ISWI Newsletter - Vol.4 No.131
31 December 2012

Dear ISWI Participant:

I start the new year with a slightly sad note: Last year a Japanese scholar (Astronomer Prof. Masatoshi Kitamura), who contributed immensely to UNBSS (United Nations Basic Space Science) and other international activities, passed away.

Today I wish to honor the scholar and his work with two pdf attachments:

1. An obituary that recently appeared in a Japanese astronomical journal. My attachment provides both Japanese version and the original English version of the text.

2. The brief oral presentation on the scholar that was presented at last year's "UN/Ecuador Workshop on ISWI" in Quito, Ecuador. This presentation was prepared by NAOJ staff and delivered by me at the end of the morning session on the first day of this ISWI workshop.

His vital contributions to UNBSS (especially in the early years) cannot be emphasized enough because it is not enough to just talk about lofty space science efforts. You must get real education activities rolling on the ground in situ (developing countries) and also provide some degree of tangible hardware to actualize that education of young and eager minds. You cannot just wave your hands in front of them -- it does not leave any impression on them.

The attached documents shed light on Kitamura Sensei's visionary education activities in astronomy and the huge amount of astronomy-related hardware that he persuaded the Japanese Government to provide in the context of UNBSS. In turn, this hardware provided the essential momentum to keep UNBSS moving forward at a time when it had little international brand name recognition. So we owe much to him.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants."
- Letter to Robert Hooke (15 February 1676) from Sir Isaac Newton.

Happy New Year from Fukuoka, Japan,
George Maeda
Editor of ISWI Newsletter


(1) Obituary on Prof. Masatoshi Kitamura, 1926 -2012 (in Japanese and in English) 1 185KB pdf, 5 pages, (click link to document)

(2) Masatoshi Kitamura (1926-2012) and his contributions to the United Nations Activities, (was presented at "UN/Ecuador Workshop on ISWI" in Quito, Ecuador) 472KB PDF 8 pages, (click link to document)

(3) Masatoshi Kitamura Instrumental Aid by Japanese Official Development Assistance for Astronomy in Developing Countries, 907KB PDF 10 pages, (click link to document) in (2003) Seminars of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, pp.18-28

If you want to read the original newsletter, click here.