Bulletin of Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology
  kyurizukai interview  
06 Masaki Takahashi 3 Guiding students by emphasizing interaction with the outside world.

photoWhat else do you bear in mind as a university teacher?
      I’m trying to arrange so that activities of my students will not be confined to the lab but interact more and more with the outside world. In my opinion, exchanges with other universities and interaction with foreign people will prove valuable not only for their research activity here, but also for their lives even after graduation. For example, my students’ off-campus activities include participation in a space-related event held in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture, and an event (ARLISS) in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, U.S.A. that features the use of a rocket to launch a simulated satellite and recovering it. Another example is a student-initiated experiment class for flying PET bottle rockets as part of our Campus Festival.
      Though the participation in these events is not compulsory, many students are willingly participating thanks in part to support rendered by our lab’s OBs and OGs. Also, we are extending lab-wide full support to these events so that the students can concern themselves not as mere participants but play active parts as members of the event organizing body or as volunteer support staff. Though these initiatives, I would like them to experience project-based endeavors that require collaboration among participants through the whole process from design and manufacture to verification – valuable experiences rarely available from lab work that tends to be focused on PC-based simulations.
      The experiment class targeting elementary school children allows them to learn and experience the mechanism by which rockets can fly, as well as the phenomenon in which the distance of flight varies according to changing the angle of the rocket’s trajectory. I believe experiencing things themselves will remain as lasting impressions. When these children grow up and learn physics at high school, they may be able to develop their interest in this study if they can relate the theory to their past experience, saying “Now I understand why my rocket could fly at that time!” I would also like my lab students to realize the difficulty of teaching things to others.

Do you have any person who remains particularly outstanding in your memory?
      There is a famous robot specialist in an Italian university. An encounter with this researcher was really impressive. At that time I had just obtained a doctor’s degree. But the moment he learned that my specialty was control engineering, he approached me saying, “I’d like to discuss with you since, as a specialist in information engineering, my knowledge of control engineering is limited.” His attitude was very open, which made the discussion a very beneficial opportunity for information exchange. When you have thoroughly pursued your own specialty field, you inevitably find areas of study you need to know more about. At that time I realized that we need not feel ashamed of such lack of knowledge and that it is important for us to maintain our own specialist perspectives. I would like to convey this message to my students.

Just a word from . . .
A student: Mr. Takahashi is a truly reliable teacher, patiently and attentively watching us at all times and giving appropriate advice casually but precisely when needed. What’s more, he maintains a marvelous sense of balance as he well understands our part-time jobs and job-hunting activities. During our lab’s boarding camp, he sharply criticizes our presentations, while at the same time taking the initiative in a Futsal game. He is just like a stern yet gentle older brother.

(Reporter & text writer: Kaoru Watanabe)

 

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1 Became interested in dynamics and control engineering for the first time as a university student.
2 Mentor’s lecture revolutionized my awareness.
3 Guiding students by emphasizing interaction with the outside world.
Profile Masaki Takahashi With control engineering and intelligent control engineering as his specialties, Mr. Takahashi uses model base control technology to address research themes relating to mechanical control, intelligent robotics and space engineering, among others. He obtained a doctor’s degree at Keio University Graduate School of Science and Technology in 2004. He became a postdoctoral research fellow at Keio University in 2004, a research associate at Keio’s Faculty of Science and Technology in 2005, an assistant professor in 2007, and the current position as an associate professor in 2009.
 
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