Thursday, April 30, 2009

my résume

Bài này Dr. Kimi viết đăng trên một tờ báo ở Nhật. Ông Kat chuyển dịch lại qua tiếng Anh. Đây chỉ là trích đoạn của một phần đời của ông và vợ. Cảm động đến bùi ngùi.
It was the summer of 1990 when Terry suffered from a headache that was so severe that she almost lost consciousness. After that she declined slowly, but steadily and lost cheerfulness. In the autumn, she won the Behring Kitasato Prize for “The study of mast cells and elucidating the mechanism of allergy.” She was the first woman scientist to be so honored. Her mother, then alive, was exuberant.
In the spring of 1991, Terry was suspected of having Parkinson’s Disease. Her major symptom was low back pain. There were no significant neurological symptoms. The CT scan detected no abnormalities. However, she started to worry about the possibility that she was suffering from a terminal disease.
The other problem we faced in 1992 was that the health of both Terry’s mother and Dr. Keizo Nakamura, the mentor of myself and Terry’s, declined seriously. We flew to Japan a couple of times a year to visit them. Terry visited her mother more often no matter how bad her Parkinson’s was. Terry’s mother died in 1993. The frequent travel to Japan accelerated the progress of Parkinson’s. Because of the illness, she decided to retire at the end of 1993 and wrote her last review article on mast cells.
Terry and I exchanged cards on our anniversary and Christmas every year. Her last card was the one on our anniversary in 1994. It said, “Now I resign myself to my fate. I just appreciate that I live every day. You loved me so deeply for the past 45 years.
I am sorry about any inconvenience that my illness imposes on you. I love you forever.
Forgive my leaving you behind.”
To us scientists, Mother Nature has the absolute power. Both Terry and I had no choice but to accept the rigorous rules.
How we are right now
Two-and one-half years after we moved back to Japan, Terry became unable to swallow. Since then, she has been hospitalized in Yamagata University Hospital. It has been six -and one-half years now. I go to her room in the hospital everyday before nine o’clock in the morning and stay there until five or six in the afternoon. I talk to her and play a music CD to stimulate her brain. She cannot speak any more. However, she understands what I tell her. While she is asleep, I write emails and manuscripts. In the field of allergy, I could not study the strategy of how to prevent allergy. I no longer have the opportunity to perform experiments, although I am busy discussing this issue with scientists at Riken Allergy and Immunology Research Center.
What surprised me when I moved to Japan after 35 years was that the way of thinking has drastically changed during my absence. Students’ first priority is to go to a prestigious school just for job security. The elite care about fame. In my youth, basic researchers did not expect anything like that. Nevertheless, we jumped into this job because we were fascinated by the beauty in nature and science. Terry and I shared this enthusiasm.
No matter what a basic researcher discovers, it has been created by Mother Nature, and not a human being. Nevertheless, the beauty within attracts and moves scientists. A basic scientist should be satisfied when he or she discovers the beauty of nature, even though nobody praises them. If you can’t feel like this, you should not work in science.
However, this type of work does not contribute to the economy. Unless somebody finds out how to make use of basic discoveries, this type of research cannot be a profession. Fortunately, what Terry and I discovered turned out to be useful for many more people than we had expected. This was the reason why I was given The Japan Prize. I am simply happy that our discovery was helpful to other scientists.
When I got married, I was concerned whether the marriage would be disadvantageous to Terry’s career. In those days, there did not exist a married woman scientist in Japan. However, the situation changed as we moved to the U.S. I did what I wanted to do, Terry did what she wanted to do. Our lab generated more than 20 professors and department heads, who have pioneered the research in immunology.
The biggest reason for our success in science is that we were honest and tactless. I did not know how to lie in English. That helped me be honest. Terry was even worse. Fortunately, the most important characteristic of being a good scientist is honesty. Tactless frankness is also very important if you are to live with your principles in a multicultural country like the U.S. We were perhaps unusual Japanese who could understand people and could be understood by people in the U.S.
We had a fairly interesting life."


Anonymous said...

Very cam dong. Where did you get this? on our website?

zen said...

ừ, muốn đọc hết thì vô đó coi đi hen.