ıntervıew: YAGIZ PEKKAYA
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF METE ATATÜRE
We are talking to Atature, a professor of physics, about the concepts of destiny, science, reality, imagination between Istanbul and Cambridge.
Mr. Mete, how did you decide to measure something that could not be measured?
We were actually working on a very other project with my students and other fellow researchers. When we talked about some measurement results, we realized that indirectly we had the opportunity to capture a signal that was difficult to measure and was barely there. As a team, we decided to put aside what we were doing at the time and measure the sound of light called immeaserable, and focused on it for a year and a half.
What have you been dealing with the most lately?
I'm now centered on the quantum optical properties of new atom-thick graphene-like materials. We're still researching the subject, because it's the first time we've already filed a patent.
Do you like to be the one to ask questions or the one who answers the questions?
Both. Answering the only questions is not learning anything new, and in this case, just asking questions means not looking for a solution. In my case, if the two of them are together, I have a chance to be both a good researcher and a good teacher.
Aside from the mee-only reality of science for a moment, do you believe in fate?
The course of our lives is kneaded not only by our wishes, but also by where we live and over time. That's why I don't believe in fate based on the word, a determinist approach is not for me.
So, where does dream stand in this equation?
When faced with a question worth investigating and answering, my imagination kicks in. It's like walking through the woods without a compass, assuming you're wandering in a dream world, you meet reality and move on.
There is talk of a trial and error process that has been going on for 35 years. Weren't you afraid to fail or give up?
It's the nature of science, because if there's a scientist who says he's never been wrong and never beaten, you shouldn't believe him. Every trial and error gives birth to new information, so we were able to take the final step using data obtained by all researchers who had come the same way before us. So my only fear in the process was that my students would be discouraged.
Mr. Mete, in this case, are you an inventor or a scientist?
I'm a scientist. Sometimes the line may not be very clear, but one shouldn't put too sharp lines in science. A beautiful saying by former physicist Sam Edwards is always on my mind: "Physics is what physicists deal with." It could be like inventing like an inventor, and let's see what happens and go on a path that doesn't end.
Who did you call first after you completed the measurement?
Anyone. After we made sure the results were correct, we went to the pub as a team and celebrated our success.