History of Chemistry at Nagoya; 1989~present

The beginning of the Japanese Heisei Period, the end of the 20th century. Towards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

 Entering into the Japanese Heisei period, much of the environment surrounding the University began to change, such as reforms to the organization of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, reforms to education and research, and the introduction of systems for self-evaluation and outside evaluation of education. Also, a change of generations happened in almost all of the laboratories and chemistry classrooms. This was a period of extreme change. Next we will illustrate that flow of change, and will talk in detail about a few of the changes.

 In March of 1989 Professors Genji Tanaka and Sakaru Suzuki retired due to reaching the set retirement age. In April of 1990 Assistant Professor Shigenobu Funahashi took the place of Professor Tanaka. In December of 1989, Toshiya Endo, who was an Assistant Professor at Gunma University, took the place of Professor Suzuki and in May of 1991 was promoted to a full professor. In February of 1991 Takao Nakamura, who was under medical care for a disease, died in his present post. In April of the same year Masaru Sekikazu, who was an Assistant Professor at Hiroshima University took over as the professor of the thin-film properties research lab professor.

 In March of 1993, Jiro Tanaka, Shoichi Ikeda, and Jun-nosuke Fujita retired due to reaching the set retirement age. Hisanori Shinohara, who was an Assistant Professor at Mie University replaced Professor Ikeda in April of the same year. Iwao Omine, who was the Assistant Professor of the Molecular Sciences Laboratory replaced Professor Tanaka and Kazuyuki Tatsumi, who was an Assistant Professor at Osaka University replaced Professor Fujita, both in April of 1994.

 In April of 1995, the importance of graduate schools was emphasized, and what had been the Science Department faculty organization moved to the Science Research Graduate Department, and was inaugurated as a new Department. At that time, a new specialty, the Material Physical Sciences Specialty was formed in order to elucidate new physical properties and create new functions, by combining all of the laboratories of the Chemistry Department with the Condensed Matter Physics and Biophysics Laboratories of the Physics Research Department. The Chemistry Laboratory faculty belonged to the Graduate School of Science Research Department, and they managed the research and education at the Material Sciences Specialty in the Chemistry Department, as well as holding responsibilities to educate in the Department of Sciences Chemistry Department. The chemistry classrooms were reorganized into four major courses of the Chemistry Department in the Material Sciences Specialty of the Physical Science Research Graduate Department (Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry Course, Organic and Biochemistry Course, Material Physical Chemistry Course, and Correlative Chemistry Course). Michiaki Furukawa, who had been the assistant professor over the second laboratory studying inorganic chemistry was appointed as the professor of the newly established Correlative Chemistry Course, and retired from office due to age in March of 1997. In April of 1995, a Center of Excellence (COE) type program with Ryouji Noyori as the leader was started, and it continued until March of 2002. During that time incredible results were recognized from the COE program, and in 1998 the Research Center for Material Science was founded.


 In 2000, the Material Science Specialization was chosen for the first education and research location formation support expenses (education COE), and initiation of a system of honoring remarkable research achievements of graduate students and giving books was carried out. On the other hand, In March of 2000, Okota Yamauchi retired due to reaching the retirement age, and in April 2001, Yoshihito Watanabe, a professor of molecular science research at the Okazaki National Joint Research Organization and Overall Bio-science Center, was appointed to his stead. In April of the following year he was made a full time faculty member. In April of 2001, Kunio Awaga, who was an assistant professor at Tokyo University, was appointed to the correlative chemistry course molecular function chemistry research room. Also, in December of the same year the Nagoya University Department of Science Chemistry Research Department received the honor of having Professor Noyori Ryouji receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry, a first for Nagoya University, and only the second in Japan after Kenichi Fukui of Kyoto University.

A Lively Chemistry Department – To Becoming a Chemistry Department to Represent Japan –

 It was 2001 when chemistry became a hot topic due to the Nobel Prize of Professor Noyori. A third evolution thus began thereafter for the Chemistry Department. In 2002, the department was chosen for the 21st century COE type program, and several types of support systems were set up for the current doctoral (latter half) students at the graduate school. Starting from 2007, the department began putting great effort into its work with the global COE program [Molecular Sex Function materials Science International Education and Research Center Form]. In this way, solid progress in both research and education was made at the chemistry laboratories, and a research and education environment that is top class both domestically and in the world was realized.

 We will now explain the history of Nagoya University’s Chemistry Department after 2002 separately. In 2003 the Noyori Memorial Materials Science Research Building was established to honor the receipt of the Nobel Prize. Assistant Professor Shigehiro Yamaguchi came from Kyoto University, and was later promoted as the replacement for Professor Noyori. Professor Noyori became a Distinguished Professor of Nagoya University and began to lead a new special research room. Thereafter, Shigenobu Funahashi retired, and in 2007 Kentaro Tanaka became the professor of the Analytical Chemistry Lab. In 2008 Diasuke Uemura retired, and Ken-ichiro Itami, an assistant professor of the special research room was promoted to the professorship of the organic chemistry lab in 2008. That year, regrettably Professor Kazuhiko Seki died suddenly, and in 2009 Iwao Omine retired. In 2010 Akiyoshi Hishikawa replaced Professor Seki, and in 2011 the Department’s first foreign professor, Professor Stephan Irle, was appointed. Also, in 2007 the department was selected for the global COE program, the successor program to the 21st century COE type program, and international chemistry research and education was carried out.

 In 2008 Doctor Osamu Shimomura, who was a member of the Chemistry Research Department received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, becoming the second person in the Chemistry Department to receive the Nobel Prize.



 The research stage will also change greatly. Due to the earthquake resistance construction that began in 2008, the Chemistry Department was forced to carry out research in evacuation space. In 2011 a new building, the Science and Agriculture Building, was established housing the Science Department Chemistry Research Department and part of the Department of Agriculture, and the Chemistry Department could once again perform research and educational activities as one group in the newest facilities. In the above ways, the Nagoya University Chemistry Department has changed in the 21st century. The third Chemistry Department that will start from here on out aims to be a Chemistry Department to represent Japan and the world.



 Center of Excellence Program (COE): This is a group selected by the Department of Education (currently the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) to support cutting edge academic research to be appropriate for that research organization. Only six applicants (only one in the whole country in the field of chemistry) are selected from a pool of 194 applicants in all fields of science and literature. The selection process is difficult and the competition is stiff.

Tweet this!Tweet this!