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Noyori Academy Salon: The Power to Create the Future

  • 2017/09/14
  • presented by Institute for Advanced Research

Since January 2013, University Prof. Ryoji Noyori, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2001), has contributed numerous articles to "Kamitsubute" in Chunichi Shimbun. Based on these articles, he regularly conducts academic discussions with students at Nagoya University. At the 26th of Noyori Academy Salon-the final round-held on May 26, 2017, Prof. Noyori and six students and a researcher from different academic fields at Nagoya University and Aichi University of Technology discussed the topic "the Power to Create the Future." Prof. Noyori claims that the essentials for human survival rely on young people's utmost capabilities to design and ensure the undefined future.

Make Good Friends to Achieve a Goal

Reiji Nakayama, a junior at the School of Engineering

In a series of "Kamitsubute," you often mention that we need to think of the next generation. However, I find it is not that easy.

Prof. Noyori

Why do we have lives? Each person may focus on one's own self-fulfillment. However, human beings live in society and play diverse roles in the society. Thinking of the entire human race, the important thing for the universal issue is to succeed culture and DNA to the next generation, regardless of whether or not you have children.

Junko Sugimori, an Associate Professor at Aichi University of Technology

When you were young, were you anxious about the future?

Prof. Noyori

I was not worried about the future at all when I was a student, because my mentors let me do what I wanted. Today, your mentors may rush you to publish your research results to make acclaimed figures in the field. However, being guided by a patient and generous spirit will allow your curiosity to develop science further.

Natsue Ito, a first year PhD student at the Graduate School of Humanities

I am wondering the way you grew up your curiosity. Is the tacit knowledge important for that?

Prof. Noyori

There are two types of knowledge: explicit knowledge, such as manuals, documents, and how-to videos, and tacit knowledge that is difficult to explicitly transfer to other people. I believe that the latter one gives you a chance of discovery.
Technology can be designed in a planned manner, whereas discovery cannot. You need effort to grab a serendipitous discovery.

Yukina Chiba, a first year at the School of Science

How do you define happiness and success?

Prof. Noyori

In daily life, you may find happiness with each passing moment. However, the quality of human life is like integration, measured by one's satisfaction at the end of life. In my case, I grew up in the wartime devastation. I was hungry and felt empty far from happiness those days. Looking back over the experience, I think I have tended to make meaningful progress. Especially, when I was in the US, I recognized and appreciated the culture of Japan through an encounter with diverse people there.

Shinichiro Ishigaki, a first year at the School of Agricultural Sciences

Internationalization is unavoidable nowadays. For example, at conferences, how can I make presentation to those who own different cultural background?

Prof. Noyori

I believe that technical presentation is not the only one we need to do. If you solely care of techniques for presentation and/or discussion, you would find difficult to build a trusted relationship with each other at the occasion. Mutual communication is necessary rather than those techniques.

Bin Sai, a first year at the Graduate School of Engineering

I came to Japan, to research in the cutting-edge academic atmosphere. However, I have found that Japanese students seem to be less motivated than international students.

Prof. Noyori

Science should be worked on a worldwide level. It does not mean just about research: networking among people is an ultimate value. For instance, when you obtain a doctorate degree in the US, during those five years, you will have connections with those who have different culture. Consequently, you will have a wide perspective.

Kohei Ohara, a first year at the School of Science

Japanese students are diminishing willingness to study abroad. What kind of action is necessary for young people?

Prof. Noyori

You should take education not in a group but in a team. Group is essential to species survival; on the other hand, team is a man-made structure by unusual talents to win. Once you decided what to create, you should assemble a team gathering unusual talents: in fact, "ALL JAPAN" is not enough to achieve a goal.

Prof. Noyori

Did you like the Salon? I am very pleased to meet you all and I really enjoyed discussion with you through a series of Salons.

If I talk about my dream to the future, I would like to pass valuable conditions for the survival of human race to the next generation. I would like to encourage you to make good friends as you are in society. Thank you very much.

(by Ayako Umemura / Academic Research & Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration)


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