Micro-/Nanotechnology

Spotlight on Professor Katsuhiko Ariga

The first thing I noticed about our new Editorial Board Member for Advanced Materials is that Professor Ariga is very on top of his emails. I was then delighted to discover his great sense of humour…

ariga_upsizedAt an immaculate desk at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan sits its Principal Investigator and Director of its Supermolecules Group, Katsuhiko Ariga – a man who probably spends quite a lot of time thinking about ‘nanoarchitectonics’. The term was coined in late 2000 and now gives the WPI Centre both its title and its prime research directive. It is, put simply, the ability to controllably arrange nanoscale structural units. The importance of this work was highlighted by a dedicated issue in Advanced Materials last year, which was co-guest edited by Professor Ariga and the Director-General and Chief Operating Officer of WPI.

The first thing I noticed about our new Editorial Board Member for Advanced Materials is that Professor Ariga is very on top of his emails. In spite of the amount of work that his position must bring him, within about ten minutes of receiving my correspondence request (at almost 11pm Japan time) he had informed me of his interest, and before 9am in Japan he had sent his responses to my questions. Already impressed, I was then delighted to discover his great sense of humour…

CONCERNING YOURSELF AND YOUR HABITS

Please describe your desk – is it perfectly organised, totally chaotic, or something in between?
Perfectly organized, once a month.

On a typical day, do you stop work and go out for lunch, or do you eat lunch at your desk while working?
I usually skip lunch.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?
Turn my computer on.

What is the first thing you do when you get home at night?
Turn my computer on.

When you have time off work, what do you enjoy doing?
Turn my computer on.

What was the last thing that you read (other than this email)?
Previous mails.

Do you have a favourite shirt? If yes, what does it look like?
Tight light-blue shirt with a large S at the front middle..

CONCERNING SCIENCE

What was your first (or most satisfying) ‘Aha!’ moment in research?
Ethyl acetate smells nice.

Do you have any scientific heroes/heroines?
Star Trek.

What is your favourite memory from your postgraduate studies in Austin, Texas?
Texas BBQ.

You have a lot of experience in project leadership. Do you enjoy this work, and is this what led to your move to NIMS in 2004?
YES. Leaders can have full freedom in research challenges.

As a scientist and author, and also as a new member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Advanced Materials, would you like to comment on the current state and future directions of scientific publishing?
Although various styles of publication will be tried within the next few years, people will finally realize good values of reliable and traditional publication styles by authorized publishers.

Your specialities in supermolecular chemistry and surface science allow you to do research across a broad range of scientific fields. This research diversity seems to be very important to the training and research ideals at MANA. What research topics in particular do you personally plan to pursue over the next 3 years?
Nanotechnology for everyone’s life (not nanotechnology for specialists).

If I understand correctly, the research at MANA, established 5 years ago, is focused toward very practical applications. Are any technologies created by the scientists at MANA already available to industries? If not, what do you think the first product will be?
Computers by atom switches from MANA. Molecular probes for visual Cs detection from my group.

AND FINALLY…

You began your studies at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. If you could give new students at the Institute one piece of advice on their first day, what would you tell them?
You do not have to be better than your friends, but you must be different from the others.

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