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Program Description Division of Earth and Planetary Materials Science


What is the study of Earth and Planetary Materials Science?

What is the study of Earth and Planetary Materials Science The planets, including Earth, were created 4.6 billion years ago in a short time through the protoplanetary disk system from a gaseous solar nebula. About 4 billion years ago, the earth surface cooled gradually and plate tectonic motion began. About 3 billion years ago, the first life was born from organic matter, subsequently and eventually evolving to human beings. The Earth and Planetary Science of the 21st century has explained and clarified the details of processes of this type.


Nevertheless, we still confront many mysteries as to how a planet can be born from a primitive form of the solar system, how the earth could have been built and evolved during its initial stage, how life could have been created, and what the relation between life and the earth comprises or what the core structure and the physical properties of the earth are. To reveal important aspects of them all, many studies are going on in combined fields with physics, chemistry and biology, and are conducted and advanced at many levels from nanoscale to macroscale.


What is the study of Earth and Planetary Materials Science The Department of Earth and Planetary Materials Science is proceeding comprehensively with studies of the causes, physical properties, organization, structure, and distribution of materials of many kinds that were created on the earth and in the cosmic environment. Through these studies, what we are trying to accomplish is discovery of the fundamental evolution of the earth and the planets in terms of the origin of the earth, planets and associated materials, their interrelations with the lives that develop on planets, and so on.


Among other subjects, our first research fields included mineralogy, petrology and solid earth chemistry, in addition to resource environmental earth chemistry, through which we are trying to understand and clarify the earth and planet creation process through studies of minerals, rocks and meteorites. The studies further include the tiny dust formation in the vast space of the primitive form of the solar system, the organic and non-organic substances on the early stage of the earth, and the evolution of life as well.


The second research field we are investigating includes volcanic science and island arc magma studies, through which we are studying the evolution of the earth’s crust and mantle, the structure of volcanoes in addition to the mechanism of the eruption phenomena, and the generation of magma with its nature study combined. This field particularly addresses exploration of the relation between human history and volcanic eruptions to promote collaboration with humane studies fields as well.


The third field of study, which is Earth and Planetary materials study, is proceeding with research work to understand and clarify characteristics of the real core and mantle, while measuring the physical properties of various materials and testing materials compounded in high-pressure and high-temperature experiments. Another actual goal of all those pursuits is discovery of the structure and the nature of the materials buried deep inside the Earth using computer simulation techniques.


Consequently, the studies of this division encompass such broad areas extending from examination of the core of the Earth to Planetary spaces. They are organized with hierarchical study fields, by which we are trying to understand the Earth and other planets from the widest perspective. This department is also simulating a cosmic space producing miniscule gravity forces, with which we can perform our experiments. Moreover, this department is conducting studies using the international space station “Kibo (Japanese Experiment Module)”, which is available for our use, too.

Next step after graduation

Students, after graduating from this department, progress to work for widely various industries including those associated with energy and resources, materials-related industries, manufacturers, information technology (IT) industries, and others. Additionally, some students choose careers as teaching staff at universities or as research staff members at research organizations.


Many undergraduate students take additional steps to move to work in graduate schools to acquire doctoral degrees. That is an important characteristic of this division.