Category Archives: Nuclear Physicist

Art Process of Paperplanes

This is a short recap of the art project I created in December, which hasn’t been talked about yet.
It started that we met a Japanese guy at Victoria Park playing a pink trombone. He also happened to be a nuclear physicist, who is very diverse, creative, full of energy and smart ideas. His origami folding skill with a little tiny piece of paper was truly inspiring and was the origin of my Paperplanes painting. The full interview of Dr. Teppei Katori throughout December was the source of inspiration for this art project. You can read it here.
The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-32 The Minks Art painting oilTeppei Katori’s favorite colour is red. I first started with a study on reds using different shades of oil colours and thinning them out with acetone.
The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-37 The Minks_Art_London_oil paintingOur bay window in our Clapton house is amazing for painting projects. You have good light from all sides and sunshine from morning until afternoon.
The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-28 The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-29Another inspiration is the IceCube project Dr. Teppei Katori’s involved in, located at the South-pole. The sketch is my fantasy idea of the invisible cube underneath the ice – with penguins getting curious about the explosions underneath the ice. In the painting the red cube, set on a pedestal is the centre piece.
The Minks_Paperplanes_final_Art_anjo-The Minks_Paperplanes_final_Art_anjoThe Minks_Paperplanes_final_Art_anjo-2We made a short art clip as a teaser for Mr. December Teppei Katori – combining the art process and Teppei’s diverse creative personality. Enjoy.


 

12 – Questions -12 Answers

  1. What is your favourite word? patience
  2. What is your least favourite word? easy
  3. What’s the best colour to describe you as a person? red
  4. What’s your favourite material or fabric to touch? I don’t know (content removed)
  5. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? nature
  6. What turns you off? nationalism
  7. What music inspires you? I don’t know (content removed)
  8. What sound or noise do you love? Love people talking in a pub          
  9. What sound or noise do you hate? People talking when I try to sleep
  10. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Pirate, Ninja, Tree Doctor
  11. What profession would you not like to do? I don’t know (content removed)
  12. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I am not a Christian but if a god or a demon will tell me something I hope it’ll be like Faust said: “Here is the most important knowledge of the universe, go ahead and use it.”The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-34The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-35


A look into the future

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Do people have a take on the future, or do they just live day by day? What does a nuclear physicist hope for to have changed within 20 years?

Where and how will you be living in 20 years from now?
I am talking from a scientific point of view and would say: that I hope that we will have a breakthrough in this field. Because high energy physics is sort of stuck. We discovered Higgs at CERN in Switzerland. This moment looked like the end of Science. We discovered all particles of the Standard Model. And so we feel like there is nothing new left really.
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Let’s talk miracles

The Minks and Teppei Katori in the park-1We believe in miracles, not all in life can be explained. Hast a nuclear physicist who tries to explain the world more also encountered things he is thankful for or things he can’t explain?

What’s a recent miracle you’ve encountered in your life?
I think actually all my life is one big continuous miracle. First miracle was to be able to go to the US as a PHD student and got a job at MIT. And now I got the job at Queen Mary University of London. All these things appear to me to be miracles. I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world.


 

Japanese Culture in Politics

We believe every person has a political view on things, even if one is not involved in politics actively. Teppei Katori also has strong views on nationalism, Japanese culture and nuclear weapons. Since he is a public figure as a lecturer at Queen Mary, we understand that the real content cannot be published. So the following answers are direct, but not as interesting as when we talked to him. Maybe you have to meet him yourself, if you’re interested in knowing his deeper thoughts on delicate topics.

TheMinks_TeppeiKatori_Physicist_London4

What does nationalism mean to you? –> How do you regard nationalistic tendencies in the UK and around Europe as well as in your home country Japan and neighbouring China.
It’s bullshit. (… )(removed content).

How do you regard nationalism in Japan?
It’s bullshit (…) (removed content).

How do you see Japanese political culture change in the future?
I don’t know (…) (removed content).

Do you feel more Japanese or Asian? More Asian or moreover a citizen of the world?
(…) I am cosmopolitan (removed content).

What should be done about the distribution of nuclear weapons around the globe?
Communication is key. We have to be able to avoid miscommunication. (…) (removed content)


 

The jumping frog – enjoyable design

Japanese are known for many electronic gadgets, cute design, manga culture and much more. Since Teppei Katori is Japanese he does kind of live up to that image, as he has so many different objects at his office. We wanted to know more about his design appreciation.

What kind of Art and or Design do you enjoy most?
All random things from street shops. (He also explained many objects as seen on the image below- but this content has been removed)

TheMinks_TeppeiKatori_Physicist_London5The Minks and Teppei Katori the nuclear scientist-10


 

Philosophy

When we visited Teppei Katori at his study at Queen Mary University, he had a range of interesting old books on his shelf. Quite a few were by philosophers. Why?
The Minks and Teppei Katori the nuclear scientist-11How has philosophy affected you as a person and a researcher?
There is a part of philosophy I really like, which is phenomenology. I have lots of books here. For example books by Hanna Arendt and Maurice Merleau Ponty. These books talk about the best way to think about human knowledge and they are always next to me. I like the ideas but I guess philosophy is a style. You are never right or wrong. I take this way of thinking into account and this does affect my behaviour.


 

Influence of Art

When we think of a physicist we mostly think of a person doing a lot of math and lab work. But since we believe that people are not just unilateral, we wanted to know about the influence of art and design in Teppei Katori’s life.
TheMinks_TeppeiKatori_London_Physics-5How have Art and Design affected you as a person and a researcher?
I am first and foremost a researcher before I am a person. It is a hard question. I like all kinds of random objects as you can see in my office. I like surrealism and surrealistic things. The first thing that came to mind when you asked me about artists is my girlfriend. She is a sculptor. But I can’t really say how much this affects my personality and or work.


