Japan's energy sector Leadership Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

Ludwig Boltzmann – Energy, Entropy, Leadership by Gerhard Fasol (6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium)

Ludwig Boltzmann as leader

(Gerhard Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology Japan KK. Served as Associate Professor of Tokyo University, Lecturer at Cambridge University, and Manger of Hitachi Cambridge R&D Lab.)

Keynote presented at the 6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium on February 20, 2014 at the Embassy of Austria in Tokyo.

Ludwig Boltzmann, the scientist

Ludwig Boltzmann’s greatest contribution to science is that he linked the macroscopic definition of Entropy which came from optimizing steam engines at the source of the first industrial revolution to the microscopic motion of atoms or molecules in gases, this achievement is summarized by the equation S = k log W, linking entropy S with the probability W. k is the Boltzmann constant, one of the most important constants in nature, linked directly to temperature in the SI system of physical units. This monumental work is maybe Boltzmann’s most important creation but by far not the only one. He discovered many laws, and created many mathematical tools, for example Boltzmann’s Equations, which are used today as tools for numerical simulations of gas flow for the construction of jet engines, airplanes, automobiles, in semiconductor physics, information technology and many other areas. Although independently discovered, Shannon’s theory of noise in communication networks, and Shannon’s entropy in IT is also directly related to Boltzmann’s entropy work.

Ludwig Boltzmann, the leader

Ludwig Boltzmann was not only a monumental scientist, but also an exceptional leader, teacher, educator and promoter of exceptional talent, and he promoted many women.

One of the women Ludwig Boltzmann promoted was Henriette von Aigentler, who was refused permission to unofficially audit lectures at Graz University. Ludwig Boltzmann advised and helped her to appeal this decision, in 1874, Henriette von Aigentler passed her exams as a high-school teacher, and on July 17, 1876, Ludwig Boltzmann married Henriette von Aigentler, my great-grand mother.

Another woman Ludwig Boltzmann promoted was his student Lise Meitner (Nov 1878 – Oct 27, 1968), who later was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, work for which Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. Lise Meitner was also the second woman to earn a Doctorate degree in Physics from the University of Vienna. Element 109, Meitnerium, is named after Lise Meitner.

Nagaoka Hantaro, First President of the University of Osaka – Ludwig Boltzmann’s pupil

The first President of Osaka University (1931-1934), Nagaoka Hantaro (1865 – 1950) was Ludwig Boltzmann’s pupil around 1892 – 1893 at Muenchen University.

Ludwig Boltzmann, a leader of science

Ludwig Boltzmann was connected in intense discussions with all major scientists of his time, he travelled extensively including three trips to the USA in 1899, 1904 and 1905, about which he wrote the article “Die Reise eines deutschen Professors ins El Dorado”, published in the book “Populäre Schriften”.

Ludwig Boltzmann published his first scientific publication at the age of 21 years in 1865. He was appointed Full Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Graz in 1869 at the age of 25 years, later in 1887-1888 he was Rektor (President) of the University of Graz at the age of 43 years.

He spent periods of his professional work in Vienna, at Graz University (1869-1873 and 1876-1890), at Muenchen University (1890-1894). When working at Muenchen University, he discovered that neither he nor his family would not receive any pension from his employment at Muenchen University after an eventual retirement or in case he dies before retirement, and therefore decided to return to Vienna University in 1894, where he and his family were assured of an appropriate pension. During 1900-1902 he spent two years working in Leipzig, where he cooperated with the Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald.

Ludwig Boltzmann did not shy away from forceful arguments to argue for his thoughts and conclusions, even if his conclusions were opposite to the views of established colleagues, or when he felt that philosophers intruded into the field of physics, i.e. used methods of philosophy to attempt solving questions which needed to be solved with physics measurements, e.g. to determine whether our space is curved or not. Later in his life he was therefore also appointed to a parallel Chair in Philosophy of Science, and Ludwig Boltzmann’s work in Philosophy of Science is also very fundamentally important.

I discovered the unpublished manuscripts of Boltzmann’s lectures on the Philosophy of Science, stimulated and encouraged by myself, and with painstaking work my mother transcribed these and other unpublished manuscripts, and prepared them for publication, to make these works finally accessible to the world, many years after Ludwig Boltzmann’s death.

