Tanaka to share Nobel knowhow at Kyoto University


Koichi Tanaka, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has accepted an invitation to become a visiting professor at Kyoto University’s International Innovation Center.

Tanaka’s first term will be from December to March and is to be renewed annually, according to university officials.

A senior engineer at Kyoto-based precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp., Tanaka said he is also considering accepting a visiting professorship at his alma mater, Tohoku University.

“I do not have experience in teaching and I seriously hesitated,” Tanaka, 43, told a news conference Monday with Kyoto University President Makoto Nagao. “But I hope I can build a bridge for exchanges between industry, academics and bureaucracy by meeting many different people.”

Tanaka will not deliver lectures or direct research, but will exchange views about once a month with graduate students and researchers.

He may establish a project team if a promising topic of research, probably in an area such as medical uses for nanotechnology, is found.

The university said it decided to approach Tanaka because he is young and full of incentive to conduct research.

Tanaka, who graduated from Tohoku University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, does not hold a doctorate but has been an engineer at Shimadzu since graduation, including assignments at affiliated companies and laboratories in Britain.

He was awarded the Nobel for his contributions to the study of proteins that have paved the way for development of new medicines and early diagnosis of cancer.