 

The South Pole Project

Teppei Katori, is a nuclear physicist who is involved in an interesting project where penguins and polar bears don’t meet.

I also saw that you are doing research at the South Pole to gather data. What is this project about?
It’s a neutrino experiment called IceCube. It is a massive experiment. It is a one-kilometre cube and this one kilometre cube detector is located 1.5 kilometres underneath the ice. Each detector is just a string with a photo sensor in it so when neutrinos interact it produces muons and this results in a tiny light and you are then able to see it with this device in the ice. And this detector is specially designed to detect the high energy neutrinos that are coming from the universe. So that is what we are looking for. 

The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-29So far we have discovered a few of them last year which was kind of big news but now I am interested to use this IceCube to study low energy neutrinos which could then be used to study neutrinos themselves.

The sketch is our idea of the invisible cube underneath the ice.
For more information on the IceCube Project check out their project website here.

His Studies

The Minks and Teppei Katori the nuclear scientist-7

Teppei Katori, what is your field of study within nuclear physics?
I study neutrino cross-sections. A neutrino cross-section is how neutrino’s scatter when they interact with nuclei. Neutrinos are invisible so you detect particles scattered off from nuclei, like muons. Then you are able to study the properties of neutrinos and how they interact with the nuclei.

What does the Lorentz violation mean?
Lorentz violation is the violation of Lorentz symmetry. This discovery would be a Nobel-Price discovery so I am looking for that one as well. I am using Neutrinos to find the Lorentz violation. There is several ways to go about this challenge but a popular way is to look for the direction dependence of neutrino oscillation. Neutrino oscillation is formulated with the Standard Model Extension Lagrangian which includes all possible Lorentz violating terms on top oft he Standard Model physics.

Oh wow, I guess that is as simple as it gets.


 

The Line

TheMinks_TeppeiKatori_London_Physics-3Looking at biographies of famous artists there is often a portion of insanity and for some like Van Gogh, mental distress involved. We wonder if it’s a smooth transition between pure creativity and insanity, if creativity needs insanity. We wanted to know from a nuclear physicist, who also needs to be creative to come up with innovative approaches to problems in physics.

Where do you see the line between creativity and insanity?
No, actually I don’t believe there is such a line. I don’t think this is the right way to think. I guess there are really insane people like Srinivasa Ramanujan who came up every week with ten new equations. That’s insane but other than that, people like Einstein or other physicists or mathematicians are all the same.


 

The Journey

The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-20If we already knew everything, well then there would not be any researchers needed. So we wanted to know from Teppei Katori, a nuclear physicist how he regards his field of research.

Do you believe yourself to understand physics and if yes, what does it mean to do so?
No actually no. I don’t understand physics at all. We have for example studied the universe for a very long time and now we understand we don’t understand about 95% of the universe, so how could I claim to understand physics? So what happens really is that you just discover more and more unknown.

Though where are you now on your journey?
I would say that I’m like a pirate who is now ready for the voyage. We don’t know where it will take us. I’m a lecturer and independent researcher now so there is no one that’s telling me what to do. Now I did enough training and so I can go explore now. If I like it, I believe it. That’s where I am now.

The sketch of the pilot glasses in front of the Japanese world is a reference to the journey. But actually it originated because we thought Teppei Katori mentioned a pilot and not a pirate – due to the R and L mix-up which is very common for Japanese. So after that was cleared maybe a pirate on a boat would have been more fitting.

 

The Minks_Art_London_oil painting-17

 


 

Which Gap do you fill?

TheMinks_TeppeiKatori_Physicist_London1

We are interested in what drives people to do what they do. Since we never met a nuclear physicist before, we wanted to know why this young Japanese, Teppei Katori, is so fascinated by physics.

Which gap do you fill?
It’s a way to see the world in a more beautiful way. Since there is a reason for everything it’s important to find out why certain things happen or don’t happen. I guess that when you know all the different trees when walking in the park it would be more interesting than otherwise. There is reason for the sky why it appears in different shadings of colour. Blue, green etc.

What is your contribution to the whole picture?
My major is neutrino physics. Trying to understand how neutrinos interact, trying to understand the distribution of neutrinos coming from the sky. Those are my specific fields of interest.


 

My name is Katori Teppei

Teppei Katori The-Minks

What is your full name?
Teppei Katori.

Why do you do what you do?
(Laughs) Ok so here is what Yoichiro Nambu from University of Chicago said to me when I asked him so why did you become a physicist and I expected a very sophisticated answer because he is a famous physicist. And actually what he answered was: “Don’t you think its fun?” So there is no deeper meaning to my decision to be a nuclear physicist. I mean people have to do something with their lives right? So I might as well do something that I love.

(Yoichiro Nambu received the Nobel Prize in 2008 “for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics”  For more facts follow this link here.)


 

May we introduce to you this man we met at the park?

On a lovely fall day we were walking along the little lake at Victoria Park enjoying the last sun beams. From afar we heard a sound that reminded of a baby elephant making a happy trumpet.
The Minks - Victoria Park -Teppei KatoriAs we came closer we saw a long haired man playing a pink plastic trombone.
P-Bone The Minks Pink TromboneWe started talking, and he explained that he moved to London recently and is still looking for a band to play the special pBone Trombone at. But the most striking thing was that he isn’t just a musician that looked a bit like a vagabond playing at the park and drinking Polish beer, but in fact is a super smart nuclear physicist.The-Minks_TeppeiKatori_London_Park


 

Sneak Peek December

In December we will introduce to you a nuclear scientist playing a pink instrument.

The Minks and Teppei Katori the nuclear scientist-7

So stay tuned and enjoy this month’s portrait of Livia Henne, a Swiss print and fashion designer working and living in London.