Ludwig Boltzmann was a down to earth man. He rejected the offer of Nobility by His Majesty, The Emperor of Austria, i.e. the privilege to be named Ludwig von Boltzmann (or a higher title) instead of commoner Ludwig Boltzmann. Ludwig Boltzmann said: “if our common name was good enough for my parents and ancestors, it will be good enough for my children and grand children…”

Summary: understanding Ludwig Boltzmann.

Boltzmann’s thoughts and ideas are a big part of our understanding of the world and the universe.

His mathematical tools are used every day by today’s engineers, bankers, IT people, physicists, chemists… and even may contribute to solve the world’s energy problems.

Ludwig Boltzmann stood up for his ideas and conclusions and did not give in to authority. He rejected authority for authority’s sake, and strongly pushed his convictions forward.

What can we learn from Ludwig Boltzmann?

  • empower young people, recognize and support talent early.
  • exceptional talent is not linear but exponential.
  • move around the world. Connect. Interact.
  • empower women.
  • don’t accept authority for authority’s sake.
  • science/physics/nature need to be treated with the methods of physics/science.
  • no dogmas.
  • support entrepreneurs, Ludwig Boltzmann did.
Gerhard Fasol
Gerhard Fasol

Copyright·©2014 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

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VCSEL – Vertical cavity surface emitting lasers by their inventor, Kenichi Iga (6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium)

VCSEL inventor Kenichi Iga: hv vs kT – Optoelectronics and Energy

(Former President and Emeritus Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology. Inventor of VCSEL (vertical cavity surface emitting lasers), widely used in photonics systems)

Keynote presented at the 6th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium on February 20, 2014 at the Embassy of Austria in Tokyo.

VCSEL: how Kenichi Iga invented Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers

My invention of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL) dates back to March 22, 1977. Today VCSEL devices are used in many applications all over the world. I was awarded the 2013 Franklin Institute Award, the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science, “for the conception and development of the vertical cavity surface emitting laser and its multiple applications in optoelectronics“. Benjamin Franklin’s work is linked to mine: Benjamin Franklin in 1752 discovered that thunder originates from electricity – he linked electronics (electricity) with photons (light). After 1960 the era of lasers began, we learnt how to combine and control electrons and photons, and the era of optoelectronics.

If you read Japanese, you may be interested to read an interview with Genichi Hatakoshi and myself, intitled “The treasure micro box of optoelectronics” which was recently published in the Japanese journal OplusE Magazine by Adcom-Media.

Electrons and photons

Who are electrons? Electrons are just like a cloud expressed by Schroedinger’s equation, which Schroedinger postulated in 1926. Electrons can also be seen as randomly moving particles, described by the particle version of Schroedinger’s equation (1931).

Where does light come from? Light is generated by the accelerated motion of charged particles.

Electrons also show interference patterns. For example, if we combine the 1s and 2p orbitals around a nucleus, we observe interference.

In a semiconductor, electrons are characterized by a band structure, filled valence bands and largely empty conduction bands. The population of hole states in the valence bands and of electrons in the conduction bands are determined by the Fermi-Dirac distribution. In typical III-V semiconductors, generation and absorption of light is by transitions between 4s anti-bonding orbitals (the bottom of the conduction band) and 4p bonding orbitals (the top of the valence band).

In Japan, we are good at inventing new types of vertical structures:

  • in 607, the Horyuji 5-Jyu-no Toh (5 story tower) was built in Nara, and today we have progressed to building the 634 meter high Tokyo Sky Tree Tower.
  • in 1893, Kubota Co. Ltd. developed the vertical molding of water pipes
  • in 1977 Shunichi Iwawaki invented vertical magnetic memory
  • in 1977 Tatsuo Izawa developed VAD (vapor-phase axial deposition) of silica fibers
  • in 1977 Kenichi Iga invented vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL)

Communications and optical signal transmission

History of communications spans from 10,000 years BC with the invention of language, and 3000 BC with the invention of written characters and papyrus, to the invention of the internet in 1957, the realization of the laser in 1960, the realization of optical fiber communications in 1984, and now since 2008 we see Web 2.x and Cloud.

