In the modern world, we are facing various challenges that we have never experienced before, and hence we cannot readily foresee the future course of the world even for the next decade. Under such circumstances, what counts is the strength and courage to organize the challenges logically, to understand their essence, and to overcome them. A good example of such fortitudes of mind is found in physics. Both from the perspective of experiments and theory, physicists have been elucidating the essence of natural phenomena, which at first glance look very complex, and have been building universal laws and concepts to explain them. The strong principles thus formed have been applied to astronomy, chemistry, biology, Earth and planetary science, and also to a variety of areas including technology, informatics, and economics, as their fundamental base. The ability to rationalize things and processes based on their origin is strongly required not only within academic communities but also across the broad spectra of modern society. In this sense, physics has been providing much of society with fundamental knowledge and advanced human resources in this technological era.
Since the late 19th century, physics has been rapidly developing through its thorough exploration of the origins of space and time as well as the origins of matter, and has been supporting the tremendous social developments in culture, technology, and industry to name but a few. In the 21st century, physics has elucidated the origin of mass, and is further approaching an understanding of dark matter and dark energy. Meanwhile, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics has been playing important roles in understandings diverse systems consisting of various materials on various scales, on which rich fields such as solid-state physics, non-equilibrium physics, biophysics, and quantum informatics have flourished. Moreover, photon science based on state-of-the-art laser technologies has realized a super-precise atomic clock, and has enabled us to detect gravitational waves, which had been a long-outstanding problem raised by Albert Einstein. Above all, physics is still growing rapidly, and is tackling newly emerging issues. The outcomes will be the driving force behind future developments for society.
In our physics department, about 40 faculty members, all of whom are front-runners in their field of physics in the world, are conducting research and providing education covering a wide area of physics. I encourage undergraduate students during their course work to take advantage of this ideal educational environment to develop strong skills and abilities in their chosen area of science. In the course of learning the well-established physics, you will encounter a horizon of knowledge. Noting this horizon is an inherent goal of undergraduate study. In graduate courses, it is this horizon of our current knowledge that you will try to go beyond.
Our graduate courses involve many faculty members, not only from the physics department but from other research institutes and departments, including the Institute for Solid State Physics, the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. In this course, I also encourage all graduate students to continue developing their skills by setting and solving new problems by themselves. I believe that such experiences will stand them in good stead in their future carriers.
Research and education within the physics department are mostly supported by government funding and tuition. We are doing our best to use this support effectively and efficiently, and if need be, we must not hesitate to reform. Nevertheless, physics is growing rapidly, and we have to continue to ask for support from society to take the initiative in each field of science and to grow the next generation of researchers and educators. Finally, I would sincerely like to ask your kind understanding and further support of our activities and initiatives. They represent the real potential in pioneering the future.