The hottest news I have had right now is about my experience in Japan last week! I had been given opportunity to visit Osaka University for two weeks as guest scientist and I am very grateful with the invitation. This time I was not going alone; there was another labmate who accompanied me so I (at least) wouldn’t feel lonely during my stay. For your information, in OU’s laboratory I visited there was a large number of Indonesians that were also former members of Computational Material Design – Quantum Engineering (CMD-QE) Laboratory of ITB. Since years ago, Kasai-Laboratory of OU (or let’s call it Handai because… why not!) and CMD-QE in ITB are best-buddies. We often share same topic of research, student exchange and last year doctoral student from Handai went back to our home country to be a teacher.

Summer Wars replica in Osaka Castle Museum

Summer Wars replica in Osaka Castle Museum

This was my second trip abroad, second trip to Japan, first time to Osaka, second time during Winter (because of the snowstorm you know you will meet snow even though it was Osaka), and second trip abroad in February. If you want some unimportant facts, this was also my first trip which transfer is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and second trip for academic purpose (which is a bit questionable). Before I forgot, these pictures are mine using Nokia N8 Camera.

OK, I’ll skip all the formalities and go for the content of the stay. We took off from Husein Sastranegara International Airport, Bandung, at February 3rd by AirAsia and arrived in Kansai International Airport, Osaka, about 11 PM Japan-Time. There wasn’t any transportation in the midnight so we went sleeping on 2nd Floor’s bench (which, according to the gossips, my senpais used the same spots each flight if they had to stay for a night – I thought we would be forced to rent a room in airport hotel, though… it is indeed cheaper this way). Unfortunately, I didn’t take lots of pictures this year unlike last year during my first visit. Most programs we had were workshops, seminaries and project meetings. I think I won’t share them here because they are unfinished projects. And of course I don’t have right to post anything without their permission.

Because all my Indonesian friends are Muslims and only I am the only Christian among them, I took liberty to eat almost anything without being worried about the content. If I compare the food in Osaka to Ishikawa back then, I will say Ishikawa wins this round. Part of it because we ate like, in restaurant, everyday back then but we need to buy anything on our own to-day. Osaka is known as city of snacks (nickname courtesy of my glutton friend) so even before I went there, I know what I want to eat:

Taiyaki bought in Mermaid Cafe at Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka

Taiyaki bought in Mermaid Cafe at Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka

  1. Takoyaki (even Hello Kitty Osaka edition’s costume is takoyaki)
  2. Okonomiyaki (fuyunghai …I mean, like, omelet-like)
  3. Issen Yoshoku in Kyoto (Kyoto’s original okonomiyaki)
  4. Taiyaki (fish-shaped snack with red-beans filling inside)
  5. Onigiri, Mochi, Ramen, Udon, Soba and junkfood including McD… (why are these on the list-)

Halal-food for Muslim friends is kinda rare here. Fortunately, there is Halal-dishes served in University’s canteen and Indian restaurant with Halal-Certificate. My friend always asked me to help him picking tuna-onigiri in supermarket because I can read Kana. Although rare, it is said that Japan is thinking of introducing Halal-food business nowadays since they also have tourists that came from Middle East. If you want to eat Osaka-snacks but are afraid if they are not Halal, I can recommend you Taiyaki (a fish-shaped cake with red-beans filling, no meat!), Okonomiyaki (but pick the vegetarian one), Issen Yoshoku (it is located in Kyoto near Gion Station and the list is in English, you can tell the chef to remove some ingredients you don’t like), Takoyaki (the filling is octopus). I don’t recommend Onigiri, Mochi, KitKat, Pocky or any snacks except MEIJI chocolates/ice-cream if you can’t read Kanji/Kana. For me, the only thing I won’t touch is wasabi.

Below read more is the list of places I’ve visited! There are few pictures each places, but – just enjoy!