Optical telegraphy goes back to 200 BC, when optical beacons were used in China: digital signals using multi-color smoke. Around 600 AD we had optical beacons in China, Korea and Japan, and in 1200 BC also in Mongolia and India.
In the 18th and 19th century, optical semaphores were used in France.

In the 20th century, optical beam transmission using optical rods and optical fiber transmissions were developed, which combined with the development of lasers created today’s laser communications. Yasuharu Suematsu and his student showed the world’s first demonstration of optical fiber communications demonstration on May 26, 1963 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, using a He-Ne laser, an electro-optic crystal for modulation of the laser light by the electrical signal from a microphone, and optical bundle fiber, and a photo-tube at the other end of the optical fiber bundle to revert the optical signals back into electrical signals and finally to drive a loud speaker. For his pioneering work, Yasuharu Suematsu was awarded the International Japan Prize in 2014.

VCSEL: I recorded my initial idea for the surface emitting laser on March 22, 1977 in my lab book.

Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) have many advantages:

  1. ultra-low power consumption: small volume
  2. pure spectrum operation: short cavity
  3. continuous spectrum tuning: single resonance
  4. high speed modulation: wide response range
  5. easy coupling to optical fibers: circular mode
  6. monolithic fabrication like LSI
  7. wafer level probe testing
  8. 2-dimensional array
  9. vertical stack integration with micro-machine
  10. physically small

VCSEL have found applications in many fields, including: data communications, sensing, printing, interconnects, displays.

As an example, the Tsubame-2 supercomputer, which in November 2011 was 5th of top-500 supercomputers, and on June 2, 2011 was greenest computer of Green500, uses 3500 optical fiber interconnects with a length of 100km. In 2012: Too500/Green500/Graph500

IBM Sequoia uses 330,000 VCSELs.

Fuji Xerox introduced the first demonstration of 2 dimensional 4×8 VCSEL printer array for high speed and ultra-fine resolution laser printing: 14 pages/minute and 2400 dots/inch.

VCSEL: Some recent news:

The laser market is estimated to be US$ 11 billion by 2017.
VCSELs move to optical interconnects.
By 2019 the optical interconnect market is estimated to reach US$ 5.2 billion.

VCSEL: In summary

VCSEL photonics started from minor reputation and generated big innovation. VCSELs feature:

  • low power consumption: good for green ICE
  • high speed modulation beyond 20 GBits/second
  • 2D array
  • good productivity due to monolithic process

Future: will generate ideas never thought before.

VCSEL em. President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Kenichi Iga, inventor of VCSEL
em. President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Kenichi Iga, inventor of VCSEL
VCSEL Gerhard Fasol (left), em. President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Kenichi Iga (right)
Gerhard Fasol (left), em. President of Tokyo Institute of Technology, Professor Kenichi Iga (right)

Copyright (c) 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Ludwig Boltzmann Symposia

Energy – 5th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium, Tokyo, Feb 20, 2013


5th Ludwig Boltzmann Symposium – speakers: Robert Geller, Gerhard Fasol, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Shuji Nakamura

Wednesday, 20th February 2013, Embassy of Austria, Tokyo

  • 14:00 Welcome by Dr. Bernhard Zimburg, Ambassador of Austria to Japan
  • 14:10 Gerhard Fasol, "today’s agenda"
  • 14:20 – 14:40 Robert Geller
    Professor of Geophysics University of Tokyo, seismologist. First ever tenured non-Japanese faculty member at the University of Tokyo
    "A seismologist looks at nuclear power plant safety issues"
  • 14:40 – 15:20 Gerhard Fasol
    Physicist. CEO of Eurotechnology Japan KK, served as Assoc Professor at Tokyo University and Lecturer at Cambridge University and Manager of Hitachi Cambridge R&D lab
    "Ludwig Boltzmann – the disrespectful revolutionary"
  • 15:40 – 16:20 Kiyoshi Kurokawa
    Academic Fellow of GRIPS and former Chairman of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission by National Diet of Japan
    "Creativity, Crazy Ones and Power of Pull"
  • 16:40 – 17:20 Shuji Nakamura
    Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara. Inventor of GaN LEDs and lasers, which are the basis for the global LED lighting revolution.
    "The global lighting revolution and the changes I want for Japan"
  • 17:20 – 17:30 Gerhard Fasol "Summary"
  • Followed by reception (private, invitation only)

