Prof. Ai Sekizawa to be awarded Kunio Kawagoe Gold Medal at 13th IAFSS Symposium in Waterloo

The 2020 Kunio Kawagoe Gold Medal will be presented at the 13th IAFSS Symposium in Waterloo, Canada to Professor Ai Sekizawa of the Tokyo University of Science, Japan.  The Kunio Kawagoe Gold Medal is awarded by the IAFSS as a prestigious recognition of life-long contributions to and career achievements in fire science and engineering.

For more than 40 years, Prof. Sekizawa has dedicated himself to fire science and engineering while working at both government research institutes and prestigious universities in Japan, including the Fire Research Institute (now the National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster) and as a Professor at the University of Tokyo and Tokyo University of Science. During his career he has made significant contributions in different areas of fire science, such as fire risk analysis of residential fires, urban fires following an earthquake, and evacuation. His achievements in research are not only of great importance for the promotion of fire safety science and engineering, but also of great contribution to the actual measures used to mitigate the fire risk of both residential and post-earthquake fires.

Prof. Sekizawa has also been active in the promotion of fire science and its translation to practice. He established the Japan Chapter of Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) and has made a significant contribution promoting exchange among local chapters and fire experts in Asia Oceania as a Chairman of the co-ordination group. At the Graduate School of Global Fire Science and Technology at Tokyo University of Science, he has educated many students and young fire officials from Asian countries.  He was President of the Japan Association for Fire Science and Engineering (JAFSE), the representative academic society on fire safety science in Japan (2008 and 2009). He also served on the management committee of the IAFSS from 2005 to 2017, including as Vice-Chair (2011 to 2017) and Secretary (2008 to 2011).

Prof. Sekizawa has previously been recognized with the Award of Japan Association for Fire Science and Engineering in 1992, the Peter Lund Award in 2011, the prestigious Arthur B. Guise Medal in 2014 from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). He is a Fellow of the SFPE and received the Lifetime Contribution Award at the 11th Asia-Oceania Symposium on Fire Science and Technology in 2018.

Professor Kunio Kawagoe

Professor Kunio Kawagoe pioneered the development and use of scientifically based fire analysis, developing the relationship between the compartment burning rate and the size of an opening (Rb = 5.5•Ah0.5), in a seminal paper on compartment fire modelling published in 1958. His contributions, especially on fuel-controlled compartment fires and the structural analysis of the fire induced effects in columns and beams, laid foundation to modern fire science and engineering, and underpinned the early development of performance-based fire safety design, especially in Japan. Professor Kawagoe was the Director of the Building Research Institute between 1969 and 1973, when he was appointed Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the Science University of Tokyo. His career included appointments of the Deanship of the Faculty at the Science University of Tokyo in 1980 and, in 1986, the Directorship of the Centre for Fire Science and Technology. He served as an IAFSS Vice-Chairman from its founding in 1985 until 1991. Professor Kawagoe was a role model and dedicated teacher of young fire safety engineers. He passed away in 1994. (Extracted from T Ishii, Fire Science and Technology 14, 1994, pp i-ii, and from In Memoriam, Proceedings 5th Fire Safety Symposium, 1997, p vii.)