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I’m… surprised I haven’t written anything this month other than Happy New Year. I think I should have been more active in this site and learn how to write good opinion rather than yelling around, Ha! Let’s discuss something interesting before January ends. The background story comes from a nice chit-chat with my cousin and about my trip to Japan next month. I forgot what I talked about – I only remember I was talking non-stop about Japan and Osaka University and what I will do there in two weeks stay. Then here comes a good question from him: “What do you research?”

I explained briefly that I am going to design a material to improve rechargeable battery performance by computation method – using computers. Then he asked me something about “material design” and mentioned if I were to play God by creating new material. At an instant, I know what it means, but since he is not a physicist or scientist and (I know) he is not interested if I bring Schrodinger Equation or Quantum Physics there, I just put a wide grin and said, “Nope, just like what chemists do when they make drugs.” I hope my answer is quite clear, if not I don’t know what answer I should give.

In the eye of people, “nano-thingy” is related to “create a new material – and the One who has right to create material is God – so in other words, people who create new material is playing God.”

This statement often spurs from people not from this field. Nanoscience and nanotechnology is rather new for them and the implementation is very few compared to others. Yes, some countries have begun using nanotechnology for medical purpose, injecting sensors to monitor certain parameter inside our body like glucose or fighting cancer. But other than that, I think not that many. Ask people around you about thin film technology, SEM, TEM, spintronics, carbon nanotubes… and you may get questions rather than answer. It’s totally normal, although it had been developed since the birth of quantum physics in Einstein era, the theory itself is “strange and weird” in the first place. For example, electron is BOTH particle and wave. That alone is “weird”. And oh, even Microsoft Word and WordPress don’t recognize word for “nanoscience” and “spintronics”.

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It’s always been hilarious browsing through science and engineering (mostly engineer students) jokes in micro blogs and social media (facebook, tumblr, 9gag, reddit and anywhere in the internet): I am an engineer, I have no life (literally don’t have life haha – when people have parties, we code like computer is our wife); Programmer doesn’t sleep (my friend admits he can only concentrate on coding at 1-3AM); and so on. And there are also jokes about the difference between Scientist and Engineer. The question: what is exactly the difference?

If you are in either degree, you might have known and can immediately close this tab and browse through the jokes in the internet. If you demand something like explanation (I doubt this writing can be called as one) go to next paragraph; welcome to the jungle.

First.
There are two buddies and they have same crush on a girl. The girl challenges the two, saying “You can kiss me, but with each step you take the next step should be half of the length of the previous step.” One of them, the mathematician, protests, “That is impossible! We can’t ever reach you that way!” But the another one, the engineer, takes the challenge and when they are so close, he kisses her. The Mathematician yelled that he IS cheating, but the engineer finally says, “approximation.” That marks the end of the story.

Second.
Do you know you can stack all seemingly-impossible things (pennies, forks, books, glass) if you place them right? That is the basic understanding of physics. One of tumblrian jokes about “just glue them together with sealing tape” – close enough.

The point is, as you can see, scientist concerns mainly on answering all whys and they have their own playground. Why is an atom interact with each other? Nuclear fusion? Black hole? Supernovae? Pion-muon-graviton? If we have understood all these, say, the GOD-damn-why-are-you-so-hard-to-be-found-PARTICLE Higgs Boson, what for? For…fun? For the sake of humanity’s knowledge? For science and future?

The last questions are to be answered by engineers. Engineer concerns on answering – not whys – but what can we do with these knowledge AND solve the problem that has been existed in the first place and fix it. For the sake of simplicity let’s just say scientist asks themselves questions and provide answers on their own questions, while someone ask engineers questions for them to solve it. The engineer are usually called ‘designer’, or in Indonesian language it can be translated ‘perekayasa’ (manipulator?! That sounds like a villain…well, “engineered” it is).

Every digit of number’s decimal holds meaning for scientist, but engineer usually takes about only three or four digits. Why? They don’t need it! You can ask google “what does 1 second mean” and read the explanation about a device that measures the exact one second. Scientist usually demands accuracy as high as possible. But for engineer, if it has served its purpose, so be it. For example, measuring length. “For what” will always be question. If he wants to measure the distance from Arizona to Jakarta, please ditch the idea of using ordinary ruler. The same as when you want to measure the size of A4 paper for printing purpose, you measure it up to micrometer accuracy. Unless you have CID.

