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Noyori Academy Salon: Science and Politics

  • 2014/08/06

University Professor Ryoji Noyori, President of RIKEN and a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2001), has contributed numerous articles to "Kamitsubute" in Chunichi Shimbun since January 2013. Based on the articles, he holds regular academic talks with students at Nagoya University. At the eighth Noyori Academy Salon, held on July 30, 2014, Prof. Noyori and five students from different backgrounds openly discussed the topic of "Science and Politics." Prof. Noyori explained that science is mandated and contracted by society to contribute to society and politicians should recognize science as an indispensable element in the course of policy formation. He claimed that they should protect national interests by cross-sectional policy planning.

Job Opportunities in Politics are Open for Researchers

Takafumi Kondo, a first-year student at the Graduate School of Engineering

"Can political power cover up facts?"

Prof. Noyori

"When I was young, I was taught not to get involved in politics, but nowadays, science has become essential for our daily life and existence. It has to be involved with politics, economics, medicine, and so on. Science must contribute to solving impending issues that confront humankind. In order to maximize the effect, the role of politics is essential."

Yosuke Mizuno, a senior at the School of Informatics and Sciences

"In your Kamitsubute article, you mentioned that we should challenge problems confronting humankind with wisdom and courage."

Prof. Noyori

"I meant that you should research not only for your own purposes but also for future generations. I hope that you will consider what kind of society you wish to be a part of. Nowadays, competition is severe, and people tend to think of only today and tomorrow. I believe changes in the thought processes of researchers are necessary."

Takahiro Uehara, a first-year PhD student at the Graduate School of Science

"Which do you think is more important: pure science or science that contributes to society?"

Prof. Noyori

"Academia exists for exalting the spirit of the people and is based on their inner motives. What is essential is that it should not be hampered by social pressure. It is important to determine what you really want to do."

Nobue Kanamori, a first-year student at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development

"What is your emotional motivation to keep researching?"

Prof. Noyori

"I always believe that what I am researching is worthwhile, and I try hard to make it so. My longtime motto is "Research should be fresh and simple." I would like my research to be fresh."

Takanori Okamoto, a first-year student at the School of Agricultural Sciences

"What do you think of scientists being politicians?"

Prof. Noyori

"I think it is a very good thing. Nowadays, many people with a doctorate and postdoctoral fellows have trouble getting a job. Academia is not the only place they can demonstrate their ability. Industry, public administration, and medicine are open for them too. I fully support and encourage doctoral degree holders who enter politics."

The original article was published in Chunichi Shimbun on July 31, 2014.

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