Bulletin of Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology
  kyurizukai interview  
07 Junko Hayase Requisite for pursuit of research are a challenger  spirit and the ability to concentrate.

Dr. Hayase is one of the few female researchers in Japan specializing in quantum-mechanical optoelectronics. Though it is difficult to imagine from her soft and gentle appearance and manners, as a high school student she belonged to her school’s rowing club and was powerful enough to place fourth in the national high-school competition. Using her bodily strength and power of concentration nurtured through club activities, Dr. Hayase has forged her own way as a researcher.

 

Turning point in my life: an encounter  with a high-school physics teacher

How did you spend your childhood? Were you good at science as a young schoolgirl?
      Though I have little memory of my childhood, my parents often said that I had been a very inquisitive girl always asking “why?”, but I’m sure I was not particularly good at science.
      I was born in Fukushima Prefecture where everything is easy and slow. So I remember that I didn’t study hard as an elementary schoolgirl. In my junior high school days my family moved to Saitama Prefecture and I went on to a prefectural senior high school. An encounter with a physics teacher was inspiring and marked a significant turning point in my life.
      Speaking of high-school physics classes, it’s usually the case that students mostly tackle the textbook and solve numerical calculation-oriented problems rather than making physical experiments. But my teacher was different. In our physics class, conducting an experiment was an integral part of study, which made students think about “why.” When it comes to regular examinations, the teacher rarely gave calculation-oriented problems but instead posed questions like “Describe why so.” As a thinking type of student by nature, my encounter with this teacher awakened my interest in physics. That said, becoming a researcher still remained an almost unreachable dream for me back in those days.
      This is because as a member of my high school’s rowing club, I had spent most of my time for club activities including participation in the inter-high school rowing competition. Up until September of my third year in high school (when the National Athletic Meet was held), I had literally devoted myself to club activity. So I studied little to prepare for university entrance examinations. Instead, I was admitted via recommendation to the Department of Physics, Sophia University.

photoBut you couldn’t be recommended by your high school unless your day-to-day performance was good, could you?
      Maybe it was thanks mainly to my increased physical strength and enhanced power of concentration that was developed through my club activities. I used my strength and power of concentration to the fullest to steer through the vital high-school examination. To tell the truth, I had never attended a cram school. And I received a trial university entrance examination only once. The examination I took as a recommendation-based applicant involved no calculation. In fact, it was the so-called thesis type examination in which all the questions given were of the style “Explain such and such.” It was amazingly fit for me (laughter).

 

 

1 Turning point in my life: an  encounter with a high-school  physics teacher
2 Seeking a research career to  achieve something innovative
3 I’ve been always natural, not  particularly conscious of being  “female”.
Profile Junko Hayase Dr. Hayase’s specialty is quantum optoelectronics. Specifically, she engages in studies regarding optical properties of nanostructured semiconductors based on the use of ultrashort light pulses, quantum control, and application of quantum information. Ms. Hayase acquired a doctor’s degree (science) at Sophia University. Before being assigned to the current position as an associate professor of Keio University’s Faculty of Science and Technology in 2010, Dr. Hayase served as a fellow researcher at RIKEN’s basic science laboratory, a fellow researcher at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), 
a researcher at the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s (JST) “PRESTO (Sakigake)” system, and a research associate professor at the University of Electro-Communications’ Education and Research Center for Advanced Studies. In 2009, she was awarded the “Young Scientist’s Prize” by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
 
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