About KIPS

  On January 1st 2000, a group of Kyoto polymer scientists, mostly from the Department of Polymer Chemistry of Kyoto University, formed a new association, which they named the Kyoto Institute of Polymer Science (KIPS). At that time, the KIPS steering committee published a booklet introducing the membership and activity of KIPS. I take the opportunity to present a brief overview of KIPS as it is today in the context of Kyoto city and Kyoto University, on the occasion of the publication of this newly revised version of the booklet.
  Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, starting in 794 until 1868. Kyoto possesses many important historical sites, such as the old imperial palace, medieval temples and shrines. It is a place where many long-lasting excellent traditions have been preserved throughout the ages. For many Japanese, Kyoto remains a sort of spiritual hometown. This long history has not prevented Kyoto from embracing modern industry and culture. For example, the first electric power station in Japan was built in Kyoto on the Sosui canal. The railway station was renovated very recently to make it one of the most modern in Japan.
  Kyoto is also a student city, since it has many colleges and universities, such as Kyoto University founded in 1897. Kyoto University quickly became one of the first university among the 100 or so national Japanese universities, in terms of size and overall quality. Six of the 14 Japanese Nobel Prize winners have strong connections with Kyoto University (H. Yukawa, S. Tomonaga, K. Fukui, T. Tonegawa, R. Noyori, and T. Masukawa). In 2004, the Japanese national universities underwent important changes in administration, becoming partly private university corporations. In the same year, Kyoto University opened the Katsura campus, which houses the Graduate Schools of Engineering and of Informatics.
  The Department of Polymer Chemistry of Kyoto University takes its roots in the creation, in1941, of the department of fiber chemistry with the laboratories of Professors I. Sakurada and M. Horio. Professor I. Sakurada developed a synthetic fiber, the "vinylon", an aldehyde-modified poly(vinyl alcohol). Throughout its long history, the Department of Polymer Science has been committed to maintaining the highest level of innovation in polymer science research in Japan and worldwide. At the same time, it provides education and training in keeping with the expectations and requirements of the modern industrial world. Polymer scientists in Kyoto are very proud of the outstanding achievements and the tradition of the Kyoto school. In 1993, the six chemistry-related departments of Kyoto University were reorganized. Currently, approximately 50 faculty members work in the field of polymer science in various departments and campuses of the University.
  KIPS is a non-profit organization with no specific building and no dedicated funding. Its members, who all are polymer researchers based in Kyoto, collaborate actively with each other to foster innovation in polymer science. KIPS main objectives are (1) to promote and activate polymer science by providing various forums including scientific meetings, workshops, seminars, lecture courses etc., (2) to foster the young polymer scientists of the next generation through the activities listed above, and (3) to contribute to new developments of the society and to problem-solving. KIPS has a membership of over 50 professional polymer scientists and approximately100 graduate students of Kyoto University. It has created partnerships with foreign institutions to organize international symposia and international exchanges. KIPS has held three joint symposia with NIST (1st in Keage, Kyoto on September 21 - 22, 2000; 2nd in NIST campus, Gaithersburg, MD on March 20 - 21, 2003; 3rd in Katsura campus of Kyoto University on May 19 - 20, 2005). It plans to begin a new comprehensive course of lectures on polymer science in 2009.
  I hope that in the next phase of its development KIPS will expand its activity to meet the challenges of the 21st century, by further promoting the exchange of scientific information and of researchers through various joint symposia with foreign and domestic institutions.

February 2008
Fumihiko Tanaka
Chairman of the Steering Committee, KIPS