From King James’s Telescope to the Present and the Future – Symposium and Celebration of Departure of Japan400 Telescope for Japan « Japan 400

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From King James’s Telescope to the Present and the Future – Symposium and Celebration of Departure of Japan400 Telescope for Japan

17 January 2014


On 17th January Japan400 and the University of Cambridge will mark a key anniversary with a unique seminar at Jesus College, Cambridge, one of the university’s most ancient colleges.

Professor Lynn Gladden FRS, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Ian White FREng, Master of Jesus, and Lord Rees FRS, Astronomer Royal are among the distinguished speakers, celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Japan-British Scientific Relations.

The focus of the seminar is on Japan-British Partnership in Scientific Instruments and Global Science and Technology, since it is just over 400 years since King James inaugurated official relations between Britain and Japan by presenting a telescope to the ruler of Japan. At that time a telescope was the most advanced scientific instrument of its day, having only been invented five years earlier. The telescope sent via the East India Company ship The Clove was the first ever sent to Asia and provoked enormous interest on its arrival. That telescope has since been lost, but a replacement telescope is being sent to Japan this month by Japan400 as a permanent gift to the Japanese people and a symbol of the mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries in science and technology.

As Cambridge University and its Science Park play a central part in the scientific partnership, Toshiba Research Europe Limited and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation have sponsored a seminar from 14.00 to 18.30 in the Upper Hall of Jesus College on “From King James’s Telescope to the Present and Future-Japan-British Partnership in Scientific Instruments and Global Science & Technology”. The Seminar will be chaired by Professor Timon Screech and Nicolas Maclean CMG, Co-Chairmen of Japan400, as well as by Professor Roberto Cipolla FREng, Professor of Information Engineering and Director of Toshiba’s Cambridge Research Laboratory.

It will start with Professor Eileen Reeves from Princeton University in the USA, the world’s leading expert of early telescopes, and finish with Professor Paul Alexander, of Jesus College and the Department of Astrophysics, speaking on cooperation with Japan in the most advanced Radio-Telescopes. In between, Sir Peter Williams, former Chairman of Oxford Instruments, will speak about Present and Recent Exchanges and Lord Rees about Priorities for Future Exchanges. Professor Fumiya Iida from ETH, Zurich, will provide some current case studies of cooperative projects in robotics and optics and Professor David Cope of Clare Hall, former Director of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, (POST), will provide case studies in broader fields of science, including geophysics and oceanography.

The presentation telescope, constructed by Ian Poyser, one of Britain’s foremost craftsmen for the construction of traditional brass telescopes, will be displayed at the seminar. (The photograph illustrates a viewing by Lord Salisbury, whose ancestor was King James’s Chief Minister and organized the dispatch of the original telescope, and Akira Matsura, whose ancestor was the first Japanese feudal lord to see it in Japan and who then ensured that it was safely conveyed by the visiting British mission to Japan’s paramount ruler, Tokugawa Ieyasu.) The gift of the telescope has been generously funded by Robin Maynard MBE, Honorary Member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
SEE photos here:

READ The Return of Japan’s Lost Telescope by Sean CurtinJ400 The Return of Japan’s Lost Telescope after Four Hundred Years
For more information please see

Partners include: Toshiba Research Europe Limited, Jesus College, Cambridge, Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation



 From King James’s Telescope to the Present and Future

Japan-British Partnership in Scientific Instruments

and Global Science and Technology

17 January, 2014, Upper Hall, Jesus College, Cambridge


2.00:  Opening Remarks, Professor Timon Screech, Co-Chair, Japan400

2.05: Past Exchanges: Professor Eileen Reeves (Princeton University)

Chair: Professor Timon Screech, Co-Chair, Japan400

2.45: Present Exchanges: Sir Peter Williams (Oxford Instruments)

Chair: Nicolas Maclean CMG, Co-Chair, Japan400

3.25 Tea Break

3. 45 Future Exchanges: Lord Rees (Astronomer Royal)

Chair: Professor Roberto Cipolla (Jesus College)

4.25 Case Studies

4.30 Case study 1 Professor Fumiya Iida (ETH, Zurich)

5.00 Case study 2 Professor David Cope (Clare Hall)

5.30 Case study 3 Professor Paul Alexander (Cavendish Laboratory)

6.00 General Discussion

6.20 Closing Remarks, Professor Roberto Cipolla




17 January 2014
Event Category:


Upper Hall, Jesus College,
Cambridge, United Kingdom