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Messages from Staff (Dr. Togawa)

On the occasion of promotion to tenure position (Jan. 2014)

I have just launched the laboratory as Principal Investigator with a tenure in the Department of Physics and Electronics, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka Prefecture University. I sincerely appreciate your kind support.

I have moved my research position four times since I was an undergraduate student, and have drastically changed my research theme each time I moved to a new place. I always feel insecure, but I try to enjoy conducting my research driven by new ideas, challenges, and the pleasure of exploring the unknown world. One of the most dramatic scenes in the research activity is the moment of discovery. I am always getting excited when seeing something new, even if it is a tiny thing. I can say that, to come across such an eureka moment, I try to create and challenge new ideas for my research. This is my way to enjoy science.

I have been working on experimental studies on various topics in the field of condensed matter physics. I feel indeed that it is very hard to perform experiments to illuminate the essence of the phenomena. For this purpose, we need to conduct the experiments with deep self-consideration, good ideas, and a firm belief. I have also learned the importance of developing original experimental techniques. Another aspect is to have a flexible and motivated mind to always give it a try. In any case, while I continue performing the experiments with facing many difficulties, I sometimes happen to encounter intereting phenomena in nature.

When performing research, communication with people around us is very instructive. Such conversations make me realize how I do not understand the essence of things. It is very important and difficult to express my understanding in my own words. This is propably because, unless we comprehend the things in all aspects, we are far from capturing the essence of things. In research, we frequently face many unknowns and doubts. First, try to explain the experimental results without any biased perception. Then, the things become clearer and clearer. Eventually the world we are able to comprehend is broadening.

However, what I can see and think of by myself is very limited. I appreciate that there are many people in the world and we are able to communicate with them when we look for the opportunity. The communication sometimes helps us to have in mind a variety of ideas and leads to the unexpected progress. We can experience the process on how the idea can be developed and applied to our research problems. Such a self-organized connection between humans is also the reason why the research is very enjoyable.

There are many good aspects in the communication and it is definitely one of the shortcuts to make the research progress. The laboratory is a small framework to make such communications. An ideal atomosphere in the laboratory would enable all members to discuss their topics with free and open mind.

The ideas mentioned above hold even in the daily life, isn't it? Let us replace the word 'research' with 'work', 'study', 'play' and etc. I am wondering we can foster a mind of flexible and divergent thinking through experiencing a research activity. (I am still on the way, though...) Then, this experience leads to the strength to live and strive in the modern world. The research itself is great fun. However, it is only the story in the very very narrow world. I wish the research activity provides the opportunity to foster the richness of the mind and heart.

I am likely to be off topic. Moving to the Department of Physics and Electronics is the beginning of a great new challenge. I would ask those who would enjoy research together to join me in this fascinating quest. Feel free to join me for further discussions.

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On the completion of the research activity as a tenure track member (Dec. 2013)

Time has passed so quickly, and it is already five years since I started working at Osaka Prefecture University (OPU) as a Tenure-Track Lecturer in January, 2009. Eventually, I have gained the opportunity to perform research and educational activities as a faculty member with a tenure in OPU from January, 2014. When I think back to the day of my arrival, I remember there was a desk, a chair, and nothing else in my laboratory, and I started my research activities almost from scratch. Together with students, staff members, and colleagues in the tenure-track program, we made efforts to catch the opportunity to find office furniture such as desks and book shelves. These were gifted (provided at free charge!) from other faculty members in Namakozu campus in OPU because many members needed to move the laboratory between the buildings due to the rearrangement of the departments or earthquake strengthening work.

The tenure-track system is a new initiative at Osaka Prefecture University, and my research activities are now getting on track, thanks to warm support from inside and outside of the university, and also due to the ardent efforts of students who have taken up the challenge to join the tenure-track lab.

In particular, I am delighted at my research results: I began new research at Osaka Prefecture University and it is bearing fruit. For instance, spin electronics using chiral magnetism is one of the main subjects in the laboratory. This project, focusing on the concept of chirality and robust spin phase coherence in magnetic textures, is a pioneering work in the community and we hope that we can open up a new research field.

It will still take a long time for these new results to win acclaim from the academic and industrial world. However, the good news is that there are many systems to support ambitious research challenges. I continuously work on new research at Osaka Prefecture University; Therefore, I appreciate your further support and cooperation.