Zoltan Elekes (Institute of Nuclear Research)
Dr. Tohru Motobayashi
Heavy Ion Nuclear Physics Laboratory
RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science
Wako-city, Saitama, Japan.
Dear Dr. Motobayashi,
I clearly remember my first stay in Japan in 2001 when I met you at Rikkyo University. We had our first personal discussion there about a RIKEN experiment performed in a joint effort with my home institute, ATOMKI, in Hungary. Your field of interest, nuclear structure studies with radioactive ion beams, was relatively new to me at that time. I was truly impressed by your warm welcome and scientific intelligence, which inspired me to spend my postdoctoral years under your auspices.
I started my two-year Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) fellowship in your newly established laboratory at RIKEN in 2002. Those first days were memorable because we had to build everything from scratch. I will never forget how much you and your colleagues helped me to collect the necessary items in order to furnish a small workshop to fabricate about 300 CsI(Tl) detectors for our commonly developed array. I was also introduced to the details of the routinely used techniques and methods, which I appreciated very much. This was so successful that I was given the opportunity to direct my own radioactive ion beam experiments with the invaluable assistance of the laboratory fellows. These measurements led to important discoveries in the areas of ‘island of inversion’, changing of ‘magic’ numbers in exotic nuclei and valence neutron decoupling phenomenon near the neutron drip line.
Not only did my scientific career get a boost in Japan, but socially my wife and I also experienced a different world. From the beginning, we were surrounded by a polite and responsive environment, particularly when we needed help or were hungry for information about travel, food, and home electronics. We found real friends in Japan. We treasure the time we could spend hiking in the beautiful mountains, eating never-tasted and never-imagined food, exploring the remains of ancient Japan and watching sumo wrestling in the arena. Since returning to Hungary in 2004, we badly miss these pieces of our Japanese life.
Fortunately, since returning to ATOMKI, you and I have been able to work in close cooperation and continue our fruitful projects. Due to the recent upgrade of the RIKEN Accelerator Facility to a so-called Radioactive Ion Beam Factory, unprecedented possibilities have opened up. With the abundant number of exotic beams of isotopes of world-leading intensities, we can extend our investigations to further unexplored regions of nuclei. The RIKEN–ATOMKI collaboration agreement signed recently provides us with a solid base to further deepen our relationship in the future.
With my best regards,
Institute of Nuclear Research (ATOMKI)