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Dec. 15, 2020

RIKEN holds first photo competition

In the spring of 2020, RIKEN’s International Affairs Division launched an institute-wide image and video competition, open to all RIKEN research and administrative staff. The aim of the competition was to gain insights into the dramatic and beautiful views seen across RIKEN’s campuses and inside its laboratories, that might not otherwise come to light.

Despite the unpredictable events of the year, the competition received over 90 entries. Entries into the competition were submitted by research and administrative staff from 13 centers/divisions spread over 5 of RIKEN’s campuses. They included a range of RIKEN-related images and videos, both from research results as well as RIKEN scenery.

Entries were assigned to one of three categories: Research, Scenes and Videos. A panel of chaired by RIKEN Executive Director Dr Yuko Harayama selected the winning entries for each category, and a ceremony was held on December 10 to congratulate the winners.

The winning images and video were all beautiful but also meaningful. First place in the Research Category went to Thomas Chater form the RIKEN Center for Brain Science for his photo, Christmas Lights, showing a type of brain cell, an inhibitory neuron, in the hippocampus. It targets other nearby neurons and reduces their activity, helping the circuit maintain balance. The colour-code reflects the depth.

One of the winning entries, entitled Christmas lights

Christmas lights
Thomas Chater, RIKEN Center for Brain Science

First place in the Scenes category went to Toshiki Matsushima of the RIKEN Center for Computational Science for his image, Stereo Projection of High-Resolution Cloud Simulation. The image shows a simulation of cumulus clouds, originally run on the K computer in Kobe, superimposed on a photo of the RIKEN Center for Computational Sciences. A stereo projection of an omnidirectional photograph was used to convey the enormity of the sky and clouds.

Photo of one of the winning entries, on cloud simulation

Stereo projection of high-resolution cloud simulation
Toshiki Matsushima, RIKEN Center for Computational Science

And lastly, first place in the Video category also went to Thomas Chater, for his work entitled A Web of Memories, which shows a cluster of neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, an area in the brain important for memory formation.

One of the winning entries, A web of memories

A web of memories
Thomas Chater, RIKEN Center for Brain Science

The International Affairs Division is planning to hold a second competition in 2021.