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History

In 1981, Professor Kenichi Fukui of the Department of Hydrocarbon Chemistry in the Faculty of Engineering was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This event inspired the formation of the Department of Molecular Engineering in April 1983, through collaboration between the Department of Hydrocarbon Chemistry, the Department of Industrial Chemistry, and the Institute for Chemical Research. (At the same time, some areas of research pursued by these labs were split off into independent groups.) This new department was the first independent department in Kyoto University's Graduate School of Engineering.

The basic aim of the department is to train researchers and technologists in molecular engineering in the application of new concepts in molecular theory, based on a recognition of the importance of this new field, which aims to directly apply the results of fundamental science in the area of microscopic atomic and molecular phenomena. The formation of this independent department broke new ground in various ways—for example, by recruiting professors from overseas and from other prestigious Japanese universities such as the University of Tokyo, and by taking in graduate students from all over Japan. The restructuring of the Faculty of Engineering in April 1993 placed greater emphasis on graduate education, focusing initially on chemistry-related studies. The Department of Molecular Engineering, which had not up to that point been part of the undergraduate educational system, was reorganized to bring it into line with the other chemistry-related departments, and thus it began participating in undergraduate education.

Chronology

1981

Prof. Kenichi Fukui wins the Nobel Prize.

1983

Inspired by Prof. Fukui's Nobel Prize, the Dept. of Molecular Engineering is formed as a new, independent department focusing on studies previously pursued by related (former) labs, including the Department of Hydrocarbon Chemistry and the Department of Industrial Chemistry.

1993

The department is reorganized as part of the university's restructuring to place greater emphasis on graduate studies.

2003

Full-time and core courses are relocated to Katsura Campus.