“Future Exploration 2050” IFI Seminar – Exploring the Future of Knowledge – 3rd Seminar: Exploring the “Fundamental Laws of the World” from Buddhist Studies and Physics

  • Date:
  • Time:
    10:30-12:00 am
  • Location:
    Zoom webinar
  • Language:

    *Simultaneous interpretation available in English

  • Capacity:


  • Host:

    Institute for Future Initiatives, UTokyo

  • Cooperation:

    Nikkei BP

  • Audience:

    Open to the public

  • Registration deadline:

    Until noon on February 21
    *After your registration is complete, we’ll send you the invitation URL in the afternoon of February 21. Please note that registration will be closed when capacity is reached.

Registration is now closed for this event.

In the 21st century, where science and technology are advancing at an accelerating pace and international society is undergoing turbulent changes, we are increasingly concerned about the future. As we witness the progress of information and communication technologies and biotechnologies, and look back at the turbulence in the international society caused by the global spread of the COVID-19 disaster that began in 2020, it is obvious that simply looking to the future based on past experiences and events is insufficient.

One thing that will certainly play an increasing role in the future is knowledge. Modern society is increasingly becoming a knowledge-intensive society where new values are created through knowledge, and in order to look into the future, we need to consider the knowledge that will be produced in the future. Moreover, collaborative creation among researchers in various fields and with stakeholders in society will be important.

In this series of seminars, which will be held three times in a row, based on the book “Future Exploration 2050” (Nikkei BP) compiled by the Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI) of the University of Tokyo in March 2021, lecturers from different but potentially synergistic fields and IFI faculty members will engage in cross-disciplinary discussions to open the door to deep thinking about a complex and multilayered future.

For the third seminar, we will invite experts from the seemingly distant fields of Buddhist studies and physics to explore the roots of the discipline of “uncovering the fundamental laws of the world”.

  • 10:30-10:35

    Hiroshi Naka
    Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives, UTokyo (Economics)

  • 10:35-10:55
    Presentation 1: "Paradigm Shift in Universal Language: String, Sanskrit, and Sri Lanka"

    Norihisa Baba
    Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, UTokyo (Buddhist Studies)

  • 10:55-11:15
    Presentation 2: "How the fundamental laws of physics have been discovered"

    Hirosi Ooguri
    Director, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, UTokyo (Physics)

  • 11:15-11:35
    Panel discussion
  • 11:35-11:55
  • 11:55-12:00

– Norihisa Baba
Professor, Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, UTokyo (Buddhist Studies)

Norihisa Baba finished Ph.D. at the University of Tokyo. His research interests include the history and thought of Indian Buddhism and Theravāda Buddhism. He has published several English language articles and Japanese books including The Formation of Theravāda Buddhist Thought: From the Buddha to Buddhaghosa, and the Early Buddhism: Tracing the Buddha’s Thought. He is also recipient of several academic prizes such as the Japanese Association for South Asian Studies Prize, and the Japan Science Promotion Society Prize.

– Hirosi Ooguri
Director, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, UTokyo (Physics)

Finishing his graduate study in two years, Ooguri became a tenured faculty member at the University of Tokyo in 1986. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and was appointed an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1989. After serving as an Associate Professor at Kyoto University for four years, he returned to the United States as a Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley in 1994. He moved to Caltech in 2000, where he is the inaugural holder of the Fred Kavli Chair. At Caltech, he led the establishment of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2014 and has been its Founding Director since then.
Ooguri helped establish the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) of the University of Tokyo in Japan in 2007. After serving as its Principal Investigator for 11 years, he became the Director in 2018.
Ooguri has also been a member of the Aspen Center for Physics since 2003. He served as the President in 2016-2019 and is currently the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Center.
Ooguri has received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan, the Eisenbud Prize from the American Mathematical Society, the Simons Investigator Award, the Hamburg Prize, the Humboldt Research Award, and the Nishina Memorial Prize. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Ooguri’s popular science books have sold over a quarter million copies in Japan, and one of them was awarded the Kodansha Prize for Science Books. He also supervised a science movie, which was selected for the Best Educational Production Award from the International Planetarium Society and has been translated into six languages.


– Hiroshi Naka
Professor, Institute for Future Initiatives, UTokyo (Economics)

Hiroshi Naka is a Professor at the Policy Alternatives Research Institute (PARI), the University of Tokyo. He joined the Ministry of Finance in 1983 and retired in 2018. He served abroad for fourteen years in various capacity including Vice President and Auditor General of the World Bank from 2014 to 2018. He conducted audits of operational strategies and key operations of the World Bank Group. His expertise covers financial systems, international finance, anti-money laundering and terrorist finance, economic sanctions, social and economic development policy of developing countries such as SDGs as well as risk management and compliance issues. Graduated from University of Kyoto in1983 (LL.B). Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).