The Rigakubu News

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Greetings from the Dean of the Graduate School and the Faculty

On the Occasion of the Retirement of the Dean of Graduate School and Faculty
Reflections on Three Years of the Corona Disaster

Dean, Graduate School and Faculty of Science

Masahiro Hoshino

(Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Science)

I became Dean of Graduate School and Dean of Faculty in April 2020, but my three-year term began and will end with the coronal disaster (and I sincerely hope that this time it will end). Looking back, in April when I took office, following the government's declaration of a state of emergency for new coronavirus infection, the level of activity restrictions at The University of Tokyo was raised, all lectures and meetings were put online, and I began my work as Graduate School School Dean at the oddly quiet Hongo campus. My research theme is the elucidation of plasma heating and energetic particle acceleration in space, and one of the phenomena that is the subject of my research is the solar corona. One of the phenomena under study is the solar corona, a phenomenon in which the solar surface (photosphere) shines at a temperature of about 6,000 degrees Celsius and the corona outside it is several million degrees Celsius hotter than the photosphere. I remember sighing in the Graduate School Dean's office early in my tenure, wondering why I was bothered by the corona of the same name. It has been an unusual three years, but I am sincerely grateful for the cooperation and support of the Executive Committee, the Professors of the Planning Office, the Administrative Staff, and all the Members who have made it possible for me to get through it.

Among the many Faculties, Graduate Schools of Science, and Institutes of The University of Tokyo, I think it is fair to say that the Graduate School of Science has been active not only in research, but also in advanced education and organizational reforms, and I have tried to continue this trend. For example, with regard to internationalization, the Department of Science has been enhancing its international educational environment by accepting students from overseas, dispatching domestic students abroad, and providing visiting foreign faculty members. In order to establish a new global standard in science education, we have decided to hire several foreign faculty members at the same time. This is a small step toward the realization of a world-class global educational environment, but we hope that the internationalization of our faculty will continue in the future, and that a truly global campus will become a reality. In addition, the construction of new buildings for the aging Faculty of Science Building No. 2 and No. 3 and the promotion of life science research throughout the university are now firmly positioned in the future plan of The University of Tokyo as a whole, thanks to the efforts of the professors of the Department of Biology. I am very happy to have been able to assist in these efforts that will lead to the next generation.

The big news during my tenure was that Dr. Yoshiro Manabe, a graduate of the Department of Physics (now Department of Earth and Planetary Science), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in the fall of 2021. I believe that many people have renewed their interest in global warming and its mechanisms. In addition, Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and the Graduate School of Science was able to accept 11 students and researchers as support for Ukraine, especially with the cooperation of professors from the Department of Information Science and the Department of Mathematics. I also collaborated with researchers from Ukraine and Russia. Unlike the world of research, where there are no national borders, I was keenly aware of the difficulty of global international cooperation from news reports and other media. Although my activities were severely restricted during those three years due to the Corona disaster, I think that many things happened during those three years.

Finally, because of my position, I had the opportunity to meet, talk, and discuss with many people not only from the Graduate School of Science but also from other Graduate Schools, and I was able to learn new perspectives and ways of thinking. I hope to make the most of this experience and be of service in some way. I hope that the Graduate School of Science and the Faculty of Science will continue to develop further, building on the good traditions of the past.

Published in Faculty of Science News, March 2022