Message from Department Chair

Photo:Satoshi N. Nakamura | Professor | Dean, Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science and Faculty of Science

Satoshi N. Nakamura, D.Sc.
Chair of Physics Department(2019),
Graduate School of Science and Faculty of Science

There are various phenomena and substances in the universe. Physics is the human activity to model all things in our universe and to predict new phenomena based on these models. Physics has two important aspects like two sides of a coin: “Experiment” to discover the basic laws and principles behind various events occurring around us, “Theory” to explain and predict new phenomena based on those laws and principles. So far, physics has been challenging many problems such as the evolution and structure of the universe starting with the Big Bang, elementary particles and nuclei that are the basic building blocks of the world, and the structure of matters.

Physics researchers found quarks, leptons, gauge bosons and higgs particle which are related to the formation of matter and universe. In addition to them, indispensable technologies for modern life were invented such as X-ray, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), laser, high temperature superconductivity, carbon nanotube and so on. These innovations are the results of logical thinking based on natural laws and experimental facts. Physics experienced a paradigm shift from a classical model based on Newtonian mechanics and classical electromagnetism at the beginning of the 20th century to a completely new way of understanding of space-time and matters based on relativistic theory and quantum mechanics. In the 100 years after the paradigm shift, we have studied the microscopic world of femtometers (1/1,000,000,000,000,000 m) such as elementary particles and atomic nuclei as well as we have made many new developments that have the potential to contribute directly to our daily life, such as electronics, nanotechnology and photonics. Recently, the computer physics made rapid progresses and it becomes possible to change physical laws, which are immutable in the real world, in a virtual space created in the computer to understand nature of our world. We must overcome serious environmental problems and energy problems in the next 100 years. Physical approaches based on basic laws and logical thinking derived from established experimental facts become increasingly important.

One of main goals of physics is understanding of the hierarchical structure of the world made of elementary particles, nuclei, atoms, molecules, matter, etc. and how we have been formed from the beginning of the universe, and what will happen in the future. Physicists try to understand our world from basic principles as few as possible in a unified and systematic manner. In order to do so, it is essential to have an environment where people can discuss freely without being confined to the scope of expertise.

The Physics Department of Tohoku University has approximately 160 faculties who are conducting cutting-edge researches: particle theory and cosmology, nuclear theory, condensed matter theory, elementary particle experiment, nuclear experiment, condensed matter experiment including biophysics. It is one of largest physics research groups in the world as well as in Japan covering a wide range of research fields. For future physics development, it is important to cultivate next-generation researchers with new ideas. We believe that being a member of a cutting-edge research group is the best way to foster young researchers.

We look forward to welcoming new students with a burning curiosity, a rich imagination and a strong desire to explore new physics research fields.

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