The Komaba Institute for Science (KIS) is a relatively new organization established at the University of Tokyo in 2019. The purpose of KIS is to accelerate advanced research by attracting active researchers to Komaba, and to enhance natural science education in the Junior Division (first and second-year students) as well as that of the Senior Division (third and fourth-year students).
Incidentally, the term "advanced scientific research (Senshin-Kagaku-Kenkyuu)" may sound a little strange. Researchers are always struggling with the boundary between human knowledge and ignorance, striving to expand the realm of knowledge ahead, whether affiliated with a university or not. In the first place, there can be no research that is not advanced, no backward science. The only direction to advance scientific research is "ahead," and it still seems strange for a research organization to be named with such a common term.
What makes it unique, I believe, is that the direction of "ahead" is not fixed. The KIS members are researchers in a variety of fields, from astronomy to mathematical statistics, physics, life sciences, chemistry, and more. In fact, these classifications themselves are outdated and inappropriate, as each member engaged in intriguing research topics that cannot be classified. As a result, there is no common direction anywhere. However, the members respect each other's research fields, and sometimes, the two vectors are added together to go "ahead" in another direction. The area of human ignorance is overwhelmingly wide, and may be ignorant in either direction. Hence, a research organization named some scientific jargon is not appropriate for a group that confronts this area.
Moreover, it is also different from having some specific mission and having members from different fields come together to solve problems. We believe that the way forward is not "ahead" but rather is created after we have moved forward. It can be said that the KIS is always moving toward the "destination" that we find interesting. In fact, this atmosphere pervades not only to KIS but also to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and to the entire Komaba campus. KIS has a symbolic role to play.
We would also like Junior Division students, who have not yet decided which field of study to pursue, to feel this atmosphere. The "Advanced Science (Ado-Rika)" program, which is led by KIS, offers lectures on advanced topics to small groups of students and provides a place for introductory research. We hope you will enjoy this atmosphere to the fullest and find your own "destination" without being concerned about learning a specialty as early as possible.
April 1, 2022
Director, Komaba Institute for Science