First of all, I would appreciate the opportunity for me to retrospect my old days of Oxford, which I have nearly forgotten at the moment. Let me start with my memory of the first day (some day of September, 1998) when I arrived at Wolfson College, Oxford, which was one of 44 colleges/halls of University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Unlike those in other countries like USA, and Korea, the Colleges at Oxford are the self-governing organizations, with one of which any student or faculty member of Univ. of Oxford should be affiliated and they provide their members with housing/accommodation, scholarships, tutorial teaching for students and various services/facilities including college libraries, parties, balls(dancing party), and sporting facilities of pool billiards, gyms, a harbor for punting etc. In my college, Wolfson, I met students from many different countries, for instance, South Africa, Wales, Japan, Austria, France, and Hong Kong. We used to meet at the college restaurant for dinner every night after finishing our work at laboratories or study rooms, University centre libraries, (e.g., the Bodleian Library which has more than six million books). After dinner, we used to play lots of games in a common room of our college, such as chess, gambles like black jacks, arm wrestling, palm reading, pool billiards, golf, tennis, punting and etc. I remember, in the arm wrestling contest (Autumn 1999 remembered) where more than ten men attended, I had won the championship by beating the others, making college members surprised because I, then, looked like a faint Asian man like a nerd.
For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil), at the Department of Condensed Matter Physics, in October, 1998, I began doing experimental works for "the squeezed light generation with semiconductors" which was in the field of nonlinear quantum optoelectronics. I think this topic I chose could be extremely tough for a student but may be more likely to be suitable for a post-doctor. However, I decided to do this research as a student, with the so-called "great passions and patience". I eventually earned D.phil degree after passing the Viva (defense) in winter, 2002. At those times of my studies at Oxford, I used to get up very late in the morning because I used to do work until very late at night.
I remember a bike was one of the pre-requisites for me to commute to work place (Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford) but I had not less than five bikes stolen although those bikes had its own safety of at least two locks already! It is known that British people usually have teas twice a day, at around 11 AM and 2:30 PM. I am still missing such milk teas offered at a tea room of the Clarendon Laboratory, because it is so difficult to remake the milk-teas of similar flavors in Korea. During tea times, many useful discussions about on-going research took place among students and faculties along with communications of updated academic information.
It is known that the University of Oxford has the tradition of more than 900 years in teaching and research. This can simply explain why most of the buildings at Oxford look so old while each building being refurbished internally. I heard that, in the Second World War, Adolf Hitler ordered the Nazi air-force to avoid air-striking Oxford city because of such old buildings. Studying in such old buildings made me feel that I took part in the accumulation of science achievements that had ever been lasting for more than 900 years.
During this writing, all of sudden, I came to be eager to revisit Oxford to see what has been going on, friends, professors, and the catholic fathers of the Saint Alloysius church where I celebrated masses on Sundays. During the Oxford period, I got married and had my first baby born, which means plenty of precious traces of my life left behind at Oxford. Shall I be able to come back to the year 1998, by a time-machine which runs off the surface of Minkowski four-dimensional space through a memorial engine?
|Professor Ju, Hyeongkyu, Department of Nano Physics
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