Bulletin of Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology
  kyurizukai interview  
05 Citterio, Daniel 3 Why did I choose to become a researcher?

By the way, is your name Italian?
      Yes. This is because my ancestors immigrated from the northern part of Italy to Switzerland. My father was born in Switzerland while my mother had two nationalities: German and Swiss. My mother tongue is German.
      Incidentally, as a small boy I was not particularly interested in becoming a scientist. Rather, I wanted to become a pilot but gave up the dream because of weak eyesight. Somehow I was good at foreign languages (English, French, Italian and Latin) at school, which made my teacher recommend me to major in foreign languages in the future. Though I undoubtedly liked foreign language study, I didn’t think I would choose foreign language study itself as my profession.
      What I am today as a researcher may partially be the influence of a high school chemistry teacher who lived in a neighboring condominium. I still remember him telling me many things about chemistry while giving me a ride to school. At one time I was absorbed in a chemical experiment kit for junior high school students. Due to failure of an experiment one day, I discolored the wallpaper of my room into brown. (laughter) Anyway I loved experiments.

photoYou like to use your own hands to create something, don’t you?
      Yes, I do. In fact, I’m also good at cooking. In a way cooking is similar to chemical experiments, you know. In Japan I’ve been living in the Hiyoshi area. Living a single-life, when I have time I often invite friends or some of my students and treat them to dishes of my own cooking. Though Japanese dishes are too complicated to cook, cheese fondue and the like are my favorite items to cook.
      Since I like to move not only my hands but also the whole body, I often enjoy outdoors on days off – activities like cycling, skiing and hiking. I was surprised to find few young Japanese people taking up hiking as outdoor recreation. Given superb scenic attractions in Japan, I’d like more and more students to enjoy what nature has to offer. I recover vitality needed for research work through such outdoor leisure activities.

Just a word from . . .
A student: Daniel-san is frank and easy to communicate with. All of us follow him like one of our seniors. Not only does he allow whatever we like to challenge, but also he is always willing to give advice. He is a truly reliable teacher.

(Reporter & and text writer: Madoka Tainaka)


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1 Coming to Japan to broaden my horizons in life
2 Japan has a favorable environment for researchers
3 Why did I choose to become a researcher?
Profile Citterio, Daniel By creating and combining functional materials (dyes, polymers, etc.), his research work focuses on the development of (bio) chemical sensors for application in industrial, medical, and environmental analysis. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, he graduated from the Department of Chemistry of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) in 1992 and obtained his Doctor degree from the same school in 1998. After postdoctoral research at Keio University, he became a research associate at ETHZ. Through postgraduate studies, he obtained a Masters degree in Intellectual Property and joined a Swiss chemical manufacturer as a patent attorney. In 2006, he returned to Keio University, were he became a tenured Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Chemistry in 2009.

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