14.Science Writer Ms. Atsuko Tsuji-Part2


July Edition, 2013 (Part 2)

In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we introduce experiences of senior female researchers who have been successfully managed their work-life balance between research/work and life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.


Having heard about how she became a science writer in the last edition, I would like to hear more details about her activities.

◎ Introduction of Ms. Atsuko Tsuji

Science Writer / Editorial Staff of “Opinion”, the Asahi Shimbun Company


● What is the most attractive part of this job for you?

I always hold my position where what “connects people and society to science” is paramount.  In other words, it’s true that “people cannot live without science” and so is “people form a society where they live.”  My interest is towards “people.”  “People” are attractive and this job gives me numerous opportunities to meet those attractive people.  That’s what I like about this job and where I get a sense of fulfillment.  You know, it’s often said that “once you try ○○ and ×× for three days, you can never get out of it.”  For me, I can never get out of the world of science reporting.

Now, let me introduce some impressive books with regards to the connection among people and society.

Link to the book-review columns by Ms. Tsuji → BOOKasahi.com


“The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler”

Japanese title: 『大気を変える錬金術――ハーバー、ボッシュと化学の世紀』

Written by: Thomas Hager, Translated by: Keiko Watarai, Commented by: Hideki Shirakawa  Published from: Misuzu Shobo

Everybody knows Nitrogen, the element that accounts 80% of air but there are still unknown aspects… The story of a tough battle by two German scientist named Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch will make you think about the dramatic power of chemistry and it’s relation to human civilization.


“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

Japanese title:「不死細胞ヒーラ ヘンリエッタ・ラックスの永遠(とわ)なる人生」
Written by: Rebecca Skloot, Translated by: Kyoko Nakazato, Published by: Kodansha

Even if you have never heard of the name, Hela, all of us have already benefited from her.  This is a surprising non-fiction story in the U.S., the story of her immortal cells will lead you to various deep-rooted social problems in America, regarding science, people and society, but more especially racism and poverty.


Those two books are only a few famous examples and there are so many other truly dramatic non-fictions over the history of science.  One of my important roles is to introduce such books to readers nationwide.


● How many books do you read as a book-review committee member?  I imagine that perhaps members read through many books everyday with special speed-reading skills or something.

No, we don’t read that much (lol)  I finish about four or five books every other week.  We select which book to review by ourselves.  Book lovers would kill for the job.


● Lastly, would you give a message to our young readers?

I hope that young people keep challenging themselves and never give up on their possibilities.


● Her message sounds convincing as it’s based on her wide-vision and flexibility toward her work that always push the way going beyond existing boundaries between science and humanities, male and female, technology and society, and other unnecessary gaps.  Thank you for the message.


● Throughout the interview, my eyes were also kept on stylish accessories which went well with Ms. Tsuji’s sophisticated atmosphere. (゚・゚* Hmmm… I love that ring, too ♪

 Thanks, you like this?  These are from my favorite brand, Georg Jensen (^^)

● If you don’t mind… what is your hobby?

My hobby?  Let’s see… actually I’m an eclipse-chaser.  I’ve traveled to eight locations so far, including China, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey…and others.

I also love driving and cars.  I rent a car sometimes to go on a drive and came to Yamanashi, too.  Being also interested in car technologies, I visit F1 circuits.  Oh, and in Brazil, I had a local guide take me to the cemetery where Ayrton Senna was resting.

● My dear Ayrton Senna! I remember that his beautiful picture was on the front cover of AERA long time ago.  That edition became famous for that, wasn’t it?  Oh, have you met him by any chance??

Yes, I was a member of the AERA office at that time and I was in charge of that front cover. I shook hands with him(^^)v 

See, that’s why I can never get out of this business. (lol)

(You can also find a link to a book regarding Senna in the book-review webpage mentioned above. (^^) )