Inheriting the founding spirit and tradition of the School of Science of Osaka University, which celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2011, the Graduate School of Science has maintained its research-first principle, which places importance on a liberal, lively spirit and creativity unencumbered by old conventions. It is very important for the progress of science to be in an environment where basic studies are highly valued even if they are seemingly useless at present.
For instance, nobody pointed out the importance of the structure of a gene when it was revealed in 1950s. However, as a result of the progress of science in other fields, the structure of a gene is now applied to many different technologies. There are so many examples similar to this case. This means that behind the progress of technologies, there is a culture created by scientific studies. If a country is to produce a unique, revolutionary technology, the country should have a well-established scientific culture.
These days, science and technology are becoming more advanced and specialized, covering a wider range of fields. However, the original missions of the Graduate School of Science have remained unchanged, which include creating new culture based on the tradition of basic science, as well as educating researchers capable of contributing to this purpose. On the other hand, it is important to have a good understanding of how science and technology can affect our society, such as through energy and environmental problems, and it is necessary to foster a willingness to work for the wellbeing of humans from a global perspective. Researchers should have a global mindset and the ability to produce more creative, revolutionary results to contribute to the development and happiness of humans. In this light, graduate education is now expected to not only educate students through conventional basic studies, but also develop professionals who can cater to various industrial needs. In other words, graduate schools are required to take on two important roles: one is education in individual, highly specialized fields of study; the other is a synthetically balanced education which integrates and organizes these fields of study.
In order to meet the needs of the times by successfully playing these roles, the Graduate School of Science pursues the following two goals in its educational and research activities: (1) to maintain a liberal, creative, research-first principle as its academic culture, and educate high-caliber researchers capable of conducting research on their own in their respective fields of study; and (2) to train highly specialized professionals who have expertise across a broad range of natural science disciplines by providing education and research guidance on basic science, which is fundamental for all scientific skills and technologies. In order to achieve these two purposes, the Graduate School of Science has accepted a significant number of academic staff from external organizations and launched new educational and research programs of science, with a view to promoting advanced, interdisciplinary research on a global scale. The Graduate School of Science also offers courses jointly with other organizations within the university; namely, the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology; the Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences; the Graduate School of Engineering Science; the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases; the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research; the Institute for Protein Research; the Research Center for Nuclear Physics; the Institute of Laser Engineering; the Radioisotope Research Center; the Institute for University Learning Innovation (scheduled); the Cybermedia Center; the Department of Safety and Hygiene; and the Museum of Osaka University.
Many academic staff members of these organizations have joined the Graduate School of Science to teach courses related to their fields of study. Moreover, a number of outside researchers have participated in research studies at the Graduate School of Science as collaborative and guest instructors. These instructors are from the Graduate School of Science and Technology of Keio University; the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN); the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST); the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT); the Peptide Institute Inc.; and JT Biohistory Research Hall. With so many leading instructors with diverse specialties, the Graduate School of Science provides a wide range of educational and research programs covering various areas from basic science to applied research.
While science and technology made remarkable progress during the 20th century, the pace of progress will further accelerate during this century. The advancement of science and technology has enabled humans to enjoy affluent, comfortable lives, as well as increased longevity, which no previous generation has experienced before. On the other hand, the continuous pursuit of affluence and efficiency has resulted in serious environmental problems such as a depletion of energy resources and destruction of the global environment. These problems have surfaced within a fairly short period of time, hardly a blink of an eye in light of long human history that spans tens of thousands of years. Therefore, humans in the 21st century should be wise enough to have a sober understanding of science and technology from the perspective of human history. Humans will be inevitably led to extinction unless we achieve revolutionary breakthroughs in science and technology that will help us find fundamental solutions to various problems related to energy, the environment, food supplies, and overpopulation. In this sense, our generation has an obligation to pass on basic science that can lead to the development of technologies for coping with these problems to the next generation as a cultural heritage.
With this in mind, researchers at the Graduate School of Science devote their passion and energy to educational and research activities in an open and stimulating environment to achieve their own individual goals.