A Message from the Dean

Prof. Hiroo Fukuda, Dean of the School of Science

After graduating from the School of Science and working at several other universities, I returned here as a faculty member about 20 years ago. I am honored and humbled to have been given the opportunity to head the School of Science, the oldest academic unit in this field in Japan. Our School has produced numerous outstanding researchers and continues to do so. I will devote my best efforts to the further development of the School, building upon the efforts of my illustrious predecessors.

Science studies the nature of the entire universe, and is one of the greatest cultural achievements of humankind. It not only informs us of the profundity of nature, but also gives us a glimpse into people’s long and tireless efforts towards discovery. Natural science has made huge strides since the 19th century, and the School of Science, which was established in 1877, has made many fundamental contributions. One recent example is the pioneering contribution to astrophysics—the detection of cosmic neutrinos—by Prof. Masatoshi Koshiba, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize. However, many mysteries of nature remain unsolved, and our School’s researchers and students are doing their best to further advance the frontiers of scientific knowledge. These efforts are the core mission of our School, and I will do everything I can to support this work.

We must be aware that society’s trust in science and technology has wavered as the result of events such as the nuclear plant accident in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Instances of research misconduct such as the “STAP cell” scandal have shaken society’s belief that “the value of science rests on its sincere pursuit of truth,” which is the raison d'être of science. We, as a specialist group of scientists, have an obligation to properly respond to these doubts. From time to time there are moments in our continuing endeavors to learn nature’s principles when nature allows us to witness a secret so far unknown to anyone else. If we are motivated by the pure pleasure of such Eureka moments, things like falsification of data cannot happen. Nevertheless, we must be sensitive and responsive in our relations with society, and should unhesitatingly make our specialized knowledge and educational facilities available. Only through such proactive collaboration with society and sincerity in our research can we hope to recover society’s trust.

Science is global, and cooperation with researchers overseas and fostering the internationalization of our students and faculty is indispensable. The School of Science has collaborative research partnerships throughout the world. The University of Tokyo Research Internship Program (UTRIP) invites talented undergraduate students from abroad, while we send our undergraduate students to overseas universities under the Study and Visit Abroad Program (SVAP). In addition, we have launched the Global Science Course, which is a new undergraduate transfer program with the aim of creating a global hub of education in the fundamental sciences to groom young talents world-wide. We will continue our efforts working with researchers all over the world to engage in scientific research and education as well as collaborating with society for the peaceful development of Japan and the world.

We hope that you will join us in these efforts.