Registration: latest 10 February 2013 (by invitation only)

Further information:

Peter Storer, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Austria


Robert Geller: "A seismologist looks at nuclear power plant safety issues"

Robert Geller gave an overview of large scale earthquakes and tsunamis in different regions of earth, and in history, and explained that large "Tohoku-2011" scale earth quakes and tsunamis do have a finite probability of striking Japan, and need to be taken in to account in the construction of structures such as nuclear power plants. Robert Geller in particular explained and emphasized the risks on the northern coast of Japan, facing the Sea of Japan.

Gerhard Fasol: "Ludwig Boltzmann – the disrespectful revolutionary"

Gerhard Fasol reviewed Ludwig Boltzmann’s life and work, and particular Boltzmann’s efforts to promote open discussion and to destroy dogmatic views, most importantly the rejection of atoms by Oswald’s school of "energetics" and Mach. Ludwig Boltzmann’s work is fundamental in many areas of today’s physics, technology, IT, energy and in many other fields. As a demonstration of Ludwig Boltzmann’s work linking the macrosopic face of Entropy with the statistical properties of atoms and molecules, Gerhard Fasol explained today’s state of development of electrical power production from the entry of mixing of water with different concentrations of salts, from salinity gradients. "Osmotic powerplants", which are directly based on Boltzmann’s work on the Entropy of mixing, have the potential to be developed into a very important contribution to our future renewable energy mix, although much research still remains to be done, especially in the area of semipermeable membranes.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa: "Creativity, Crazy Ones and Power of Pull – Uncertain Times: Changing Principles"

Kiyoshi Kurokawa laid out the rapid and dramatic changes we are currently facing in our world: the development of the global information revolution, revolutions towards democracy in the arab world, the Sept-11 terror attacks, and the triple disaster in Tohoku in March 2011. As short summary of the information revolution, linked with other major developments of global impact:

web 1.0: 1991-2000 – end of cold war, world wide web, globalization and financial crises: 1990, 1992, 1997

web 2.0: 2001-2010 – 9.11, digital age, wireless, touch panel, growth of emerging economies, BRICs, global financial crisis 2007, and President Barak Obama

web 3.0: 2011- – Arab Spring, and March-11 Tohoku disaster

Paradigm shift of The Principles (Joi Ito, MIT Media Lab, and Kiyoshi Kurokawa, GRIPS):

The principles 1:
RESILIENCE instead of strength
RISK instead of safety
SYTEMS instead of objects

The principles 2:
COMPASSES instead of maps
PULL instead of push
PRACTICE instead of theory

The principles 3:
DISOBEDIENCE instead of compliance
CROWDS instead of experts
LEARNING instead of education

For his work as former Chairman of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission by National Diet of Japan, Kiyoshi Kurokawa was recently awarded the "Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award" by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Kiyoshi Kurokawa paid particular attention for the deliberations and fact finding by the Independent Investigation Commission was open and transparent, and published globally in Japanese and in English in many different forms. The report itself can be downloaded here:

Kiyoshi Kurokawa emphasised the contribution of "Regulatory Capture" to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Important work on "Regulatory Capture" was done by US economist George Stigler, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982. Kiyoshi Kurokawa emphasized that Regulatory Capture is not specific to Japan, there are many examples throughout the world.

Shuji Nakamura: "The global lighting revolution and the changes I want for Japan"

Shuji Nakamura briefly outlined his inventions of a long series of GaN based devices, GaN LEDs and lasers, which are the basis for the global lighting revolution, and for bluray storage technology. Shuji Nakamura gave us a passionate personal view of his work as a researcher, how he created and experienced the breakthroughs, and some consequences on his personal life. Shuji Nakamura explained how he was accused in a US court by his former employer, and how as a consequence in order to defend himself and his family, he saw himself forced to countersue his former employer in Japanese courts. Shuji Nakamura compared his situation as a researcher in Japan, and now in Santa Barbara, and made some suggestions for change for the position of researchers.


Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved