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Home > Voices from Alumni > Interview: Dr. Peng's three months stay with Tohoku University

Voices from Alumni

Interview: Dr. Peng's three months stay with Tohoku University

Dr. Ningning Peng (彭 寧寧, IGPAS 2008, Mathematics) visited Tohoku University on "Follow-up Research Fellowship" program sponsored by JASSO (Japan Student Service Organization) to stay for three months (July to October). Dr. Peng, a lecturer of Wuhan University of Technology, is still engaging in joint research projects with his ex-supervisor, Professor Kazuyuki TANAKA, and members of his or related laboratories. His research interests lies in computability theory, mathematical logic, and reverse mathematics.
One day in late August, DiRECT staff visited him at his office, adjoined to Professor TANAKA's, for an interview.


- Welcome back to Tohoku University!
We hear that to be selected as a recipient of JASSO Research Fellowship is very difficult, for it is highly competitive.
What do you think was the key to the success?

- Well, I am not so sure, but there are things that may be taken as advantageous.
Firstly, as we already have long experiences of the joint research, we could show how it can be conducted and how significant the achievement can be. Prof. Tanaka and I have been visiting/inviting with each other on many occasions since my graduation. Additionally, the fund I was awarded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) to one of my works along the line may have looked good to the evaluating committee in JASSO, as the NSFC is one of the recognized academic authorities as equivalent to JSPS in Japan.
TANAKA_China_June.jpeg PENG_TANAKA_China_Jan.jpeg

Another thing is that we could clearly show JASSO the research goal while I stay here.
That is why I am now trying very hard to finalize two papers to submit to the respective journals. These works are the ones that I determined to complete this time!
Moreover, we could display our future contribution together to the academic association of mathematics. For example, we will be hosting a big international conference next year.

- It certainly sounds more than the "Follow-up" for an ex-student!
Would you like to share the information on the conference with us?

- Yes, that is "The International Conference on Computability Theory and Foundations of Mathematics (CTFM)". It will be held in March 2019, at my current university, Wuhan University of Technology. I am to chair the conference, and Prof. Tanaka will be the co-chair. This is the ninth conference of CTFM conference series, and I plan to release its website soon, after the eighth conference in Tokyo in September. I am very thrilled and excited.

►► Addittional Information on CTFM: 2019 website now open & accepting application ◄◄

Its seventh conference was held at National University of Singapore, when I was working there as a post-doc.
Actually, it was Prof. Tanaka who indirectly enabled me to work for the National University of Singapore. He supported his students to attend many international conferences all over the world. One of those conferences I met people from Singapore, with whose help I got a position of their university.

- Looking back, what was the most challenging thing to you when you first came to Sendai?

- Probably same as many international students, my lack of Japanese ability sometimes made things difficult; particularly when I was not in campus. Those were not really "serious" ones, but there were occasions that I was just perplexed or took long time to understand. At later stage, these did not bother me much.
- Bigger challenge was the seminar with Professor Tanaka. From the beginning of my master's program, professor made me explain certain mathematical topics to him every week. At that time I was new from my undergraduate study which let me to be a mere passive listener, and not got used to talk or discuss.
To explain what I read to professor, who would bombarded me with difficult questions, I had to fully understand the topic and reconstruct it by my own word. Week after week all my free time was spent for its preparation. Though exhausted I was, I came to realize that I had been absorbing knowledge, history, logic etc. in a surprising speed.
Now I am fully convinced how important and effective these initial days of mine were.
- I cannot wait to apply this method to my future students!

- Aside from the "study", are there anything that you would remember fondly about Sendai?

- Fireworks! sakura.jpgのサムネイル画像
They are awesome!
I feel lucky because I was able to come back in summer and could see the fireworks again.
I love it! 
- I love cherry blossoms, too.
I cherish these good old memories of Ohanami I went with my friends from the laboratory or Chinese friends.
Ogawara was one of the best places for it!