28 Years Nurturing Human Qualities in the Lab

Public Relations Office        May 30, 2017

Aiming to be a world research center for molecular spectroscopy

Yukihiro Ozaki Lab

28 Years Nurturing Human Qualities in the Lab

The Yukihiro Ozaki Lab is one of the largest in the School of Science and Technology, with a striking number of overseas students and female students. The vibrant, cheerful atmosphere in the lab is also a striking feature. The Lab conducts research in the field of molecular spectroscopy, which investigates the structure and properties of molecules skills, social skills, and research skills.

28 Years Nurturing Human Qualities in the Lab

Just as basic training is essential for any athlete to achieve victory in a game, Professor Ozaki believes that it is important that researchers possess basic academic skills, such as physics, chemistry, and English.

He has also proactively accepted international students as a way of elevating the social skills and international qualities of the Lab’s members. So far, more than 70 researchers and students from countries such as China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Poland, have passed through the Ozaki Lab’s doors. This has naturally cultivated an atmosphere that is accepting of diversity in the Lab.

Post-doctoral fellow Sanpon Vantasin, who obtained his doctorate at the Lab, says, ‘The facilities here are wonderful, and you can conduct world-class research here. There is also a lot of joint research being conducted with businesses, and there is so much to learn. My dream for the future is to return to Thailand, where I will become a professor and take my research further.’ One feature of the Lab is that about half of its members are women, with many female students who are interested in international exchange drawn to the Lab’s cosmopolitan atmosphere. It has constantly had role models for female leaders. Under the Lab’s policy of continuously researching and presenting their findings, and encouraging students to attend international conferences, the Ozaki Lab’s students are being trained on a daily basis.

This is because, to grow as researchers, students need to experience success at an early stage. First-year Master student, Yui Yasui, commented, ‘The research and conference presentations are tough, but I can work hard because I’m given the freedom to do it myself. If I run into difficulties, someone will listen to me, and in the course of talking about it, the reason I stumbled becomes clearer and I can come up with a solution myself.’

To prepare for international academic conferences in late November and December, all of the Lab’s members gathered together to practice their presentations in English, just like the real thing. Second-year Master student, Kana Morimoto, is excited about the prospect. ‘I regularly conduct joint research with international students, so I’m not afraid of presenting in English.

This is my third time attending an international conference. They give me the opportunity to learn about the research being done by people in a variety of countries and to broaden my own knowledge.’ Koji Watari made the deliberate decision to join the
Ozaki Lab precisely because he has difficulty speaking in front of people. ‘There are a lot of opportunities to give presentations, and I found it hard at first, but by repeating the experience over and over, I’ve gained more confidence. Everybody at the Lab gets on really well, which makes it easier to try, without being afraid of making mistakes. It has made me more interested in working in a job in the future where I would be involved with others.’ Second-year Master student, Shohei Uemura, who won the Best Poster Award at the conference of the Japan Society of Applied Physics Kansai Chapter, said, ‘At the Lab, we submit a lot of papers and poster presentations, and they often win awards. This makes for a very stimulating environment. I am very happy that my own work has been acknowledged on this occasion.’

Professor Ozaki recalled, ‘It’s not as if everything went well right from the start. Clearly declaring the Lab’s goal of becoming a world research center for molecular spectroscopy,incorporating diversity, and encouraging independence resulted in the creation of this environment, and that set up a virtuous circle. This will be the last year of the Ozaki Lab, but I hope that everyone who has passed through this Lab will use the outcomes of their work here to give back to the world.’