MEXT" (PDF).
  2. ^ http://www.riken.jp/en/outreach/research/
  3. ^ Otake, Tomoko, "'STAPgate' shows Japan must get back to basics in science", Japan Times, 21 April 2014
  4. ^ Schreiber, Mark, "Ongoing Obokata story seeks out scandal", Japan Times, 5 July 2014, p. 19
  5. ^ Organisational changes are underway in 2018 with some laboratories joining the Center for Integrative Medical Sciences
  6. ^ Futura-Sciences. "Record : un laser X avec une longueur d'onde de 1,2 angström". Futura-Sciences. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Search for element 113 concluded at last". www.sciencecodex.com. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Discovery Of Element 113 By RIKEN Scientists Completes 7th Row Of Periodic Table". Tech Times. 2016-01-05. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Japanese 'K' Computer Is Ranked Most Powerful". The New York Times. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  10. ^ "Japan Reclaims Top Ranking on Latest TOP500 List of World's Supercomputers", top500.org, archived from the original on June 23, 2011, retrieved 2011
  11. ^ "K computer, SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz, Tofu interconnect", top500.org, retrieved 2011
  12. ^ "Supercomputer "K computer" Takes First Place in World". RIKEN. Retrieved 2011.
  13. ^ "With 16 petaflops and 1.6M cores, DOE supercomputer is world's fastest". Ars Technica. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Hiroshi Matsumoto takes helm at Riken, retrieved 7 April 2015
  15. ^ Kitano, H.; Asada, M.; Kuniyoshi, Y.; Noda, I.; Osawa, E. (1997). "Robo Cup". Proceedings of the first international conference on Autonomous agents - AGENTS '97. p. 340. doi:10.1145/267658.267738. ISBN 0897918770.

External links

Coordinates: 35°46?49?N 139°36?45?E / 35.78028°N 139.61250°E / 35.78028; 139.61250

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