kawaiJunya Kawai
The University of Tokyo

I participated in Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) during the Nobel week in 2012, supported by Japan Prize Foundation. In this year, 25 young scientists from 19 different countries join this seminar held in Stockholm and interacted with each other and with Nobel laureates through attendance at Nobel festivities. I had fully precious and impressive 8 days there, talking with laureates at the Nobel reception, having fun with other prominent young scientists, and attending the amazingly gorgeous Nobel Prize Ceremony and Banquet. Every event was unforgettable and would never be experienced unless I joined SIYSS. I am so glad to have attended the Prize Ceremony in this year in which a Japanese scientist Prof. Shinya Yamanaka won the Prize in physiology or medicine.

During the seminar, the following two events especially impressed me.
First, I fortunately got opportunities to talk directly with many Nobel laureates including Prof. Yamanaka at the Nobel reception. Prof. Yamanaka had told us many times that it is important for researchers to do “hard work with vision”. Through some talks with him, I found that his vision was no doubt based on his interest and curiosity for the research. I will never forget his words, “when you observe the unexpected result, that’s the chance for a new discovery”. Also I personally got impressed with Prof. Kobilka’s words which came from his own experiences, “Nobody can know how the current research will be extended or applied in future”. From their words, I recognized that the science has been developed on the basis of pure interests or curiosities of many scientists like them. I learnt from them that we scientists should keep such pure interests for research in our mind as well as the clear vision for future.

Secondly, each of us had a presentation about our research. Most of the other participants were winners of science competitions and made a presentation about their own research which had been achieved for only a short period in their high school. I was surprised at the variety of their researches and methods and at the results they had obtained in such a limited term. And they had selected their specialty or research project under their clear will and could actively discuss with other scientists who had a different age, nationality, and background. That impressed me so much and made me think we have to learn such active mindsets from them.

As well as research, they were also interested in cultures of other countries. Some of them knew Japanese comics, literature, food, clothes, language, and even political affairs, which made me regret not having much knowledge about our and other countries. I was so affected by their attitudes that they get interested in anything, procure much knowledge, and have their own opinion on each issue.

Having lots of precious experiences in Stockholm, meeting other prominent young scientists from all over the world and sharing memorable moments with them, I learnt much about the motivations and attitudes for research in every occasion. Especially I realized that it is most important for scientists to get interested in research itself, which let me think again my current postures on my project. Keeping in mind what I experienced and learnt in SIYSS, and staying in touch with other 24 friends, I will live as a scientist from now on.

Lastly, I would like to thank Japan Prize Foundation for providing me such a great opportunity, The University of Tokyo for a sincere cooperation about international affairs, NHK for broadcasting this program, and Swedish coordinators for their kind helps about everything there.





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