An interdisciplinary discussion of the disasters in Japan

April 08, 2011

Five University and community organizations are joining together to sponsor a presentation that will focus on the problems and impacts of the recent events in Japan. "Disasters in Japan: A Community Discussion" will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 11 at Greg Sutliff Auditorium in the Lewis Katz Building on Penn State's University Park campus. A reception with refreshments and the opportunity to make donations to relief efforts in Japan opens the event at 6:30 p.m. Donations will be sent to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.

The discussion will look at the disasters in Japan with presenters from a variety of perspectives.

-- Charles Ammon, professor of geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, is an expert on earthquakes and tsunamis in Asia and Africa. His research involves using seismograms to better image earthquakes and improving earthquake location in remote regions.

-- Arthur Motta, chair of the nuclear engineering program and professor of nuclear engineering and materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering, has research expertise in the behavior of nuclear reactor materials under irradiation.

-- Gregory Smits, associate professor history (Japanese history) in the College of the Liberal Arts, studies the impact of earthquakes on Japanese culture and has recently completed a book manuscript titled "Unprecedented Shaking:  Earthquake Culture in Early Modern Japan and Beyond."

-- Yumiko Watanabe, research associate in the Penn State Astrobiology Research Center and Department of Geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, was on the ground in Sendai during the disaster.

-- John Kelmelis, professor in the School of International Affairs, will serve as moderator for the discussion. Kelmelis served the U.S. government for many years as an adivser on science and technology policy issues and is an expert in disaster recovery.

The five units sponsoring this event include the Center for Global Studies, Global Connections, Japanese Friendship Association, School of International Affairs and the University Office of Global Programs.

For more information, contact Janet Murphy at, or Nori Miyokawa at, both in the University Office of Global Programs.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015