Professor Emeritus Toyoki Kunitake (currently President of the Kitakyushu Foundation for the Advancement of Industry, Science and Technology) was selected to receive the 2014 Order of Culture.
After successfully completing the master’s program at this university’s Graduate School of Engineering, Professor Emeritus Kunitake completed the doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Chemistry. He then spent time as a postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology before being hired as an assistant professor in the School of Engineering at Kyushu University in October 1963. In April 1974, he was promoted to professor and served as Dean of the School of Engineering from April 1992 until March 1994, in which role he was involved in the running of education, research, and management. In 1999, he was conferred with the title of Professor Emeritus of this university and is currently the WPI Visiting Professor at the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER).
Professor Emeritus Kunitake’s main research achievements include pioneering work in the field of molecular architecture - the most important realm in modern chemistry - such as being the first in the world to discover the formation of a stable bilayer membrane from an artificially created substance unrelated to a biological lipid, when investigating bimolecular aggregates, which are the basic structure of biomembranes and were conventionally thought to be obtained solely from biological lipids with a special structure. In addition, he has made a tremendous contribution to the advancement of molecular architecture, through efforts to pioneer new techniques for forming new materials with molecular organizations. More recently, he was the first to create the long-awaited self-supporting nano-thin film. It is hoped that this will find uses as an advanced separation membrane and as a proton exchange membrane in fuel cells.
Professor Emeritus Toyoki Kunitake