Now you know the difference between two but you must know that there are people working in the boundary between science and engineering. No, it’s not called sciencengineering, that’s just a part of a joke. These people in the boundary are doing the design as well as answering all the whys of the physic phenomena in their design. One of them is computational material design – engineer whose work is pretty similar to those in physics department. They study how to solve the cat-in-the-box equation and answer world’s engineering problem by designing new material……Hey, that’s my job! (That’s pretty obvious, thanks)

Most of science branches have their engineering counterpart. Mathematics to information technology; Physics to mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, material, aeronautics. Biology and chemistry to pharmacy and medicine, agriculture… and biotechnology. Engineered DNA? Why not? That sounds fun and will solve some problems, including making new species of plants that are resistant to pest and so on. The one which can be considered ‘pure science’ are astronomy (not the -logy one please!), archeology, history – to name few – please correct me if I’m wrong.

That is it, this writing is made because (the tumblr joke, blame those creative guys over there) someone around me doesn’t know and I’m driven confused how to explain this topic properly. May be I will cover more about science and engineering later. Emphasis on ‘may be’.

Jogjakarta International Conference on Physics – Seminary Resume
Note : I guess it won’t hurt if I share small portion of the seminary, since I don’t have right to post full resume of the topic. I will skip the first topic about RIKEN muon facility by Mr. Isao Watanabe because I don’t understand any of it. Since my background is applied physics (even though I do research about nanomaterial), I only manage to grasp two of all topics, that is about Laser and Control.

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When I write, I can’t help but to write more… That is my bad habit. That’s aside, I have been keeping a quote for over 4 years already and I think it’s worthy to be shared to you guys lovely readers.

“Think about one thing and ask ‘WHY’. And you’ll know you have reached your knowledge”
– my KWn high school teacher

He then asked the class this simple thing: ‘why does water flows?’. As in physics lessons, the class answered ‘because it has potential (from higher potential / higher level to lower potential / lower level)’. Then he proceed to ask ‘why from higher potential to lower potential?’. The class once again answered ‘gravity’. The teacher asked again ‘why gravity?’. The class looked on each others and some whispered ‘because earth bound to sun… like Coulomb Force?’ they grew quite confused on how to answer the teacher’s question and some had given up when the teacher ask ‘why coulomb force’. Now I think I should answer him with graviton back then and see my teacher’s expression *laughs*

Physics. That is.

I quickly recalled this interesting Q&A session when I saw three articles on HIGGS BOSON on my mail from sciencedirect. This is physics. This is what makes physics interesting. Men grow curiouser and demand answer on those whys. Why? Why? Why? Why?

Humans have to admit they only know bit of true knowledge, not even close to 5%. Curious is the nature that drives them wanting to know more about universe, even though that kind of knowledge don’t serve any good to humanity. Scientists and researchers may be the most curious creatures on earth. They are like children who see outer world and keep asking their parents of why-this-why-that… and enjoy the nature that amazes them.

That is why I start to love physics.

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It’s been bugging me for a while — the topic might offense some of people, but I only share my thoughts here — about science and faith. For someone this topic might sound offensive and everyone has their own way of thinking, so if you don’t like, don’t read and leave this post be :).

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Material Processing Laboratory – Seminary Resume
Note : a material processing seminary held in Bandung Institute of Technology last semester. This seminary had (CMIIW) three plenary talks, but I had little understanding for the previous two since it contained very theoretical terms about material processing. In this session, brought by Professor Li Wen Hsien (李文献) from Taiwan, told us about scattering process, energy scale, characteristics, and instrument. I couldn’t provide the exact resume, just a raw draft from what I have written in my note, since I wasn’t sure I understand myself… m(_ _)m

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