It is our great pleasure to have an IMEG retreat here in Aso mountain. We used to have one every summer, but this is the first retreat since 2010.
Our institute and university were severely damaged by the terrible earthquakes last year. You may have noticed on the way to this hotel that the recovery is still not complete. The outer wall of our institute also requires further repair, but our science was restored amazingly fast. I would like to thank all of you for your tremendous contributions for the recovery. I hope you will have fruitful two days in this retreat.
Basically, science depends on your own ideas. However, interactions with other scientists are also important to promote your science. You may come across people with good ideas or techniques, not in international meetings in US or Europe, but here in Kumamoto. Especially after the earthquakes, we have become a good team, as you may agree. This is a good opportunity to discuss your science with our colleagues in the team Kumamoto.
However, please note that very few people kindly come up to you and teach you how to do your experiments. It is yourself to find good ideas. No one knows better than you about your project . Please talk to many people. By explaining your project to other people, you can re-organize your thoughts and data, and by incorporating inputs from other people, you will finally hit upon good ideas.
Another important merit of this retreat is making friends. Even though their research is not related to yours at present, you may collaborate with them in 10-20 years. It is even possible that you may experience a big earthquake in the future somewhere in Japan, and your old friends may help you. Actually this happened to me last year. Friends are your treasure. Drink beer and make friends.
I should mention another important point: that is research ethics. A few days ago, a very famous professor was accused of research misconducts.This is not a problem that happened in a remote filed of science. I would like you, especially young scientists, to ask yourself why you do science. While I admit our curiosity drives our science, I do not want you to use science as a tool. Science is not a tool for us to survive or to be famous. Science is a goal for us. You do not need to obtain fancy results at all times. Instead pursue correct and honest results. When you face a difficult problem to judge, choose the best way for science, even though it does not benefit yourself. In other words, love science better than yourself.
With these points in mind, let’s start the retreat.