1 Jul 2011

A taste of life at OIST

On June 29, three young students from Jr. High Schools in Onna village, Asato Shinjo from Onna Jr. High School, Hayato Adam Cooper from Nakadomari Jr. High School, and Minami Matsuo from Yamada Jr. High School, visited OIST to take part in a one-day work experience program.

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Taking a tour of Lab facilities (From left: Asato Shinjo, Hayato Adam Cooper and Minami Matsuo)

To start the day, students introduced themselves in front of dozens of OIST staff. They looked nervous but excited. John Dickson, Director of Facilities and Construction Division at OIST, took the students to the tour of the campus and explained about “Sky Walk”, a bridge over the valley connecting the Center Building and Lab 2. Ms. Matsuo said “I am impressed how OIST is minimizing harm to the environment.” In front of an electron microscope, Ms. Matsuo said “I didn’t know that scientists use this huge machine to see tiny things. I am very surprised.” They also had a chance to visit the Laboratory 2 construction site. Teachers from each high school also participated in the tour and presentations.

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Dr. Shimanuki giving an explanation of Electron Microscope
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Students visiting Lab 2 construction site
 

After the tour, the students were invited to the President’s office, and talked with Dr. Jonathan Dorfan, OIST President-elect, about their ambitions, dreams and favorite subjects in school. After lunch with some OIST staff, they had a demonstration of the robots at Dr. Doya Kenji’s Unit and listened carefully to the explanation of how the researchers are studying the systems in the brain by developing the robots. Mr. Shinjo said, “If the research on this subject is improved more, I think there will be a robot that will play an important role in our lives.”

 
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Dr. Jonathan Dorfan and students
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Students taking a look at the robots at Dr.Doya’s unit.
 

Asked her impression of her job experience at OIST, Ms. Matsuo said, "OIST is not all researchers. There are lots of people doing many other types of jobs.” Mr. Shinjo commented that “I learned that researchers here are working together to advance science,” and Mr. Cooper said about his experience in Dr. Doya’s Unit, “When I was playing with robots, I was amazed by how the robot reacted to particular colors and how it moved its body parts.”

 
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Students visiting Interstitial Space (ISS) locating above the lab
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This article is based on comments and opinions made by the three students in the last session of the day entitled: “Let’s Write a Story for the World’s Most Popular Website.”