International travel and engineering research. You'd think these two conflicting phrases would form an oxymoron of sorts; after all, where does the engineering major find the time to go abroad amidst a mountain of course requirements and summers packed with internships? NanoJapan is one attempt at breaking this misconception by bridging nanotechnology research with an international experience in one of the most fascinating cultures in the world. After all, tomorrow's problems won't be limited by national borders or language barriers. To successfully tackle the global issues of the future, we will need to use the latest scientific discoveries and engineering designs from researchers across the planet.
On a more personal level, NanoJapan is a proving grounds for both my research aptitude and my career goals, and this research experience is likely to be one of many more I hope engage in on the subject of carbon nanotubes and materials science throughout the rest of my four years at Rice and beyond. I'm also excited about the chance to brush up on some rusty Japanese so I can go to restaurants and order legitimate Osaka-style okonomiyaki, if only to prove that my own attempts at making the pancake-like cuisine myself were indeed hopeless from the start. Indeed, on the weekends, or whenever I'm not working on THz spectroscopy, I plan on soaking in all I can about the culture and people that surround me. Because when you think about it, twelve weeks isn't a lot of time to explore all that Japan or nanotechnology has to offer.