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Greeting from the Director

Director Yoshino
Director Takashi Yoshino

The Institute for Planetary Materials, Okayama University is located in Misasa Town, Tottori Prefecture where is famous for radium hot springs.

The origins of our institute can be traced back to before World War II, first developed as the Hot Spring Research Institute of Okayama University combining medical care and earth science study after the war. In 1985, the earth science research division became independent and was approved as a Joint Usage/Research Center, "Institute for the Study of the Earth’s Interior". In 2016, a renewed "Institute for Planetary Materials (IPM)" was established after several reorganizations, and research topics were developed from evolution of the Earth’s interior to the research that approaches the origin of planets and life including extraterrestrial sample returns. Now we continuously research these topics.

Our institute is capable of high-temperature and high-pressure experiments that reproduce the deep part of the earth and planet, and comprehensive chemical analysis both organic and inorganic. As a result of our efforts, IPM was approved as a Joint Use/Research Center for the 4th period starting from FY 2022. I think that it is a great responsibility and honor to serve as the Director of this institute, which has a long history and tradition. One of the major missions of the Institute is to provide the analytical and experimental equipment that has been intensively developed as a research base for planetary material science to a wide range of communities, both domestically and internationally, in an efficient and well-maintained form. The relationship between this institute and myself began in April 2001 when I was appointed as an institutional postdoctral researcher. I have been conducting research on the transport properties of deep materials in the Earth and planets using a large-volume multi-anvil press. I was promoted to an associate professor in February 2008 and a professor at the Institute for Planetary Materials from April 2019. During this time, I had many opportunities to interact with many researchers through joint-use research programs and supervising students which brought me huge benefit to create a network. This will greatly contribute to the future development of the IPM.

Nowadays, the role of Joint Usage/Research Center must be reconsidered due to the COVID-19 pandemic making it difficult to conduct onsite research and especially, there was no International Joint Research. Although it’s frustrating that we cannot implement long-term stay-type joint research at IPM providing accommodation with hot springs amid beautiful nature to concentrate on research. I would like to establish a system to accept more Joint use research than before the COVID-19 pandemic starts as promoting experiment/analysis done by IPM staff using automation and remote operation of the research facilities.

On the other hand, the recent uncertain situation and rapid changes inevitably led to a paradigm shift in society, and the importance of the Director in the handling of research institutes is increasing. As a research institute developing research on the Earth, it is the time to seek new directions in response to the demands of society. In particular, I believe that we can make a great contribution by utilizing the background and research resource facilities of IPM for issues such as climate change, earthquake and volcanic disasters, and environmental issues related to SDGs and I would like to expand the range of activities. It is also the Director's major role to invigorate such discussions at IPM, create a place to motivate the staff and lead the general policy.

I think that everyone who has been involved in earth and planetary research is pursuing basic research that satisfies the fundamental human desire for knowledge. From now on, we will continue to understand why the intelligent life has taken root on the Earth, why seismic and volcanic activity will occur, the dynamics inside the Earth, the formation of the Earth's magnetic field, etc. I would like you to take pride in your research, which will be useful for humankind and the next generation, such as space exploration and prediction of environmental changes. In the future, we will continue to promote new interdisciplinary fusion research by taking advantage of IPM. We will continue to liven up this institute together with the members and joint-use researchers. Thank you for your support and cooperation.

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Research building 2