Tag Archives: PEAK

Human Population Dynamics Lectures & Workshops by Guest Lecturer Prof. Joel E. Cohen from Rockefeller University (October 2014)

Hello everyone,

In October 2014, we had the immense pleasure of welcoming Prof. Joel E. Cohen as a guest lecturer at the College/Graduate School of Arts Sciences of the University of Tokyo, Komaba where he gave a series of lectures and workshops.

Prof. Cohen is currently a researcher and professor at the Rockefeller University located in New York in which he heads the Laboratory of Populations. He holds a simultaneous professorship at Columbia University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  Please have a look at his personal websites:



During his series of lectures, he introduced the GPES/GPEAK/PEAK students to Human Population Dynamics, a research field that tries to “to understand how demographic, economic and cultural changes will interact with Earth’s physical, chemical and biological environments” (quote from official Rockefeller website). He outlined the general history and principles of human population growth and how recent developments affect the world’s natural resources.

Several mathematical models on how to predict human population were highlighted and the how certain factors can influence the outcome of predictions.

Problems of access to food and water for the majority of world population were discussed and whether or not the world will reach a certain population limit at which it is not possible anymore to sustain additional human life on this planet.

Finally the workshop assignments confronted students with the correlation between human population growth and worldwide energy consumption, as energy demand tends to increase when societies’ development level increases. Development is usually accompanied with rising industrialization and urbanization, which again puts even additional pressure on natural resources. Therefore the social impact of unmanaged population growth can have large impact on a country’s capacity to raise its general development level.

 Solutions include active natural resource management as human population growth naturally stabilizes as societies reach a critical tipping point of human development.

This was a overall a great set of lectures and workshops, and benefited from motivated students who showed a very high degree of interest and curiosity in the subject matter.

We as GPES Student Group want to extend our thanks to Prof. Cohen for his great introduction into a very complex research field as well as GPES for organizing these lectures and workshops.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group


(Pitcures ©2014 GPES Student Group & GPES)


GPES/PEAK – Fukushima Investigation Committee Chairman Meeting with Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Oct. 10, 2014)


Hello everyone,

On October 10, 2014, GPES and PEAK students of the University of Tokyo had the pleasure to welcome and meet Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa (see picture above, 4th from the left in white shirt), who is Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and is Science Advisor to the Cabinet of Japan. (Please see: http://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/kurokawa/en/ & http://en.ir3s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/faculty/kurokawa/)

He chaired the “Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Company” that was set up by the National Diet of Japan in the aftermath of said nuclear disaster in order to assess whether or not this incident could have been prevented and evaluate the level of human error. This committee produced the final report in July 2012 (http://naiic.go.jp/en/).

We had great talks with him on energy policies in general and nuclear power in Japan, and how the current government is dealing with the current almost absolute dependence on energy imports due to the complete temporary shutdown of all of the country’s nuclear power reactors.

I hope we can have interesting discussions in the future again as he is one of the very public figures and national researchers that is openly criticizing the various Japanese governments (past and present) that enabled a relatively smooth operation of nuclear power stations without any significant stifling regulation such as strict safety standards or frequent security assessments.

So please check his work and his personal profile.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group

(Pictures ©2014 GPES Student Group)