A Festschrift in honor of Akira Imamura's 77th birthday, his recent retirement, and his many contributions to theoretical chemistry INTRODUCTION: Introduction
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article – Annual report year: 2011
The Imamura Festschrift Issue of Theoretical Chemistry Accounts is a special multifocus international issue commemorating the 77th birthday of Professor Akira Imamura and his many contributions to the fields of theoretical chemistry, polymer science, molecular biophysics, chemical physics, and molecular biology. This issue has contributions in theoretical developments of methods applicable to larger polymeric systems, for example, the elongation method pioneered by Professor Imamura and his group, and more recently by the groups of Professor Yuriko Aoki at Kyushu University and Professor Feng Long Gu at South China Normal University, supported by several funds from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). In addition, there are contributions from top experimental and theoretical groups in the areas of nanotechnology, bionanotechnology, quantum transport theory, molecular biophysics, molecular electronics, and even molecular medicine and medical diagnostics, where the marriage between theory and experiment is very important to be able to fully understand, interpret, and utilize the wealth of new and exciting experimental data. The development of new and refined methods, and the extension of older more conventional methods, will be required for these fields to continue to evolve/co-evolve and develop, as they have in the last 60 years. But to evolve in a guided fashion (guided evolution), that is, to meet the needs and functions of not only the individual scientists and research groups but also of society in general, will require a concerted effort from not only experimentalists and theoreticians in each individual subdiscipline but also for them to work together and share their accumulated knowledge and experience, as is now being done in various research networks around the world, including the one originally initiated/formed by Professor Imamura and Professor Janos Ladik at the Third International Congress of Quantum Chemistry (ICQC) in Kyoto, Japan. Through this network, Professor Imamura has been able to pass on a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience to the current and future generations of scientists in Germany, the United States, and China, as Professor Imamura is still doing with his lectures both in Japan at Kyushu University and in China at South China Normal University, and previously in Erlangen at the University of Erlangen, in Heidelberg at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Germany, and in Ithaca, New York at Cornell University in the United States. He has been a real example of the modern protean research scientist and professor who has continued to be in research and teaching, active well beyond the formerly set retirement age of 63 or 65 set by society. The idea that researchers and professors cannot be active in their 60s, 70s, and 80s has now also been shown to be a misconception that needs to be corrected at the funding and institutional levels. Too many very active, knowledgeable, and experienced researchers and professors have been forced to stand on the sidelines, while those who have replaced them have very little practical knowledge, expertise, and more importantly, life experience. A whole generation of young academics are being hired who have never worked a day in industry, never visited an industrial laboratory and/or research group, and hence are unable, (don't know) and in many cases, unwilling to train and educate their students with the skills they need to not only work in industry but also to create new and exciting new industries. The idea that the large chemical and pharmaceutcal companies and government laboartories will hire all of the ever increasing numbers of undergraduate and graduate (MSc and PhD) students no longer applies. The university mission is no longer just to teach, give knowledge, and to do research, but also to innovate, that is, to train the students to take their acquired knowledge from their text books and apply it with the newly acquired knowledge in the research laboratories to start and develop new industries and companies. But this means that the students need to be trained in the fields of engineering economics, finance, and scientific and international law, so that they are able to undertake such projects, in addition to understanding and applying their scientific knowledge. It will also require a concerted effort by funding agencies, state, local, federal, and even international bodies that seek to create and sustain strong economies and infrastructure, which will support and be supported by the highly motivated, trained, and educated work forces. The third pillar is now being established, but it needs to now be totally and completely integrated with the other establishments and infrastructure.
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