A New Stage in the Study of Physics
What is the origin of quarks and leptons? How do elementary particles exert force on one another? How are the interactions combined? How can we develop a unified understanding covering the birth of the universe to the present? Our present understanding is incomplete. Determining the details of the generational structure, and discovering and identifying the properties of the Higgs boson, a particle that is essential for unifying the interactions and is also called “the God particle”, are urgent issues for the field of physics. The largest elementary particle experiments in history are set to begin soon at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), with the possibility that supersymmetry and extra dimensions may be waiting in the wings. Superstring theory has made possible for the first time the integration of all interactions including gravity.
Physics is now entering a new stage. Osaka University is one of the few education and research institutions in the world where one can immediately sense this dynamism in the field of physics.
An Unrestricted Research Environment Full of Open Minds
There are two main appeals to studying at Osaka University. The first is that it is on the frontiers of physics. Top-class researchers in particle physics and all physics fields are working out of Osaka University. Students who wish to can conduct research together with them, working on highly original research while receiving advice and instruction. The choice belongs to you, with all your potential for the future.
The other main appeal is the highly active research environment full of open minds. While naturally it is necessary for each student to select an area to specialize in and to learn deeply about it, this is just the minimum. If a student’s perspective is too narrow, sources for ideas will be lacking, and he or she will become unable to think except in conventional patterns. Communication with a broad range of persons is important for good ideas. Students should participate in international conferences and symposiums, and attend and discuss lectures. The university hosts workshops and invites guest instructors. While enjoying a coffee in the salon, students can also exchange subjects of interest with researchers and students from other areas. This kind of daily activity and regular habit helps keep students’ information up to date, and leads to ideas and revelations.
Developing Research Abilities that Allow Students to Pursue Creative Research
The significance of research is not limited to pioneering on the frontiers of science. Research also means identifying problems and issues on your own, learning about existing knowledge, and applying logical thinking and creativity to find the means to solutions and answers. In other words, the ability to conduct research is the ability to solve problems, an ability which can be applied in every part of society. Top-grade researchers with a broad perspective and keen powers of observation are capable of creative work in any kind of community. This means that there are many and varied paths which are open to holders of degrees from Osaka University. Osaka University graduates are active in a broad range of fields, and include persons continuing research at Osaka University, persons pursuing physics at other research institutions around the world, persons involved in education in their home countries, and persons contributing to society through business endeavors. The pursuit of science is an opening to a grand life. I hope that you too will choose to gain these life-living abilities at Osaka University.