Messages from Students

Yuto Ohno
(Bioorganic Chemistry M1)

My enthusiasm for “science” developed from a young age through my interaction with living creatures. At that time, catching insects or reading encyclopedia fulfilled my curiosity. Then, it changed into an academic passion.

A textbook said,

–Living creatures consist of cells. –

Then led me to a question, what contains in a cell?

–There are biomolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids in a cell. –

What makes up a molecule?

–Atoms form a molecule. –

What is an atom?

–Electrons and a nucleus constitute an atom. –

A single question can raise some new questions sequentially. It is commonly said that science is a method which describes nature. “Biology” can explain phenomenon in a cell. “Chemistry” handles molecules and atoms. To reveal the behavior of an atom, “physics” would be the best way. I love the simple and clear way of chemistry, in which nature is deciphered by the bond rearrangements originating from atomic characteristics and its outer environments.

In the Department of Chemistry, students will be exposed to “chemistry” as a “science”, not just its application. That is because everyone in this community is motivated by curiosity. Furthermore, you can take courses from other fields of the sciences and find friends sharing the same enthusiasm for science. If you were to major in chemistry in other schools, you wouldn’t find such friends.

I personally experienced the above through the chemistry curriculum. You’ll take lab courses every day during your third year and start your research during your fourth year. The research is not just a training under senior students nor following protocols. You can study the frontier of science through discussion with staffs and senior students. Most labs in this department are large-scale and fully equipped with facilities and faculties. We can say with confidence, this department satisfies all criteria required for science. Through your academic and research journey in the Department of Chemistry in the School of Science, you will discover the excitement of chemistry research as well as sharing those special experiences with fellow community. Come enjoy chemistry with us!!

Toshiya Fukunaga
(Physical Organic Chemistry M2)

I would like to say "Let's utilize the university environment." At least you should earn enough credits for graduation, attend the student experiment every day and carry out research with a given topic, but you would have better chances to enjoy the study in the university.

In some themes of the student experiment, I could organize experiments by myself in addition to the tasks. Although the topic of the classes and the student experiments were classic, I often went to the chemistry library and read magazines printing reviews of frontier researches in organic chemistry. Inspired by such cutting-edge knowledge, I performed research in the present lab before the lab assignment. In the research I could plan and carry out experiments freely with my interest if they were not necessary. Sometimes I obtained interesting results in such experiments.

Other than these, you can talk with professors in Office Hour and listen to lectures by researchers all over the world in Zasshikai. I think there is no reason you don't make use of such a good environment if you are interested in chemistry. I'm looking forward to enjoying chemistry together.

Shun Ito
(Catalytic Chemistry M2)

As for the Department of Chemistry in Faculty of Science, many people firstly come up with ‘English’. There is an argument about the lectures in English, but I think that these lectures were good. Especially when I started the graduation research in the 4th grade, I had many opportunities to read English literatures and the chemical English I learned in the class was very useful. You may not get used to it at first, but you can make up for questions that you do not understand in English by asking questions in Japanese or reading Japanese reference books. An environment where students can get used to English slowly for one year in the third grade is a major feature of the Department of Chemistry. I think this is a great opportunity for people who are not good at English. As far as English is concerned, the student experiment gives each person a dedicated space, and can acquire the basic skills of a wide range of chemical experiments through the extensive equipment and curriculum. In addition to core fields such as organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry, lectures will cover a wide range of chemistry such as natural products chemistry and geochemistry.

In addition to the world-class research environment, the Department of Chemistry at the Faculty of Science offers extensive support for becoming a researcher in many aspects, such as student experiments, English classes, and global science courses. Those who are worried about going on to chemistry are welcome to the Department of Chemistry.

Risa Wakabayashi
(Bioorganic Chemistry M2)

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?

Yuta Nakagawa
(Structural Chemistry D1)

The word “serendipity” was coined to describe fortuitous encounters or unexpected findings. Many scientific findings that have had tremendous impact on our world have been attributed as a serendipity. In fact, it was quite a serendipity that I ended up at the lab that I am currently working today. When I was a 3rd year undergraduate student at a college in the United States, I was unsure of the future or what I wanted to do despite being a chemistry major. That was when, completely by chance, I stumbled upon an internship opportunity at Professor Goda’s structural chemistry laboratory. In hopes of having a moment of clarity on how I want my career to pan out, I just plunged onto the opportunity. What I found was a research topic that was extremely stimulating and a group of passionate and motivated researchers pursuing their interests. I was awed by their research environment; fast forward a few years, I am happy to be a part of this lab.

