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Noyori Academy Salon: Nobel Prize and World-leading Nation in Science

  • 2013/11/30

University Professor Ryoji Noyori(President of RIKEN) has contributed "Kamitsubute" articles to the Chunichi Shimbun since January 2013. He regularly holds academic talks derived from those articles with students at Nagoya University. The first Noyori Academy Salon was held on November 29, 2013, and Prof. Noyori and four students from various backgrounds frankly discussed the topic "The Nobel Prize and World-leading Nation in Science."

Bin Sai (freshman at the School of Engineering)

"You have mentioned about building an inviting environment for researchers in "Kamitsubute." What do you mean by "inviting"? Is it a research environment with ample funds?

Prof. Noyori

"Research certainly requires money; however, what is more important is whether the environment allows you to think freely. Much funding can limit the scope of your research."

Minako Kato (first-year at the Graduate School of Law)

"Many people give up their dream of becoming a researcher because of anxiety about the future. I believe the current situation in academia is not appealing for youth in terms of employment opportunities."

Prof. Noyori

"The national university system is paid 1,200 billion yen per year from the national budget. Academic researchers are obliged to respond to the public's expectations. It is important that our research would be publicly accessible and understood."

Yuta Hirai (sophomore at the School of Science)

"I think that Japanese society tends to be closed for foreigners."

Prof. Noyori

"Don't you treat foreigners as "special guests"? Japanese people tend to do that. You need to consider them "colleagues." You should drop the idea of nationality, such as "Americans are always great." Of course, at the national level, there are many political, economic and diplomatic issues between Japan and others; however, you can become friends as students. Such friendship will help you in the future."

Tomomi Sakano (freshman at the School of Science)

"Compared with researchers in the USA, I think Japanese researchers have lower social status."

Prof. Noyori

"The Nobel Prize stresses the importance of the contributions to humanity. Many Japanese people are skeptical and question why they have to respect scientists. I wish scientists would gain more respect from people, and to achieve this goal, universities need to communicate more with people what they are doing."

Original article was published in the Chunichi Shimbun on November 30, 2013.


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