Messages from Students

Atsushi Matsuo

I decided to go to Faculty of Science aiming to learn techniques and thinking as a scientist. I had been interested particularly in chemistry from when I was in high school, so I chose Department of Chemistry for the course selection in the second grade.

There are several departments majoring in chemistry in the University of Tokyo, but I think the strongest point of Department of chemistry beyond the others is that you can investigate academically into chemistry. You will be able to get a chance to do practical researches after you proceed to society at institutes such as corporate laboratories. However, such researches have various limitations and are difficult for beginners to conduct. I think carrying out thorough basic study while deeply considering principles or mechanisms and learning knowledge or methods is an essential attainment for researchers. I guess you should do it while you are a student having enough time.

There is a trend that Department of Chemistry demands tough works among students studying in Komaba. I feel many students are also reluctant to take lectures given in English and hesitate to go to this department. In fact, I was not confident of my stamina and was anxious for some time whether I could finish the course after the course selection. Looking back now, there were certainly periods when I was so busy in laboratory experiments and experimental reports, but there was much free time even on week days it was easy to manage works and studies. As for lectures in English, you won’t be bothered when you are accustomed to listen to English by taking lectures every day. As long as we are Japanese, it is natural to easily understand lectures given in Japanese, but I believe it is a big advantage of this department that you can obtain knowledge of chemistry and knowledge of English expressions necessary in science at the same time.

Department of Chemistry is a place where you can pursue chemistry in the research environment and facility at the world’s highest level with support from excellent professors, laboratory members and contemporaries. If you want to major in chemistry but are wavering in your decision, how about coming to Department of Chemistry?

Risa Wakabayashi
(Bioorganic Chemistry M1)

Do you have anything you really like? Here in the department of chemistry, many enthusiastic students who love chemistry study together. We always stimulate and inspire each other, so you should be here; the best place to start your career in chemistry. But to be honest, what brought me here is not that kind of strong motivation but something different: I came here to find what I really like.

The department of chemistry helps you learn broadly and thoroughly. Lectures on various topics are provided in English and you can learn basic experimental techniques in student experiment class. Both the lecture and experiment class extend your knowledge and interest in chemistry. In every class, Japanese students and international students study together. We have quite a global environment, where your nationality doesn’t matter. All of the classmates help each other and exchange their ideas to have a better understanding.

Additionally, you can experience laboratory work in any specific field you choose. There are a lot of choices covering various fields in chemistry. The research might be challenging at first, but it will gradually be exciting for you. When you face difficulties, your lab members always tries to tackle the problem with you and give you advice so you can move forward. The research experience will let you have different points of view that you did not have before.

In the department of chemistry, you can find what captures your heart through varied and detailed education. You have many choices and do not have to limit your future possibilities right now. I hope you can find what really attracts you. Why don’t you join us?

Michitaka Fukumoto
(Solid State Chemistry D1)

Daily life in Department of Chemistry mainly consists of lectures in the morning, lab courses in the afternoon and break time. Despite the "chemistry" department, the contents of the lectures cover a wide range of subjects. Sometimes we learn about complex organic molecules, and at other times we study some formulae of quantum mechanics. If you get interested in some lectures, you might as well visit the library of Department of Chemistry, which is wide and new. In the lab courses afternoon, you can enjoy many kinds of experiments. The everyday lab course is one of the characteristics of Department of Chemistry, and there are many opportunities to handle various kinds of reagents and chemical reactions. As you carry out a lot of experiments, you would face some failures in the reactions, even if you just follow the procedure written in the text.

It is also fun to think about and discuss why the reaction did not proceed, the way to solve the problem and so on. At break time, every student enjoys their own time. In Department of Chemistry, softball and soccer tournaments sponsored by department are held in summer and winter. Some (occasionally many) students are practicing for them. It can be said that one of the big advantages of the Department of Chemistry is accessibility to meet a wide range of people from undergraduates to staffs by participating the recreation.

Through such everyday life, students in the department of chemistry gradually acquire the essential skills as a researcher; a broad range of knowledge, the ability to tackle problems and communication technique. All you need is just a little bit of courage and curiosity. Let's enjoy chemistry together at Department of Chemistry.

Hiroki Hanayama
("Molecular Technology Innovation” Presidential Endowed Chair D1)

I decided to go to the Department of Chemistry because there are a lot of research groups, which study cutting-edge research topics not only on classical chemistry like organic chemistry but also on multidisciplinary chemistry like biochemistry. Their research widely covers both fundamental aspect of chemistry and their application. This feature was attractive for me because I was interested in chemistry but I had not decided what I wanted to do. In addition, it was an advantage for my coming research life that I could learn chemistry from the experts of each field during my undergraduate course.

In the Department of Chemistry, students study the basis of chemistry in the third-grade, then join to a laboratory in the forth-grade and start their research life as one researcher. I am working on a cutting-edge research project, where I synthesize molecules and observe them with the world’s best electron microscope by myself. It is always challenging to advance this kind of interdisciplinary research, but I enjoy tackling this project by expanding my knowledge on quantum and organic chemistry.

