Two years ago, Joseph Alexander, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, returned to his Nashville, Tenn., position after a six-month stay in Japan, during which he learned how to apply nonlinear systems theory to models of biological systems. It's a new field, but one in which his hosts at Kyushu University already excel.

Today, Alexander's fond memories of his NSF-sponsored visit are still very much alive. Indeed, about his life in the city of Fukuoka, where Kyushu University is located, he says: "A part of me feels most at home there. I love the experience I had in Japan." Alexander continues to study the Japanese language, he writes in Japanese to friends he made there, and he plans to make annual visits to the country he now considers a second home.

Craig Van Degrift, a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has turned a...

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