#4 Prof. Tetsuro Murahashi:  Creating matter to expand horizons

#4 Prof. Tetsuro Murahashi: Creating matter to expand horizons

The fourth interview of this series is with Professor Tetsuro Murahashi, an associate professor in the Ogoshi Laboratory in the Division of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University (Currently, he is an full professor,  Institute for Molecular Science), introduced to us by Professor Kenichiro Itami at our second Chem-Station interview. Professor Murahashi is a young research scientist who develops new chemical methods in order to spatially arrange metal atoms within molecules. He creates metal complexes that display novel modes of bonding, and he studies the properties and reactivity of these metal clusters. Please read on to find out more about him on a personal level!

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap] What made you choose chemistry as a career?

 

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I find that creating matter is very interesting and also very rewarding. Chemistry can be considered as a science that studies phenomena associated with bonding between atoms, and one that applies this knowledge for the betterment of everyday life. All chemists attempt to expand the collective knowledge in chemistry by further studying their field of expertise. One factor that attracts me to research in chemistry is that innovation (as in what novel compounds to create) and design (as in planning and predicting outcomes based on known chemistry) play key roles in its development. The unique “instinct” of various chemists can be reflected in their molecular innovation and design, ensuring that chemistry will always remain a creative field of science. My dream of becoming a chemist has been accomplished, and I live in that dream every day.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

 If you were not a chemist, what would you like to be, and why?

 

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A: I currently cannot think of anything else but being a chemist. However, trying to find an answer to this question made me think: as a child, I was easily able to respond “I want to be this, I want to be that”, but now it is very difficult for me to shift gears. I guess it is always easier to jump into things without worrying when you do not know much about anything.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

 Currently, what kind of research are you conducting? Moreover, how do you foresee its future development?

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]A[/su_dropcap]

I am conducting research with the aim of generating molecules with new modes of bonding and to determine their properties. The properties of compounds heavily depend on how individual atoms are bonded to one another, and therefore generating a new type of bonding results in new possibilities—a possibility to formulate new concepts in chemistry, and a possibility to lead to new applications. I would like to create matter to expand horizons: to create molecules for which people can expect interesting applications. Recently, I have been involved in the development of procedures that allow one to organize numerous metal atoms within organic molecules at will. For example, we are now able to arrange single chains (a one-dimensional structure) or monolayered sheets (a two-dimensional structure) of metal atoms within stable molecules. These are the types of molecules that I consider to be exciting and promising.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

 If you could have dinner with any famous person from the past, who would it be, and why?

 

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There are too many scientists I would have liked to meet, but my number one choice would be people related to my current research, either Geoffrey Wilkinson or Ernst Otto Fischer. I find Wilkinson’s or Fischer’s “piercing” style of research incredible.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

 When was the last time you performed an experiment in the laboratory, and what was it about?

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]A[/su_dropcap]

It was about a month ago, when I used a communal X-ray crystallography machine to elucidate the structure of a sandwich complex with a student. However, my last synthesis experiment in the laboratory already dates back to several months ago: I had synthesized a metal complex that could potentially be used to insert between organic molecules, which I then handed over to a student of mine.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

 If you were stranded on a desert island, which book or song/piece of music would you like to have with you? Please single out your favorite example.

 

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That would be a dreadful situation! This reminds me of the movie “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks, but I hope this is not going to test my survival skills! These days, I like to listen to melodious tunes, such as Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were”. In terms of books, I like historical fiction. Before, I used to avoid novels set in the “modern times” after the Edo period (the Edo period ended in 1868), mostly because those times were very “complicated”. But these days, I feel more of an inclination to read “modern era” historical fiction.

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]Q[/su_dropcap]

Do you have any suggestions as to whom we should interview next?

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat” size=”2″]A[/su_dropcap]

There are many I would like to nominate, but among colleagues in my generation, I recommend Professor Jun Terao (Kyoto University). He is a very active professor!

 

Related Links

Murahashi group

[su_box title=”Tetsuro Murahashi” style=”bubbles”]Professor Institute for Molecular Science. After graduating Osaka University in 1995, he obtained a Ph. D. at the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University in 1999. After having been an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Engineering at Osaka University, In 2007, he became Associate Professor. He occupies his current position since 2012. [/su_box] 

Japanese version written here on date; Sep 17, 2010.

 

 

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