Most of the experiments recorded herein were carried out as part of the Geophysical Experiments course in the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies, Kyoto University (formerly known as Experiments on Earth Sciences II, in the former Colleage of Liberal Arts). The aim of the experiments was for students to experience the difficulty and enjoyability of experimental work by making no manuals, and always trying new experiments.
Taking on new experiments one after the other is never easy, however as a teacher, experiments that are meant to succeed are not any fun at all. If it isn't interesting for the teacher, then there is no reason why students would be interested either. Science should be fun.
However, experiments in which a teacher is interested often tend to be difficult experiments, that require graduate-level knowledge to understand the theory involved. This makes them extremely difficult for a first year university student to fully understand, however the vital first step is for students to experiment with their own hands and observe with their own eyes. Study can come after this vital first step.
The experiments recorded herein are only a small subset of those carried out in the Geophysical Experiments course. There were many failures, too. However, these failures are also a vital part of the educational process. In these student experiments, I was fortunate enough to have the kind assistance of many professors of related faculties. Compared to instruction book-based experiments, the student experiments took far greater time and effort to complete, and I would like to herein express my deepest thanks to the many professors who assisted in this effort.
Finally I would like to acknowledge the important part that the design sense and technical skills of the staff of Media Max Japan Ltd. played in bringing this collection of experiments to publication in this form. In particular, Isawo Iizawa assisted greatly from the initial planning stages of this project. Without his assistance, I am sure this project would have never seen the light of day. My deepest thanks and appreciation go to Isawo Iizawa and the superb staff at Media Max Japan.
April 1997, Satoshi Sakai