I realized that I did not post any blog article since summer. I would like to tell everyone that I am well and not dead. But the year of 2022 was the busiest moment so far in my academic career.
First, now that there is almost no Covid-related restrictions, I suddenly started to travel a lot and give talks here and there. By simply counting, I noticed that I gave 19 talks in 2022! I think it was pretty good in that I got many great opportunities to share my enthusiasm on orbitronics, and I indeed enjoyed discussing with different audiences. For seminars, I enjoyed a chance to connect with researchers during my stay, and during 45 mins I could really show how I think rather than throwing recent results. For invited talks, it was a bit frustrating because I had quite a lot of result to cover, but I also wanted to share my viewpoint and expertise. It’s alwys a challenge to spend 20 mins efficiently. But in conferences, giving invited talks is a great chance to let new people know me, and often after the talk, I had a chance to share some time for a coffee or meal in the evening. I didn’t give many contributed talks this year, but during the DPG Meeting in September, I really enjoeyd giving a 12 min talk! It is another challenge to present with a sharp focus, but it felt quite good to focus only one thing at a time.
Second, I organized SPICE Workshop on Orbitronics: from Topological Matter to Next-Level Electronics together with Tatiana G. Rappoport and Henri Jaffrès. It was a great experience to learn how to organize a scientific event. Certainly, the most important thing is to prepare a good scientific program that serves the community, where participants can learn new things, exchange expertise, and most importantly, get to know each other personally and become friends. There are other important aspects that I learned, such as diversity of participants regardless of their gender, sex, ethnic group, cultural background, and career stage (junior/senior), choice of the date that is convenient for most people, distribution of workloads between the organizers, and logistics (fortunately, this was largely covered by SPICE staffs, whom I thank sincerely). For our workshop this year, it was also quite special because it was the first international workshop on orbitronics, which just emerged in recent years.
Finally, I spent enormous amount time for my career proposals to start a junior-leader-level position in Germany. To be honest, except for the Humboldt fellowship which I wrote in the beginning of my postdoc (I failed to get one at the end), I didn’t have a chance to write a proper, rather long research proposal. Sure, everything was new and challenging. Although I still have lots of things to learn on research proposals, I find it extremely important to think from the perspective of review pannels and funding agencies. At the end, the main purpose of the proposal is not expressing myself (although it’s still important aspect), but rather convincing other people. Also, it’s an art of balance bewteen my grand ambition and limited resources and feasibility. Fortunately, I had many kind senior researchers who gave me valuable advices and willingly helped me whenever I asked for tips.
Overall, I think the year 2022 was full of new challenges and learning opportunities, which are directly related to doing actual research works. At the end, I am glad that I pushed myself to do these, getting out of my comfort zone, and I think I learned really lots of things. At the same time, I also honestly worry that I had little time for doing research. I really miss the time when I had enough time to do all the dirty works, struggle for days and weeks for technical issues, and then learn new techniques on a daily basis. So, I am actually thinking of prioritizing on my own research works and saying “no” to other unessential parts (this is a tricky to decide though) from 2023.