Earth and Planetary Science involves various fields and a wide range of time span: solid Earth, atmosphere and ocean, surface environments including biosphere, planets and minor objects in the solar system, and space beyond the solar system over and beyond a duration of the evolution of the solar system. Diverse research methods are thus required in such a wide variety of research fields such as field work, observation, laboratory experiments, chemical analyses, theoretical modeling, simulations and so on.
In order to effectively drive forward Earth and Planetary Science which involves diverse research fields and methodologies, more cooperation and alliance have recently been made among various researchers to realize large-scale interdisciplinary projects, domestically and internationally.
Earth and Planetary Science major thus encompasses a broad range of EPS research and education that are extensive in timescale, fields and methodologies. In the course of developing fundamental research in respective field, we train students and researchers who can become leading figures in ever expanding international and interdisciplinary projects.
Social Mission of the Earth and Planetary Science
Recent outstanding development of Earth and Planetary Science enables us to understand a planet in the context of interdependent system of inner, surficial and outer planet elements, and to consider the evolution of a planet from past to future as a time evolution process. These changes in scientific understanding and expansion of research fields of Earth and Planetary Science are deeply related to two notable changes of research environment: drastic technological progress and ever increasing social needs.
The expansion of research fields due to technological innovation can be recognized in increasing large scale national research projects such as earth observation satellite mission, lunar and planetary exploration mission , space station project, next generation super computer project, international deep sea drilling project. These interdisciplinary large scale projects will obviously stand in need of numerous researchers with expertise in science, engineering and administrative domain for coming decades.
Furthermore, the proximity of Earth and Planetary Science and human society is ever-increasing. For instance, forecasting natural disasters such as earhquakes, volcano eruptions, extreme weather, global warming, desertification, El Nino and Ozone Crisis, are quintessential enviromental science aspects.
Understanding these issues that siginificantly influence human activity is a crucial social mission for Earth and Planetary Science, and various research projects have already been initiated. Meeting these social needs requires many talented researchers with international-mindedness, open-mind and high-level skillsets. Further, newly appeared professions such as earth environment forecast, natural disaster prevention, environmental protection and assessment seek professionals with applied Earth and Planetary Science expertise.
Department of Earth and Planetary Science covers an exceptionally wide research area. In terms of physical space, research domain involves the solid earth consisting of crust, mantle, and core, the fluid earth including ocean and atmosphere, biosphere that extends along the boundary between the solid and liquid layers of the earth, and their assemblage, the earth system; it further extends into solar system including its planets, satellites, and planetary space. In time scale, the research area ranges from more than 4.6 billion years ago before the birth of the solar system through the present to the future. We also employ various approaches, including field survey and observation that are essential for recognizing and describing the diversity and complexity of the nature, experimental, analytical, and theoretical approaches that are indispensable to extract universality from the obtained data, and modeling and simulation that are useful to understand the observed diversity and complexity under the unified concept of the earth system.
Recently, rapid advance in science and technology surrounding the earth and planetary sciences has gradually been enabling us to analyze the earth along the time sequence from its origin and evolution through predictive changes in the future through an understanding that the earth comprises a single system consisting of the solid earth, surface environments, and surrounding planetary space that interact with one another intricately.
In order to sustain and further develop such major trends in the earth and planetary sciences, it is necessary to keep training experts highly specialized in research, engineering, and research administration in the fields of earth and planetary sciences. Such experts should also possess a wide scope, highly sophisticated technical knowledge and ability, and an international mind. On the other hand, principles and techniques of earth and planetary sciences have been increasingly applied to fields such as prevention of natural hazards and environmental protection and assessments, leading to more demands by the general public and industries for experts with a wide scope and highly sophisticated technical knowledge and ability in earth and planetary sciences.
Goals and Principles of Our Education
We aim to produce researchers possessing wide scopes, deep technical knowledge, and high creativity who lead new development in earth and planetary sciences described above, as well as engineers with wide and solid technical knowledge who can deal directly with environmental issues and natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and abnormal weathers and can respond to social needs. In order to achieve these educational goals, we have established the following programs.
We have two undergraduate programs, Earth and Planetary Physics Program and Earth and Planetary Environmental Science Program. Through interactions between these programs, our education emphasizes on understanding and acquiring the basic concepts and skills in earth and planetary sciences.
In our master’s program, we have two courses. One is for students who aim to proceed to the doctorate program and become researchers, and emphasizes on graduate course works in basic and advanced classes. The other is for those who aim to become science engineers, and emphasizes mostly on a wide range of basic classes.
In our doctorate program, we aim to provide students with a variety of education, including seminars consisting only of a few students and giving advices for each student’s research, so that each student will become a researcher with high creativity through nurturing a wide scope of research and sophisticated technical knowledge.