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January 30, 2007

恩師の死に寄せて

大学時代の研究室の教授が亡くなられたとの話を今日聞きました。先生は私の卒業(修士課程修了)と同時に退官されたので、70歳ちょっとでしょうか。早すぎる死に驚きを禁じ得ません。

最後にお会いしたのは、3年前のちょうど今頃。実は、アメリカへの留学先(研究室)を紹介してくれたのは先生でした。「この先生はすごくいい人だから、絶対ここに行った方がいいよ」と力強く言ってくれたことを思い出します。

そして事実、いい先生に恵まれてアメリカでの2年間をとても有意義に過ごすことが出来ました。

日本に戻ってきてからはすっかりドタバタしてしまい、先生にご挨拶に行く機会を失ってはや一年ちょっと。まさかこういった結末を迎えようとは夢にも思っていませんでした。

忙しい先生でしたので、普段は学生と接する時間がほとんどなかったのですが、週例会ではみんなにすごく的確なアドバイスをされていたのを思い出します。私が言うのもおこがましいのですが、あそこまで的確に物事の本質を捉えられる人は他にはいないと思います。

そして何より印象的なのは、そのアドバイスが「常にポジティブ」であったということです。いつもニコニコしながら学生の報告を聞き、たとえそれが行き詰まっているような内容であっても否定的なことは言わず、「でもこの結果は面白いね。そこをもうちょっと調べてみたら?」といったコメントを残されました。道に迷って困っている学生にとってその言葉がどれだけ有り難いものか、研究を生業にされている方ならよくお分かりになるかと思います。

学生時代を含めて、私の研究生活はもう14年が終わろうとしています。そして、私の研究人生を支えている最も大きな財産は、実は先生から教えてもらった、「研究者は常に前向きであれ」という姿勢なのです。

そして、今後もその姿勢を持ち続けることは、私が出来る先生へのせめてもの恩返しだと思っています。

先生、留学から帰ってきてからご挨拶に行けず申し訳ありません。
今まで本当にありがとうございました。

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