Tokyo College Event “Fuel of life” by Prof. Sir John Walker - Tokyo College

Tokyo College Event “Fuel of life” by Prof. Sir John Walker

2019.09.30 @ 16:30 – 18:00
Tokyo College Event "Fuel of life" by Prof. Sir John Walker

Tokyo College and Tokyo ATPase Workshop Secretariat held a public lecture on “Fuel of life.”

On September 30, 2019, Professor Sir John Walker gave a lecture on “Fuel of life.” Sir John Walker FRS is a biochemist and the 1997 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry for the analysis of the enzymatic process that creates adenosine triphosphate (ATP). He is an emeritus director of MRC, Cambridge.

In the beginning of the event, Professor Satoru Ohtake (Deputy Director) gave an opening speech with explanation of Tokyo College’s purpose and missions. Professor Noji Hiroyuki (University of Tokyo) then introduced Professor Masasuke Yoshida (Kyoto Sangyo University), a biochemist whose biochemical analysis for ATP synthase and the epoch-making discovery of the single-molecule biophysics regarding the rotation of the enzyme are known to have contributed greatly to John Walker's Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor Yoshida held an opening talk on “How cells make ATP: implication and prospect” and explained the principle of ATP cycle mechanism along with the role of enzyme.

After the opening talk, Professor Sir John Walker began his lecture by giving a general introduction to ATP, the fuel for all organisms. The ATP is manufactured in a precise device called ATP synthase. Professor Sir Walker described what the subunits of ATP synthase are, how it was assembled in the early stages of life evolution, and what the origin of ATP synthase was.

The lecture moved onto human aspects of science, concerning the infectious diseases and resistance to drugs. Professor Sir Walker pointed out that the infectious diseases and resistance to drugs are becoming a serious problem for mankind and particularly noticeable in the upsurge in tuberculosis worldwide. By introducing his then-ongoing research project with enzyme, Professor Sir Walker explained how we are able to utilize basic knowledge of how the APT synthase works to the medical benefit for benefit of mankind, especially in the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Sir Walker also shared his life philosophy that difficult experimental science requires persistence, therefore it is essential to cope with failure and learn from it.

In Q&A session after the lecture, Professor Sir Walker gently and honestly responded to all questions from the audience, and the questions varied from specialized to general topics, such as BREXIT and research enthusiasm.

Date(s) September 30th (Mon), 2019, 4:30-6:00pm (4:00 pm Doors Open)

Sanjo Conference Hall, The University of Tokyo (Hongo Campus)

Registration Pre-registration required (60 seats available -First come, first served)
Language English and Japanese(Simultaneous translation available)
Organized by Tokyo College, The University of Tokyo

Upcoming Events

International Women’s Day Symposium “Understanding Feminist Movements Across Borders: Building Transnational Solidarity”


Friday, 31 March 2023, 10:00-11:30 am

In honor of International Women’s Day, Tokyo College’s “Gender, Sexuality & Identity” collaborative research group will host a panel that will explore the role of translation in practices of transnational feminist solidarity. Panelists will discuss the recent protests in Iran for “Woman, Life, Freedom” as a case study for contemplating how women led movements may be translated into different contexts to facilitate multi-directional relationships of learning and solidarity.

Animals, Disasters, and Mountains: Rethinking Environmental Humanities (Prof. Haruo SHIRANE )


Tuesday, 4 April 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

What is the relationship of humans to animals and to mountains in Japanese culture? To natural disasters? How can these complex relationships help us generate an environmental ethics relevant to the present? Shirane proposes an “ecology of disaster, afterlives, and rebirth” as a means to rethink the relationship of the human to the non-human.

Japan’s Language Policy and Assumptions about Learner Identities: Promotion of English Language Teaching for Japanese and Japanese Language Teaching for Foreigners (ft. Dr Kayoko Hashimoto)


Monday, 17 April 2023, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm (JST)

The embedded notion of the inseparable relationship between the nation, the language, and the people has shaped Japan’s language policy. In this talk, Dr.Kayoko Hashimoto (The University of Queensland) discusses how learners’ identity has been constructed in so-called “English education” in Japan and how learners’ identity has been assumed in the promotion of Japanese language teaching overseas.

Loanwords and Japanese Identity: Inundating or Absorbed?


Wednesday, 19 April 2023, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm JST

Is our language inundated by loanwords? Or is it being enriched by absorbing foreign vocabulary? We often hear such discussions in contemporary Japan. Loanwords and Japanese Identity: Inundating or Absorbed? explores the relationship between language and identity through an examination of public attitudes towards lexical borrowing in the Japanese language.

Previous Events

“Chromosome Function and Maintenance – Propagating Life” (Prof. Camilla BJÖRKEGREN)


Friday, 10 March 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

Prof. Björkegren’s research focuses on the helical nature of DNA. The lecture will give a background to this analysis, presenting the structure and function of chromosomal DNA and how these features influence cellular growth. This will set the stage for a final discussion on how and if the organization of the hereditary material into a double stranded helix shapes the identity and development of our cells.

Exploring the Changing Perceptions of Masculinity in Asia and Beyond through the Lens of Sociolinguistics (ft. Dr. HIRAMOTO Mie)


Wednesday, 1 March 2023, 15:00-16:00

In this presentation, Dr. HIRAMOTO Mie explores the changing ideas of masculinity in Asia and beyond through the lens of sociolinguistics. She focuses on the relationships between sociocultural stereotypes and masculinity ideologies, as well as the ways in which genre, style, and medium shape our understanding of these concepts. Drawing mainly on Agha’s works, the theoretical concepts of mediatization and enregisterment, as well as figures of personhood, will be employed in the analysis of three case studies.

Mary Wollstonecraft: An English Woman Observing and Writing the History of the French Revolution (Prof. Pierre SERNA)


Monday, 27 February 2023, 4:00-5:30 pm

The general public is more familiar with Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary Shelley, who imagined Frankenstein as a monstrous metaphor of modernity. Historians are also aware that Mary Wollstonecraft died giving birth to Mary Shelley.
However, among scholars, the two texts of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Men as a response to Edmund Burke and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, are of foremost importance. In this lecture, Prof. Serna will introduce another less-known and long-depreciated text titled An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution; and the Effect it Has Produced in Europe. He intends to show that it is one of the first great histories of the French Revolution, proposing a new narrative and a new historiographic epistemology.

Affective (Kansei) Robotics in Japan: Designing and Programming Gender and Emotions in Humanoid Robots (ft. Prof. Jennifer ROBERTSON)


Monday, 20 February 2023, 4:00-5:30 PM

A number of humanoid robots in Japan have been supplied with gender and emotions, qualities that are stereotyped and greatly simplified in order to create algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI), which is comprised of numerous algorithms, is useful for tasks that rely on pattern recognition, but AI can also perpetuate and reproduce the everyday social biases of their human designers. In this presentation, Prof. Jennifer Robertson discusses these robots and the implications that their design has for other industries, including surveillance.

Life Support: Youth, Life and Viability in Rural North India (Lecture and film screening)


Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 4:00-5:30pm

Professor Craig Jeffrey and Associate Professor Jane Dyson will show how young people in rural Uttarakhand, north India, attempt to make viable lives as they respond to environmental and socio-economic crises and engage in everyday social action. They will also screen Professor Dyson’s documentary film Spirit, which explores related themes.