Subaru Staff -Part 16-

July 27, 2007

Today we will cover the staff members of the Telescope Engineering Division, who keep Subaru Telescope working. Daigo Tomono who majored in Astronomy and Satoru Negishi who majored in Electrical Engineering and worked in a manufacturing company came through a very different path of life, but are now working in the same job (current as of date).

―― Please introduce yourself

Satoru : My name is Satoru Negishi. I was majored in Electrical Engineering in university. After I worked at a company as an architect and producer of the telescope of the Subaru Telescope, I now work at Subaru Telescope. I use my day off going to Kona with my family playing golf and swimming at the beach.

Daigo : My name is Daigo Tomono. I’m from Tokyo. I studied Astronomy at Nagoya University as an undergraduate and Tokyo University as a graduate. After obtaining PhD, I spent a few years as a post-doc in Germany. Then I came to Subaru Telescope. During the day off, I make and play with radio controlled airplanes and I also jog since my job requires strength and resilience. I also participate in Honolulu marathon.

Daigo Tomono

―― What led you to work at Subaru Telescope?

Satoru : I was working at the company that has just been arranged to construct the Subaru Telescope. I have started to concern with Subaru Telescope when I have applied for the section that would manufacture the telescope. Afterward, I continue to work at Subaru Telescope.

Daigo : I have been involved in Subaru Telescope project since I was a graduate student and developing a commissioning instrument for this telescope. During a stay in Germany as a post-doc, I saw an advertisement for a job at Subaru Telescope and applied for this job.

―― Could you tell me what you do at Subaru?

Satoru : When there is a trouble with the telescope, there will be phone calls from the operators and day crews. Based on the phone conversations, I would make diagnosis and suggest ways to troubleshoot and hopefully repair. For example, “The telescope does not move. What shall I do?” or “Some error messages came up in my terminal. How do I fix it?” Some troubles could be fixed by the operators, so I would give instructions on the phone. Otherwise I scramble up the Mauna Kea myself and remedy the problem. In addition to troubleshooting, it is important to improve the performance of the telescope.

Daigo : I, as a division chief, am responsible for managing my staff in the Telescope Engineering Division. When there is a phone call from top of the mountain, I would figure out who is best suited for the task and call up that person. It is a job of waking them up in the middle of the night! Or if the trouble needs simple solution, I give instructions to the operators right away. There are times that I need to go through procedure in order to ask the company in Japan for repair and change over. Also, I have to consult with the headquarters of telescope in Tokyo for assistance.

―― When do you feel your job is worthwhile doing ?

Daigo : I guess, the time when this huge machine that weighs 500 tons moves without any slack.

Satoru : The highly accurate pointing and tracking mechanism. This telescope really pinpoints a star and follows precisely.

Satoru Negishi

―― Do you have any favorable or unfavorable part of the telescope?

Daigo : The part I like about this telescope is that it is solid and stable. It does not fall apart, and it is made to catch finest stellar pictures. What I don't like is that there are too many cables… It would be a lot easier if the telescope is made much simpler.

Satoru : Since we work on top of the mountain where the air is very thin, it is fairly common for us to run-out of breath and makes the work harder. On the other hand, I like the telescope because it moves exactly the same as I plan and operate.

―― Message to the readers

Satoru : It is not only limited to work at the Subaru Telescope, but contributing to build a big project gives you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Sense of teamwork is another important component to accomplish the major projects.

Daigo : Pursue a subject what you are really interested. I liked making machines and playing with electric circuits since my childhood, so I think that has led to what I am. To work in a multi-cultural environment, you must become comfortable in expressing yourself both in your own language as well as the one used in the organization, here, in our case Japanese and English.

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