NanoJapan Research Project Overview
My research project involved coating a prepared and cleaned substrate in a solution containing both a polymer and a solvent. These polymers would then self assemble, through a process called microphase separation, into a pattern which would cover the surface. This type of patterning could prove to be very useful for nanotechnology research, as it presents a “bottom-up” approach to fabrication of nanoscale structure.
Though the research I performed at RIKEN would ultimately not mesh with my graduate school research decisions, the experience was invaluable. Research skills are universal, and the application of the scientific method to data which you have obtained in a self-guided project has proved to be a useful platform for my future scientific progress. Not to mention the international aspect of the research, which is clearly a valuable skill to have. The research I performed in this multi-cultural environment has definitely had a beneficial effect on my future.
Meaning of NanoJapan
Solely considering the international approach to science that NanoJapan presents, the program is immeasurably useful. I think international experience is a must in today's society, and NanoJapan is an excellent way to get that experience. However, when you combine the fact that nanotechnology is an exciting and quickly-growing field, and that you are studying in Japan (a clear leader in the field), the opportunity is simply unbeatable.
I chose to participate in the program in order to gain this experience and learn more about the opportunities presented by a scientific career. In addition, I have a deep interest in the culture and language of Japan, which I continue to study to this day.
Daily Life in Japan
My research experience during the summer presented my first opportunity to be self-sufficient on a day-to-day basis. And even though it was rather stressful experiencing this in another country, I think it was a great chance for me to learn about myself.
Living in Japan is similar to that of any other developed country, with a few stark differences. The delicious food is of course very unique to Japan, and the preparation of it is a matter of national pride. Traveling is another major difference, and one that was definitely a great experience. Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis but it still remains deeply interconnected. This makes exploring the city and meeting new people much easier. Traveling within Tokyo or around Japan proved to be a wonderful challenge, but one that was vastly rewarding.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
...getting lost in the crowds of downton Tokyo.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
... known a little bit more Japanese.