Thanks to the invitation of Prof. Hajime Ishihara, I visited Osaka from 29th April to 2nd May 2023.
I arrived in Osaka on Saturday (29th Apr). On 30th Apr (Sunday) I headed out to visit the famous Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto with 2 PhD students from Ishihara’s group : Hideki Arahari and Takao Horai
Apart from the temple, we had a wonderful time exploring the Nishiki Market and Kamo river.
On 1st May, I visited Osaka University to officially meet Prof Ishihara, his group and other research groups in the university. We had a wonderful discussion on optical manipulation and major projects related to it especially in Japan, and undoubtedly Osaka has emerged as a major center in optical manipulation.
I was delighted to see so many students and research groups interested in optical trapping/manipulation and related science and technology. I learnt about some very interesting applications of optical manipulation. Also, it was great to see such a great sense of humor in this group of researchers. It was truly amazing.
I also visited labs of Prof. Ashida and Prof Ito, and got a very nice overview of their work including optical manipulation in liquid helium and photochemical reactions in an optical trap.
At 4pm, I gave my talk on “Optical Manipulation based on Opto-Thermal Gradients“. I elaborated on the role of absorption and related thermal gradient in optical manipulation. I presented some of our ongoing work on optical manipulation with structured light. The talk was attended by at least 30 to 40 people, and I was informed that students from various groups in Osaka were present (there are a few universities). The quality of questions and the follow up discussion was very good, and really enjoyed it.
Finally, the day ended with a wonderful dinner at a tofu-themed Japanese restaurant. We had wonderful discussion on history and philosophy in our countries, and was very interesting.
My trajectory in Japan has been Yokohama –> Tokyo –> Okinawa –> Osaka. After 16 days, one conference talk and 4 research seminar across Japan, I am now heading back from Osaka to Tokyo (and writing this blog) on Shinkansen – the bullet train. Tomorrow, I will be leaving to India.
In Japanese, the word ‘Osaka’ also means ‘a large hill’. Japan’s geography has many large hills (see a picture of Mt. Fuji I took from the moving Shinkansen), and metaphorically speaking Japanese like to scale complex landscapes of life by bringing culture with science and technology. There is a lot to learn from this approach to life.
Osaka, optical manipulation and the perennial ascent towards knowledge. What a memorable trip this has been.
To Japan and to all the people I met here – Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu !