Research and Life in Japan by a JSPS Fellow
Dr. Gad Mohamed El-Qady came to Japan from Egypt in October 2003 under a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship. He is conducting research in geophysics with his host Prof. Keisuke Ushijima in the Faculty of Engineering at Kyushu University. Prof. Ushijima, who was also Dr. El-Qady's faculty supervisor when he was a graduate student, said about him, "He works extremely hard and always displays a smiley, bright personality, and can be depended upon to look after the overseas and other students in our lab."
You originally came to Japan in 1997 as a graduate student under a scholarship from the Japanese Education Ministry, didn't you?
Yes, that's true. In the beginning, my proposed PhD study was related to geo-physical exploration for geothermal resources and groundwater. Research on this topic had been advanced in Japanese institutes.
What is the subject of your current research work under the JSPS fellowship?
My current research is related to 3D imaging of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines using electrical and electro-magnetic methods. I have successfully applied a time-domain electromagnetic (TEM) technique to devise a prototype survey for detecting buried landmines. It can be used for conducting balloon-borne surveys, which eliminate the risks of ground surveys in mine fields.
How did you become interested in your research field?
During my master's studies, I learned about the problem of landmines and UXO in Egypt, which ranks first among nations plagued with this hazard. During my PhD work, I had many discussions with my host researcher (PhD supervisor) about the application of geophysics in reducing the risk of searching for UXO and landmines.
What merits do you find in conducting your research in Japan?
Japanese institutions have stability in funding, planning and research implementation, which makes Japan a stable place to do research. An unstable research environment is reflected in the outcome of one's work. Given the good research environment and the high level of Japanese institutions, one of the main merits of doing research in Japan is the enhanced stimulus one receives in forming research concepts. Moreover, thanks to Japan's economic facilities, one is able to join many international conferences, which enables direct contact and discussion with other professionals in the same field.
What do you usually do outside of your research work?
Among my various activities on campus, I enjoy spending my spare time in the cultural exchanges with friends, both foreign and Japanese. I find these to be good opportunities to tell others about my Arabic and Islamic culture. For instant, I enjoy attending and moderating cultural seminars at Kyushu University, particularly those on Arabic and Islamic culture. When I was a graduate student, I and some friends established the Kyushu University Muslim Students Association, to which I now act as sort of a senior advisor. Also, I sometimes use my weekends to stay at the homes of Japanese families or to go on picnics or outings with my family.
I'd like to finish with some advice you might give someone about to begin a JSPS fellowship?
To get a JSPS fellowship is not easy; hence, when you receive one you are lucky. So try as much as you can to seize the opportunity and enrich and broaden your research experience. At the same time, try to get close to the Japanese people and learn more about their culture, especially if it is your first time to be in Japan. Of course, you must practice Japanese and enhance your language skills.
Interview by JSPS Fellows Plaza
|JSPS Quarterly No.12 2005|