Akihiro Matsumoto
Kyoto University

During the nobel prize week, Sweden Young Scientists Federation holds Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS). SIYSS welcomes 40th anniversary this year. This year, 24 young scientists aged from 18 to 24 gathered in Stockholm from all around the world to join SIYSS. It was my great honor to participate in this seminar as one of representatives from Japan supported by Japan Prize Foundation.

When I was a high school student, my physics teacher seriously said to us that he wanted us to be awarded the nobel prize. Since I respected my teacher, I got interested in nobel prize and dreamed to become a scientist. I also decided to become a teacher to motivate students to get interested in science. This is my starting point to think about nobel prize and my future career.

Three years have passed since I started my research project at my laboratory. I am going to continue my research project in a doctoral program (second semester) for the next 3 years. I decided to apply for and hopefully participated in this SIYSS seminar to reconsider my future career and make the rest of my student life more fruitful. In this report, I would like to focus on 3 points that I learned from this seminar.

The first point is how science is wonderful. When I teach science to students as a scientist, I think that it is important to tell students how attractive and fascinating science and research is in order to interest students in science. I thought I could find attractive points of science that I haven’t felt yet. Although the participants have different cultural backgrounds and different ways of thinking, I noticed that all of them were excited in science in common. We, the participants, discussed our research projects and shared our values. Besides, we had an opportunity to present our research project to about 1,600 resident high school students. They had strong scientific curiosity and actively listened and ask questions to us. Looking at their glittering eyes, I felt strong connection to them through science. Indeed, Ms. Asuka Hannya, one of SIYSS participants from Japan, wrote in her report, “One of the wonderful aspects in science is connecting various people beyond borders. Like arts and music, science can be used as a tool to make connections to people.” Through this seminar, I was able to realize as Ms. Hannya did and was impressed.

The second point is interaction with nobel laureates. Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi from Tokyo Institute of Technology was awarded the nobel prize for physiology and medicine this year. I and Mr. Kasuga listened to the professor’s nobel special lecture and fortunately obtained chances to talk with the professor in receptions. We, I and Mr. Kasuga, want to become a researcher in the future, so we asked what the professor gave consideration to research. We also asked what the professor believed to do for good research. The professor kindly and passionately answered that it was important to cherish relationships with collaborators because he believed cooperation with people was necessary to proceed research. He answered to the second the question that it was important to have a long-term vision and consider what I really wanted to do. Professor Ohsumi expressed his appreciation to collaborators and colleagues in the nobel special lecture. I realized how small I can do by myself and that I should cherish my laboratory members and collaborators outside my laboratory. Besides I learned that I should have a long-term vision when I considered a new research project.

The third point is precious experience. I really had valuable experiences so much, such as being dressed in tails at nobel prize award ceremony and at nobel banquet, talking with worldwide famous people at reception by nobel foundation and Japanese Embassy, and participating in nobel prize award ceremony in solemn atmosphere. Especially, I still remember the excitement and impression when professor Ohsumi was awarded the medal from the Swedish King in person and the hall was deeply resonated with the orchestra. I would like to share these valuable experiences with people around me.

I would like to make the rest of my doctoral course fruitful based on what I learned in this seminar. I would like to express my utmost appreciation to my laboratory members, teachers and family members for giving me warm understanding and supports. I also would like to express my sincere gratitude to Japan Prize Foundation for giving me a chance to join this event, to Mr. Ohashi for sharing his valuable last-year SIYSS experiences, and to SIYSS members for preparing this wonderful and well-organized seminar for a year. Finally, I sincerely appreciate my dearest friend Mr. Kasuga for participating this seminar together as Japan representatives.


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