In the old days, all wisdom explorers thought of themselves as “philosophers”, those who love (philein) wisdom (Sophos). For example, what we call “natural science” was called “natural philosophy”. Physics was the philosophy about nature (Newton gave his book the title “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica”). I want students to study philosophy at the University. Recently, we often rephrase philosophy as science, but it remains firmly in the title PhD (Philosophiæ Doctor), the degree you are aiming at.
When we speak of “science”, the “systematic” aspect of study is emphasized, which causes bifurcations into specialized disciplines. In recent times, only professional philosophers advocate philosophy; it seems to reflect the social tendency to evaluate only professionalism. Of course, by the time you graduate, you need to acquire expertise for your future career. However, it might fall short of the purpose of studying here. I encourage you to spend this important time of your life for philosophical thinking.
Fusion science is a comprehensive field that integrates various disciplines of science and technology. It is a venture into the unknown world, about which we have yet to create systematic knowledge. Those who are going to participate in this challenge should not consider science and technology separately. We should learn all subjects of physics, encompassing classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical physics, field theories, and so on; it is not a narrow discipline pertinent to a subdomain separated from entire physics. In experiments, we make use of all technologies of vacuum, cryogenic, ultra-high temperature, high voltage, high frequency, and so on. In order to master all of these, one needs strong spirit of inquiry born of love for knowledge. I hope you have a literal philosophical mind.
Department of Fusion Science has many experts who support your study. The teachers are those who love knowledge, not only being specialists of the field. Please learn not only the methods of research, but also the attitude to think what we should elucidate and how we can explore. I hope that the students of this Department will reveal the unknown world in the future.