In addition, I can present my research in a conference and discuss the result with other researchers, which always stimulates me and makes me realize that I am the person who opens up an unknown field of chemistry. Furthermore, the Department of Chemistry has a well-organized system to utilize the devices in other laboratories including electron microscopy in our research group. Therefore, we can put our idea into practice as soon as possible.

Speaking about support systems in the Department of Chemistry, there are chances to go abroad and visit some companies by their great financial support. I assure that the Department of Chemistry enables you to enlarge your research skills as you try hard. Why don’t you jump into the frontier of chemistry?

Shun Kimura
(Inorganic Chemistry D1)

What do you imagine “Department of Chemistry, School of Science” to be like? Some people may have the misconception that the fields of study in the school of science are too specialized and narrow. On the contrary, I feel that it is exactly the breadth that reflects the excellence of the department. We are able to learn not only basic chemistry including organic and inorganic chemistry, but also the boundaries with other sciences like biology or physics. Furthermore, each research laboratory investigates a variety of topics with respect to basic research, providing a wide range of options for the choice of research themes.

In this way, the department of chemistry in the school of science, where we can tackle challenging works with cross-disciplinary knowledge of chemistry, is the best place to learn chemistry both with depth and breadth. Please take a look at the research topics on the website of each laboratory. I am sure that there will be the chemistry realms that excite you to join us at the Department of Chemistry, School of Science.

新荘 直明

Naoaki Shinjyo

I entered Department of Chemistry as one of the domestic students of Global Science Course. In Department of Chemistry, all the lectures are given in English. At first, I was worried that I would not be able to keep up with English lectures, and that I would lose opportunities to learn technical terms in Japanese. However, these anxieties were cleared when I actually began to take the courses. The professors explained important things repeatedly using both English and Japanese, and they answered our questions any time during and after their lectures, or even after school. The handouts were also written both in English and in Japanese, so I was able to acquire technical terms in the two languages. If the classes had been only in Japanese, my understanding of chemistry would be much shallower than it is now.

The knowledge obtained in the lectures in the morning proved to be useful as soon as in the afternoon of the same day in the lab courses. Transfer and domestic students use the same desk and belong to the same group in the lab courses.

Therefore, we have a lot of chances to make discussions on the results of the experiments in English. These experiences are very good practice for participating in international conferences in the future. Sometimes transfer students pointed out the things I had never noticed before and I learned a lot from them.

In Department of Chemistry, all the professors conduct cutting-edge researches and we enjoy state-of-the-art equipment for experiments. We can also learn all the fields of chemistry, including physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and geochemistry. We cannot expect better environment if we aim to be a chemist. I hope a lot of students from various countries will be interested in and come to Department of Chemistry. I’m really looking forward to doing cooperative researches with you in the future.

Manuel E. Otero Ramirez

Manuel E. Otero Ramirez

Coming to a university so far away from home to start graduate school in a completely new field was very scary at the beginning, especially considering that I couldn’t speak much Japanese when I first arrived. However, I was gladly surprised to find that professors and students were very flexible, making sure that we understood the content in classes (which were taught in English), while in the laboratory everyone helped me to become used to the work and experiments, facilitating communication and also helping me learn Japanese as much as possible. Having been here for two years, I can say coming has been one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences I’ve had, going through new challenges every day, which motivate me to give the best at what I do.

Furthermore, I find that research is carried out in my lab and this department in a unique way, with my colleagues and professors contributing every day to my growth as a person and a scientist, motivating everyone to become independent and think of new ideas. I’d like to encourage everyone to follow your dreams and what you really want to do without giving up, learn from each challenge you face.


Io Sato

For international students, I think our department is so pleasant and exciting. In our department, you can do all things in English such as lectures, discussions without any hesitation. It will be a very good opportunity for you to explore cutting-edge of science in our department!

Manuel E. Otero Ramirez

Ken-ichi Endo

Chemistry for me

Chemistry is fascinating in many aspects. Especially, I love dealing with really minute and numerous molecules. Chemistry can manipulate ten to the 23rd power of molecules in the flask with various chemical reactions, like a magic. Meanwhile, unexpected results often come out. Then, chemistry becomes an adventure to the world of molecules in nanoscales. In this way, chemistry is always exciting for me.

Why "Department of Chemistry, School of Science"?

Although you can learn about chemistry in many departments, "Department of Chemistry, School of Science" is characteristic in the following two aspects. Firstly, as the simple naming of "Department of Chemistry" implies, the curriculum covers the whole realm of chemistry. I learned a lot about basic chemistry disciplines such as organic chemistry and quantum chemistry, as well as interdisciplinary areas like geochemistry and biochemistry. There are research groups for a variety of research topics, giving a wide range of options. Thus "Department of Chemistry, School of Science" is the best place for me to look over the whole fields of chemistry, the world of atoms and molecules. Secondly, as a member of school of science, a fundamental research is respected in this department. Creation of new materials for the current needs is one of the goals of chemistry, but it is equally important to investigate the basic principles for future development. This spirit was a key for me to choose this department. First of all, please visit the website of each research group and take a glance at research topics.