"The RTRI Techno Forum '98" was held for two days, on September 3 and 4 , 1998, under the theme of "Frontier and Fundamental Technologies and Their Prospects in Railway Engineering". This event was opened to give wider publicity on the results of research and development attained by RTRI to those concerned in railway industries including the member companies of Japan Railways Group, private railways,and so forth. Altogether 1,057 persons visited the RTRI on these two days, and participated positively in observing exhibitions prepared according to the above theme and experimental facilities unveiled, and attending lecture meetings. Further, a special lecture titled "The Status Quo of Science and Technology and a Study of Materials in Japan" was delivered by Professor Kishi, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo on the second day of the Forum.
Exhibitions for the Theme of the Forum
Eighty-one exhibits were displayed under 11 divisions, i.e. frontier and fundamental technologies, magnetically levitated (Maglev) railway, maintenance, safety and disaster prevention, efficiency improvement and power saving, speedup of train, urban transportation, information - oriented system, ecology, railway technology promotion center, and the products developed by RTRI. Particularly, some results of technical developments were publicized as noteworthy inventions. For instance, those inventions include the following.
1)Practicability of superconducting bulk magnet utilizing an oxided substance for superconductor and actuated at the temperature of liquid nitrogen and a trial of introducing the genes of PCB breakdown enzymes originated in microbes into plants aiming at purification of soil contaminated by PCB in the division of frontier and fundamental technologies.
2)Direct drive type traction motors are integrated with wheels with their driving force transmitted directly to the wheels of commuter train without a through- power transmission system, and the brake control system through which braking of the commuter train is controlled throughout from the initial application of brake to a stop only by electric brake for the purpose of simplification and weight reduction of the system in the division of urban transportation, etc.
The Special Lecture
A significant lecture based on definite examples was given on the real ability of Japanese science and technology as viewed from an international scale, technologies expected to develop in the forthcoming 21st century, importance of future merging among fields ,territories of frontier technologies and so on.