The chemistry department, I am certain, is a place with plenty of wonderful serendipity. Classes, laboratory works, internships, and seminars are just a few of the excellent opportunities for you to explore and learn about the cutting-edge research currently on-going at the University of Tokyo. From fundamental research to applied research, laboratories at the Department of Chemistry engage in various interesting topics; you might find something that really catches your attention, something you didn’t know, or something you never would have thought about in your wildest dreams.

Once you become a 4th year student, you will be expected to join a laboratory and conduct research work. Spoiler alert: it will be tough. And of course, merely waiting for good luck won’t take you very far. You have to delve into the literature where your predecessors have accumulated vast amount of knowledge and discuss with your colleagues to have a deeper and insightful vision for your research topic. You might be overwhelmed or feel lost and unsure about where to even start. That is when you should rely on your professors and senior members of your lab. In a world with countless universities and research institutions, it seems to me that it is quite a serendipity that you are sharing this moment engaging in research at the same lab. With the help of others, you will overcome various obstacles and find out something new through your research. That is when, I think, you will find the true entertainment and joy of doing research in chemistry; a special moment you won’t be able to find just by reading textbooks. So, why don't you join us in the pursuit of chemistry? Serendipity is awaiting for you.

Ryusuke Masuda
(Synthetic Organic Chemistry D1)

I want to see the world through the filter of “Chemistry”. That was how I decided to study chemistry. In today’s rapidly developing society, we probably have very few opportunities to turn our attention to the materials and mechanism that form the basis of things and information around us. I believe that chemistry can realize the creation of such materials and phenomena by ourselves.

The reason why I chose the Department of Chemistry is that there are a wide variety of laboratories. This department has world-class laboratories in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, geochemistry, and biochemistry. You can select the laboratory after you have determined the field you want to study, because you can spend one year conducting experiments in various fields before joining a laboratory. Furthermore, even after joining a laboratory, you have not only the research seminar beyond the laboratory but also lectures by many researchers all over the world including Nobel-Prize winners. I think it is a great attraction of this department to be able to come in contact with such latest research in a wide range of fields in everyday life.

If you have interests in chemistry, it is sure that this department will provide a satisfactory environment to you. I hope that you think carefully about what you want to do and you push on toward your dream. I’m glad if this message can support your next step.

Takuya Matsubara
(Quantum Chemistry D1)

The biggest attraction of chemistry is probably its diversity. On the one hand, it overlaps with biology, and, on the other hand, with physics. Research areas covered by research groups in the chemistry department are practical, directly related to the society, while others are very fundamental and specialized. We can experience the basis of such various fields both in lectures and experiments during the first year in the chemistry course, which will help you gain a broad view and an interest in various fields. Moreover, it must be more enjoyable to study broader things.

The broadness of study in the chemistry department does not mean the shallowness of it. Researches in the laboratories in the department are at the highest level in the world. Students select a laboratory to join when they proceed to the second year in the department. You can study the frontiers in the field you are the most interested in among various fields you experienced in the first year.

You can study chemistry widely and deeply in the department of chemistry. I am looking forward to your joining.

Takahiro Doba
("Molecular Technology Innovation” Presidential Endowed Chair D2)

I suppose that you are looking at this homepage because you are somewhat interested in chemistry and considering going on to the department of chemistry. The reason why I decided to enter this department was because I liked the way people think in the school of science. I simply liked to think “why is that so?” rather than trying to develop useful techniques for other people. Soon after I joined this department, I was impressed to see that people here are all very curious about their research topic and I felt my intellectual curiosity being strongly stimulated.

I definitely like you to enjoy the same feeling in this department. Don’t forget to check our website to see what kind of research we are doing!

Michitaka Fukumoto
(Solid State Chemistry D3)

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 D3)

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
(Bioinorganic Chemistry D3)

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.