ARC-HU Column vol.1

 HU Heads for the Arctic

SAITOH, Sei-Ichi, Director of ARC-HU

The pioneering Arctic research in Hokkaido University is on the glaciological ice cap in Greenland (1957-1960), conducted by Prof. Ukichiro Nakaya, who is credited for inventing the first artificial snowflakes. He also directed the oceanographic observations at Fletcher’s Ice Island in the Arctic Ocean conducted by Kusunoki, Higuchi and Muguruma. Kusunoki, along with five researchers in Hokkaido University, participated in the drift observation at an ice camp called ARLIS2, which was organized by the USA. Although this history reminds us of our early launching of the Arctic research, it was put off due to the heightened interest toward the Antarctic research. However, today we have quite a few multi-disciplinary researchers studying the Arctic, living up to Prof. Nakaya’s legacy. His study into the artificial snowflakes led to the foundation of Institute of Low Temperature Science, and his Arctic research is about to be handed over to us, Arctic Research Center. Hokkaido University is the northernmost university in Japan, therefore it is quite natural for us to “head for the north”. As a flagship center for the Arctic studies at Hokkaido University, we will push forward on advancing the Arctic Research and developing this center.