A Message from the Dean

Prof. Masahiro Hoshino, Dean of the School of Science

Since humans began walking upright millions of years ago, we have been curious about the natural events that occur around us, and unraveling the mysteries behind these events has enriched our lives. Our ancestors surely looked up at the sky and asked questions about the sun shining down on the earth, about the trees and grass that were bathed in its light, and about the wide variety of living things. Perhaps their feeling of wonderment was actually just curiosity. Humans have forever observed nature and analyzed its ways, and have made consistent efforts to incorporate this understanding into their daily lives. This has led to the development of science today. "Science aims to elucidate universal truths of the natural world and discover its underlying fundamental laws and principles" (from the Charter of the School of Science, The University of Tokyo), and the practice of science has led to the prosperity of human society.

The University of Tokyo's School of Science dates back to 1877 (Meiji 10), when there were five departments (Mathematics, Physics and Astrology; Chemistry; Biology; Engineering; and Geology and Metallurgy). It now comprises 10 undergraduate departments (Mathematics, Information Science, Physics, Astronomy, Earth and Planetary Physics, Earth and Planetary Environmental Science, Chemistry, Biophysics and Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, and Bioinformatics and Systems Biology) and five graduate departments (Physics, Astronomy, Earth and Planetary Science, Chemistry, and Biological Sciences). The School of Science explores the fundamental questions of the natural world, from the micro world of elementary particles that make up matter, through atoms and molecules, cells and living things, to the Earth and our solar system, and the vast reaches of the universe. Since their establishment, both the Faculty and the Graduate School have been at the forefront of science research and education, both in Japan and internationally, and have produced many outstanding accomplishments and trained many outstanding individuals.

It is said that the School of Science lays academic foundations, while the School of Engineering and other Schools place greater importance on the applications and outputs of science and technology. Yet, it is the combination of both basic and applied sciences that makes it possible for science and technology to enrich our lives today. Modern science made rapid progress throughout the 20th century, and in recent years life has become dramatically more convenient as a result of the information revolution. However, it cannot be denied that worldwide problems, such as global warming and other environmental concerns, have arisen hand-in-hand with scientific and technological development. Now, more than ever, scientific education and research are needed to help solve the issues facing humankind.

"The accumulated wisdom and intellect of the human race is largely based on science, which has formed the foundation of modern civilization and continues to expand our understanding of nature" (from the Charter of the School of Science, The University of Tokyo). By adhering to our Charter and maintaining the tradition of excellence cultivated by the School of Science, we will continue to pursue educational and research activities that will open up pathways for the sustainable development of an advanced human society.