In 2013, I left academia to pursue my dream of living in Japan. I haven’t looked back since; I have never been nostalgic and I do not regret my decision at all. Sporadically, I talk to an ex-colleague, so I do hear about things going on in my old scientific community, albeit with much delay sometimes.

For example, only last weekend I heard “news” about a certain professor. I knew that he had died back in 2014, but I didn’t think much of it then – after all, sometimes people just die. However, now I know that he had killed himself, and I am truly shocked.

He was one of the big names in the community, in his early 60s, hence, close to retirement. Although he appeared a bit shy, he always had a smile on his face, and he was warm and welcoming towards everybody who approached him, whether another big name or a brand new PhD student.

I will always remember his encouragement right before my very first talk at my very first conference – and we had just met that moment. To me, he was one of the kindest souls in the community. Unfortunately, they always seem the most tormented ones as well…

Comments are closed.