Quarterly TOP gj

Series: Research and Life in Japan by a JSPS Fellow (1)


Dr. Robert A. Goehlich is conducting research in Japan as a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow. [www.robert-goehlich.de] In 2003, he obtained his doctorate in aerospace engineering from Technical University Berlin in Germany. From August of that year, he began conducting research under the fellowship at Ohkami Laboratory, Department of System Design Engineering, Keio University. He had met his host, Prof. Yoshiaki Ohkami, at a symposium on spaceflight in France the previous year.

Dr. Goehlich is engaged in research entitled "Designing a Passenger Space Transportation System from a Cost Engineering Approach." At the same time, he has given what he says to be a first-in-the-world lecture series on "Space Tourism," which has been made the subject of a credited course offered at the university. His intent is not just to give technically oriented lectures for students in the field of space science, but also to use the novel topic of space tourism to arouse interest in space science among students of other fields as well. That is, he wants to breathe new energy into space science research in Japan. The lectures he gives at Keio University are also attended by students from other universities in the Tokyo vicinity. They attract master's and doctoral students whose majors range from aerospace engineering, physics and computer science to economics and art.

We took the opportunity of this interview to ask Dr. Goehlich about his impressions on doing research and living in Japan.

  Dr. Robert A. Goehlich and participants

What do you think about the research environment in Japan?
Dr. Goehlich: Though my experience is limited to my host university, it appears that Japanese universities are open to new ideas. My lecture on space tourism is one example: Though unique in contrast to previous courses offered at the university, a course on space tourism was established only two months after my arrival in Japan. I must admit, however, that this might be an exceptional case. Though not limited to the research environment per se, I must say I like the very solicitous and friendly behavior of the Japanese. On the other hand, what puzzles me somewhat is the way Japanese treat problems by not discussing them until a solution is found, which seems to be fine for both parties.

What do you do outside your research work?
Dr. Goehlich: In my free time, I practice karate and play tennis. On the weekends, I go on trips with my colleagues at the lab, or I participate in events sponsored by the German Embassy, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and other international exchange organizations. Also, three times a week, I go to school to study Japanese.

Do you have a message for young researchers who have not yet done research in Japan?
Dr. Goehlich: In Japan, including at my lab, I have found a new environment, one in which I can draw inspiration from my Japanese colleagues. It's my belief that when one is young, more fruits can be gained from doing research with a team than is possible by working alone. Given the importance it places on cooperation among team members, Japan provides an ideal research environment from this perspective.


London Office

Symposium "Governing University Research: Historical and Comparative Perspectives"
The University of Glasgow, 9-11 September 2004

Stockholm Office

Forum "Frontiers in Life Science"
The Nobel Forum, Stockholm, 13 October 2004

Strasbourg Office

Forum "The Universe: Origin, Evolution, Future"
Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, 19 November 2004


For FY 2004
JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers (Short-term)

Application deadline from host institution to JSPS: 9-13 August 2004

For FY 2005
JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowships for Foreign Researchers (Standard)
JSPS Invitation Fellowships for Research in Japan (Short/Long-term)

Application deadline from host institution to JSPS: 6-10 September 2004

For details, ask a prospective host researcher or visit our website.


Doppler-Free High Resolution Spectral Atlas of Iodine Molecule 15000 to 19000 cm-1

By Hajime Katô et al., Kobe University; four volumes (4,000 pages with CD-ROM); ¥60,000 [about $550] plus delivery. For details and ordering, see: www.jsps.go.jp/english/e-rftf/gaiyo/gaiyo_publication.html

Life in Japan for Foreign Researchers 2002

The handbook contains useful information on living, working, housing, banking, medical services, etc; 230 pages in English & Japanese; ¥1,680 [about $15] plus delivery. For details, ask Maruzen bookstore: fax +81-3-3272-0693 or email e-shop@maruzen.co.jp