Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences Team

Finding common ground

Every scientific discipline has its own jargon, which can seem impenetrable to outsiders. As a team leader of the Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences Team, Tetsuo Hatsuda hopes to act as an ‘interpreter’ to allow iTHES scientists specializing in
various fields to combine their talents more effectively. “Mathematics is the common language in science,” says Hatsuda.
“The purpose of our collaboration team is to go beyond the boundaries through pure and applied mathematics.”

As young scientists complete their graduate education and begin their postdoctoral training, it becomes very easy for their research focus to become narrower after years of working intensely in a specialized field. By providing early exposure to interdisciplinary collaboration, Hatsuda hopes that iTHES will expand the horizons of the up-and-coming generation and create an environment where chance encounters lead to new research directions. “We encourage these young people to exchange their ideas through seminars and discussions,” says Hatsuda. “Scientific outcomes should be expected to emerge spontaneously. It is not a good idea to force them to go along a particular, predetermined direction.”

The ultimate goal is highly ambitious: using the same scientific bridge-building to understand the underlying organizational principles that define how the Universe ‘works’ at different scales, as we zoom in from stars to cells to the atomic nucleus. “This is the big question in nature,” says Hatsuda, “and only when we collaborate beyond the boundaries between the sciences can we hope to get a glimpse of the solution.”



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