An associate professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering, Tak Buma almost took a swim in a Venetian canal once.
“About 15 years ago, my wife and I were in Venice and found a quaint restaurant by a canal. We were seated at a table right by the water. I then hear a ‘plop’ and a gasp from my wife. Her handbag had accidentally fallen into the water! I hopped over the safety railing, held onto it with one hand while leaning over and grasping for the slowly sinking handbag. It was just beyond my reach, and I was about to bite the bullet and jump into the water. Then someone behind me hollered, ‘Give me your hand!.’ I turn around and a fellow customer was leaning over the railing with his outstretched arms towards me. So, I let him grab hold of my hand, and he gave me the extra foot that I desperately needed to rescue the handbag just before it was completely submerged. In addition to the profuse thanks from me and my wife, the waiter brought some complementary ouzo to celebrate our team effort!”
Buma has been at Union since 2011, and taught his first class about two weeks after his son was born. “My wife and son were still living in Delaware at the time, so there was a lot to juggle!” Buma's wife, Lisa Trefethen, is a senior assistant director of Admissions Operations at Union.
Buma teaches classes in circuits, electromagnetics, biomedical instrumentation and medical imaging. His research involves biomedical applications of lasers and ultrasound.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
It kind of varies from day to day, but tends to be either email, the weather, CNN or ESPN.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
“Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami. I’ve read several of his books, and for whatever reason, that is my favorite. Having said that, I generally read science fiction and fantasy books. I am currently reading the Dune series.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
Make sure to get enough sleep. That’s nothing original, but it is so true. Lack of sleep really does take a toll on the mind and body!
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
Probably the swimming pool. Although I am a terribly inefficient swimmer, it also means I get an amazing workout after only 20 minutes of laps.
I like cereal. I tend to feast on a mixture of Cheerios, Special K and Frosted Mini-Wheats topped off with banana slices. I have no idea how this concoction came to be, but that’s been my breakfast (along with a cup of coffee) for a really long time.
I don’t regularly listen to podcasts, but I definitely enjoy “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” I also loved “Car Talk” back in the day.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
Hmmm … this is a toss-up between swimming versus fluency in Japanese. As for the latter, I really have no excuse. My parents are Japanese, they spoke Japanese at home when I was a child, and I even went to Japanese school every Saturday until sixth grade. All to no avail, as my mind simply refused to cooperate. At least my (older) brother is reasonably fluent.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU:
I do certain tasks with my left hand and other tasks with my right hand. I write with my left, but use scissors with my right. I throw lefty, but bat righty. Probably the strangest of all is that I play tennis with my left hand, but ping-pong with my right hand.
THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (LIVING OR DECEASED):
Since I enjoy “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!,” I think any three panelists from that show would make for a highly entertaining dinner party.
My first rock concert was Huey Lewis and the News (back in high school). Great Big Sea was the first concert with my wife (technically that was before we were married). U2 was the first concert as a family (actually, my son was a negative-one-month old at the time).