On 3rd November 2021, Takenori Shimamura (D2), Mimura Group, Department of Precision Engineering, won the HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2021 English Division.

Introduction to the HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2021
The HIRAKU 3MT Competition is an oral presentation contest where doctoral students effectively explain their research within a limited time period of three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Since 2020, the Competition has been open for any doctoral student who belongs to a university in Japan. This year, the seventh Competition was held, and 130 applications were filtered via video screening process. 11 finalists each were chosen for the English and Japanese Division, presenting their research on the online and live Final Stage.

〈Name of award and short explanation about the award〉
Winner of HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2021 English Division

This award went to the successful finalist who the judging panel decided presented his or her research most effectively and clearly to non-specialists within three minutes. The judging panel was comprised of six members, and they evaluated each finalist’s English presentation on the day of the Competition.
The scoring rubric included both research and communication aspects.For example, the former included an understanding of the background, the significance of the research question, and potential impacts on society. The latter covered paraphrase of jargon for non-experts and the enthusiasm of the presenter. The winner of the Competition was granted a scholarship of 300kJPY besides extra prizes from corporate sponsors. The report of the Competition is now available on the HIRAKU website. Its report is also featured as the press releases on the promotion page and nature asia’s website, both of which are published by a sponsoring company, Springer Nature.

〈About awarded research〉
Presentation title: Atomic-scale “chest X-rays” with ultrasmall mirrors

X-rays collected onto an extremely small spot can trace like a probe on the surface of and inside specimens. Such X-ray probes allow us to capture fine X-ray photographs with the information of the local structures of specimens and to quantitatively evaluate the amount of specific elements and magnetism down to the level of molecules or atoms. Another unique characteristic of X-rays is that they can easily penetrate and visualize thick specimens. To leverage these unique attributes and achieve more high-resolution observation, X-ray focusing devices have been of continuing interest of researchers over the past five decades.
Mr. Shimamura has proposed and developed a novel ultrasmall X-ray mirrors for focusing X-rays into a small spot. He also achieved unprecedented X-ray focusing records in pilot studies that employed lower-energy X-rays. In the Competition, he effectively drew a parallel between his achievements to date and “chest X-rays”, presenting an application example of pharmacokinetic, the research field which explores the relationship between distribution of drug particles and effectiveness of drugs. He further avoided using jargon for a non-expert audience in explaining his X-ray focusing device.

〈Your impression & future plan〉
I am honored to be selected as the winner of the English division. Four months ago, I competed in another 3MT competition, so this is the second time I have tried to share my research with non-experts. It was—and remains—incredibly challenging for me to introduce people to the unfamiliar research field of X-ray optics and the background, novelty, and societal benefits of my research. This second round took a lot of effort and focus on limiting jargon, communicating more intuitively, and telling my research story with its beginning around daily life. I sincerely thank my friends who continued to refine my speech together slowly but steadily until the day of the Competition. I hope that you are all curious about the benefits and future of my ongoing research.

What is HIRAKU?

HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2021 Guidelines

HIRAKU 3MT Competition 2021 report and recordings (Japanese and English)

Press release by Springer Nature (Only Japanese available)

Press release by nature asia (Japanese and English)

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