Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University

FRIS Interviews #05

FRIS Interviews#05

  • Chrystelle Bernard

    Dynamics behavior of polymers,

The Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences aims to "create new values by cultivating and developing interdisciplinary research and contribute to human society". The plan that researchers belonging to the institute talk and think about the concept above is this series "Beyond the Border".

While talking about each of their research lives, they will talk about "interdisciplinary activities that each of them experienced". While highlighting the ideals and actualities of the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences (hereinafter referred to as "FRIS"), at the same time, it is the place for the members of FRIS to consider the future of the organization through dialogue.

When did you start getting interested in your research field and why?
When did you decide to be a researcher?

My research field focuses on the thermomechanical behavior of materials. It is a very wide topic because each material has a different microstructure, material properties... Thus, to fully understand one material, a lot of experiments are needed.
After high school, I got a bachelor degree in Mathematics. During that period, I also attended lectures in Solid and Fluid Mechanics. At that time, I used mathematics to solve mechanical problems. And it was really enjoyable and satisfying. It was like waiting to open your present on Christmas. So, I wanted to continue in that discipline, in order to solve more problems while increasing their complexity. It was, and still is, like a challenge that I had to face, just to prove myself. Because I wanted to keep feeling that, I went to an Engineering School specialized in mathematics applied to mechanics.
During that period, I had to use numerical simulations, based on the Finite Element Method or Finite Volume Method, to solve much more complex problems, like ones involving plastic deformation, failure, dynamic solicitations...
However, it really was during my PhD that I decided to continue in that research field. The reason why, I don’t really know it myself. But if I have to clearly put it into words, I would say it is because I had fun and that I like to create and solve puzzles.
Chrystelle Bernard

Assistant Professor, Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
She graduated from University of Bordeaux 1 with a Master's degree in Engineering, Mathematics and Mechanical Modeling; and completed the PhD course in Mechanics-Materials Science at the University of Strasbourg. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Strasbourg, she obtained a short-term postdoctoral fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Now, she is appointed as Assistant Professor at the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences since 2017 and also a member of ELyTMaX, International joint unit between CNRS, Université de Lyon and Tohoku University. Her specialty is Mechanics and numerical modeling of polymers. She currently works on the adhesion mechanisms between polymer powder and metallic substrate during Cold-Spray process.

What made you decide to choose Interdisciplinary research science?

When we look carefully at our environment, we can see that everything is linked. What I mean it is to fully understand a phenomenon, a process... combining several sciences and techniques are needed. So, the point is to identify the different scientific questions and find the optimal methodology to resolve them.
During my bachelor’s and master’s studies, I always combined mathematics and mechanics, it is like I always did Interdisciplinary Sciences, even if these two sciences are closely related. In my different research projects until now, I personally managed mechanics, numerical simulations and mathematics. However, the project involved several other research partners. Moreover, because the phenomena that I try to analyze are strongly linked with material physics and physical chemistry or even biophysics, I aim to use, as input of my simulations, physical behavior laws: this is the only way to predict the effect of environmental conditions (temperature, etc.). This enlarges even more the interdisciplinarity of my projects.
So, to fulfill the objectives of a project, different aspects need to be considered. It is the primary interesting point for doing Interdisciplinary science research, developing a research project and taking into account all the sciences needed.

How do you think about other disciplines?

Do you have experience that you find new findings at FRIS?
What about the other disciplines... It is quite a difficult question. I think that all disciplines are necessary in that world. Some allow to better understand past civilizations, some can improve the life of people and some others aim to construct, prevent and reduce damage to human structures, or due to human activities.
An interesting point about FRIS is, since it is a multidisciplinary research institute, you are in contact with researchers who can have a topic quite far from your own. So, in contact with them, you can enlarge your general culture. Moreover, the different seminars and workshops organized by FRIS provide many other opportunities to meet researchers and communicate about your research.

What are the good points and bad points about FRIS?

How do you think about the future of FRIS? And how do you want to be?
Being part of FRIS is of a great advantage while doing research. The main point is because you have your own research budget. Moreover, you can apply for other research funding, some managed by FRIS, to supplement your budget or to expand your research on broader topics. Moreover, many seminars and workshops are organized through the year which contribute to meeting new researchers on various topics.
Since I arrived at FRIS, I think that great efforts have been made to improve communication (seminars, workshops, research funding...) towards English speakers. Not only for them to present their work but also for them to understand other research works. So I would like to enjoy this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes to make it easier for non-Japanese speakers. I am perfectly aware that it is not easy for them to speak English and I highly appreciate it.
FRIS is not only an interdisciplinary science research institute, it is also a multi-cultural and multi-language institute even if most of the people are Japanese. Therefore, the future of FRIS will be carried out by FRIS researchers and the evolution of their research. Of course, the multidisciplinary nature of the research topics is important but also the open-mindedness to other topics, to other cultures, to other languages... in the aim to better understand each other and to enrich human society.