Caroline Rabot writes to Maki Kawai, Executive Director of RIKEN
Time flies... but it seems just like yesterday that we first met in Ikebukuro as I keep such wonderful and unforgettable memories of my 4 years' stay in your Laboratory as an International Program Associate.
I remain extremely grateful to you for giving me the great opportunity to do my Master internship and PhD under your supervision. For me, you were not just my supervisor, nor just one of the best scientists worldwide, nor just a famous Professor of TODAI (University of Tokyo), but most importantly a role model as a scientist with a truly inspiring leadership, a communicative enthusiasm toward science and a great spirit. This spirit is reflected in the Surface Chemistry Laboratory you built which is opened, international, and where excellence, collaboration, team spirit, curiosity and scientific honesty (a quality too often forgotten) were at the heart. I found in your Lab great research subjects and exciting people. Working with scientists from different countries and cultures was mutually and personally enriching. And for helping foreigners with administrative matters, the efficient and attentive support of the secretaries was always very valuable.
I was happy to hear that you became Executive Director of RIKEN and that you received the Chemical Society of Japan Award in 2009. I also admire the work you do in Japan to help young Japanese women scientists. You are an outstanding Laboratory Head and it is reflected in the success of your laboratory members who walk off with best undergraduate/master thesis award, conference prizes and become successful scientists, Professors and Laboratory Heads in renowned universities and companies.
Thanks to you, I could perform fascinating scientific works in surface science, molecular self-assembly and carbon nanotubes; gain a solid research experience with a large variety of instruments including UHV Low-Temperature STM at RIKEN Research Institute, Wako-shi campus, and X-ray spectroscopies at SPring-8 Synchrotron; attend many international and local conferences and grow up as a scientist. I learnt so much form you in these four years. I always keep in mind your advice such as among many others: ‘‘If you face with challenges you will realize that you are stronger than you thought’’. I am proud I can say I've been your first PhD student, and grateful you trusted me for it !
Currently I am working at CEA-Leti in Grenoble, France, as an R&D engineer in the field of Graphene, within a 7FP European project for industry-oriented applications in renewable energies. The experience I acquired in your laboratory in nanomaterials and a multicultural environment clearly plays an important role in my present work.
There are so many things I love in Japan but more than all I enjoyed so much the life among Japanese people. I will probably come back to Japan in the near future either for holidays or conference and I will be very pleased to meet you again. In the meantime, please let me know whenever you come to France !
Caroline Rabot, PhD