Researcher’s portrait – ISITE-BFC fellowships - COMUE Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté

Researcher’s portrait – ISITE-BFC fellowships

Taro Kimura, International Junior fellowship laureate

After graduating from the University of Tokyo with a PhD in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics in 2012, Taro Kimura joined RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Wakō, Japan) and then the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) of Paris-Saclay as a post-doctoral researcher. He then became a faculty member of Keio University before joining UBFC in 2019.

His research focuses on various fields including particle physics, condensed matter physics and mathematical physics, and has involved more than 30 collaborators over the last 10 years. A career undeniably motivated by interdisciplinarity.


1. On the third I-SITE call for project, you applied for an international junior fellowship in order to join one of the UBFC research laboratories. Could you please give us the main motives of your application?

My area of research is at the crossroads between mathematics and physics. France has a very strong expertise in these two scientific fields. My host institute, the Institut de Mathématiques de Bourgogne (IMB ; CNRS / Université de Bourgogne) hosts a group of Mathematics and Physics, the unique group in France dedicated to interdisciplinary study between those two domains. The IMB was therefore the ideal host laboratory for my research. Before joining UBFC, I was working in France as a post-doc researcher; I discovered the practice of research “à la française“: I have the feeling that science is approached there as an art. All these reasons motivated me to look for an opportunity to come back to France and pursue my research there.

2. Could you give us a better insight of your role inside the laboratory you choose to join?

The IMB, my host institute, covers many research subjects in mathematical science, such as pure and applied mathematics. The Mathematical Physics group, to which I belong, focuses on mathematical questions related to physical phenomena. Among them, I mainly study Quantum Field Theory (QFT), which is one of the universal tools of theoretical physics. QFT has broad applications in various research fields such as particle physics, nuclear physics, astrophysics and cosmology or condensed matter physics. However, the mathematical foundation of QFT is not yet satisfactorily established. My role at the IMB is therefore to study this mathematical question from the viewpoint of physics. To do so, I would like to collaborate with experts in pure and applied mathematics from the IMB. Furthermore, at the crossroads of mathematics and physics, there is considerable potential for interdisciplinary studies. Based on my experience in multidisciplinary research, I strongly enhance interactions between researchers from different research fields. In addition to my research activities, I am also involved in the Master Math4Phys at UBFC. I have given lectures on random matrices, which is a major topic in mathematical physics. Due to the Covid-19 health crisis, I was unfortunately not able to give all the planned teaching hours but will give lectures on similar topics in the coming 2020/2021 academic year.

3. In your opinion, what would be the main strengths of the I-SITE project run by UBFC?

I find that the people involved in the ISITE-BFC program, whether they are researchers or students, are very interactive beyond their disciplines. As stated previously, I teach courses in one of the UBFC Masters program. I have been able to see from the inside the quality of the training offered to students. For those I have had the opportunity to meet during my teaching, they are very dynamic and highly motivated! In general, I find that the ISITE-BFC program offers many opportunities for both researchers and students. I really appreciate the motivating atmosphere and the spirit of excellence of ISITE-BFC and I am grateful for the support that this program gives me for my research.