In this page one of the graduate students in SOKENDAI introduces his life.
Life of a graduate student
Here I introduce actual weekly research life of graduate students in SOKENDAI with my experiments.
Although SOKENDAI is a university, main research activity of graduate students are carried out in an inter-university research institute corresponding to each specialty. In the case of the department of particle and nuclear physics, it is the high energy accelerator research organization (KEK). Therefore, our weekly life style is somewhat different from that at a laboratory in ordinary universities.
For example, in the theory group, journal club (introduction of research papers by members in our laboratory) is held on Mondays and Fridays, and seminars are regularly given by researchers from outside on Tuesdays (the seminars are often held even on other days). The frequency of journal club and seminars is probably very high compared to the laboratories in other universities. Many famous Japanese and foreign researchers visit to give a seminar. It seems that this high frequency comes from the large size of this institute itself and the large number of reseachers in this institute. But we can safely state that this high frequency indicates how energetic the research activity in KEK is.
It is characteristic of SOKENDAI rather than the inter-university research institute that lectures are given in every week. These lectures are satisfactory. I have heard that there are many cases that, in the doctor course in ordinary graduate schools, lectures are not provided in actual and only credits are given even if these lectures are included in the curriculum. This probably applies to almost all the universities in Japan. In Europe and America, however, sufficient lectures are provided in the doctor course and students are re-educated from the beginning. Therefore, I sometimes hear the criticism that Japanese researchers do not stand on a sound basis compared to European and American. So sufficient lectures are provided in SOKENDAI in order to avoid such a situation. Although we have learned a general knowledge for 4 years in the undergraduate course and 2 years in the master course in principle, we actually have obtained only uncertain knowledge in many fields, and misunderstood quite many things. Moreover, you may have experience that even if you have not be able to understand anything about one topic at all before, you can understand everything about it unexpectedly easily after you have studied various things to some extent. Therefore, I think that lectures for graduate students in the doctor course are very meaningful. Since the number of graduate students in SOKENDAI is not so large, the classes necessarily have a small number of the audience, and we can ask questions freely in the relaxed atmosphere.
I address my research subject when no seminars and lectures are held. This style is the same as graduate students in other universities. But I feel that the faculty members of KEK supervise us very closely compared to other universities. This is probably because the proportion of the number of supervisors to that of graduate students is large in SOKENDAI. There are many young researchers such as postdocs in KEK as might be expected of an inter-university research institute. Thus, there are enough people to disscuss. We sometimes have a heated discussion even in the lunch time.
Of course it is not the case that we always do nothing but study. We sometimes need to take a rest. In our laboratory tea party is held in the afternoon on Fridays. In this party we enjoy various confectionaries and snacks, having a pleasant chat. The most relaxed atmosphere prevails in our group at this time of a week.
One week has passed like this. Of course, the weekly life introduced here is my own weekly life. If you will be admitted to SOKENDAI, then please look for and find out your weekly life here.