I was introduced to the world of making music when I received a beautiful Spanish-made classical guitar as a gift at a very young age. Since then, my two cousins have been great mentors and inspired me to play the guitar all my life. When I was in high school, I got my first electric guitar and joined the ranks of Heavy-Metal as required by the laws of being a teenager. That is when I had my first music band, the heavy-metal / hard-rock “Asparagas“. As an undergraduate student, my musical taste progressed towards Blues and Funk ( rock/metal never died, still lives within ) and I formed the blues-band “Out of Blue” with my friends Ege and Tuna. Together we played for the next 7 years with many people on different venues, festivals and live on the national radio. I carried my guitar with me to Zürich when I began my doctoral studies and kept on playing Funk in a no-name-band ( typical ) for the next 2 years. Of course, traveling for higher-education and academic career took its toll on my band-membership until I joined the multi-cultural Folk band “The Band Gap” at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) in Germany. We initially formed the band to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MPI for Solid State Research in 2019, but we are still playing and singing together. Currently, I am playing my acoustic guitar and waiting for the day to unite with my electric guitar and all the other equipment I had to leave behind.

  • Being mentored by my cousins back in the early '90s.

Scientific Illustrations

I have been interested in digital graphics and illustration design since my undergraduate studies. Back then, I designed logos and posters for student club activities, but soon I realized that it was impossible to satisfy the “artistic needs” of the people who wanted them ( here I want to express my deepest respect for the illustrator artists who make their living despite never-ending customer requests ). So, I decided to use my “skills” for the illustrations in my scientific publications. Below are some examples ( the banner of this website as well ) of my illustrations published in different journals or conference proceedings. If you want to use any of these, please give the proper citation to the relevant publication. Thank you.

  • Copyright © [2016] Hughes, Culha, Giardina, Guenther, Rosendo and Iida. Reprinted from [J. Hughes, et al. "Soft manipulators and grippers: a review." Frontiers in Robotics and AI 3 (2016): 69, DOI ].


I was raised in a family that appreciated arts in all forms and encouraged me to take part in it. Some of them were also artistically talented ( here is my cousin, my father, and my mother ). I believe that I have always benefited from my relationship with art, as it complemented my analytical, computation heavy lifestyle with balance, geometry, and sensorial stimuli. Nowadays, I see more connections with my research and arts in general. I have been recently spending some time on producing art in different mediums. My latest hobby is to produce complex geometrical designs by just using ruler and compass ( and old technique practiced through many centuries in different styles, for example, check out these books by Andrew Sutton and Eric Broug ). Here are some of my attempts that clearly have a lot of room for improvement.

  • Acrylic on canvas, 2019.


I see reading as a necessity, not a past-time activity. Therefore I do my best to read as many books as possible. I am mainly interested in philosophy, history of civilizations, origins of mythologies, arts and architecture, and non-fiction on space, biology and human behavior. I am not so good at finding my next best fictional book, so I always read the classics of literature. Originally, I intended to post my current reads on this website but I already do it on my GoodReads profile, so you can follow me there if you are interested.


In 2014, I started practicing nomadic archery which originated from the horse archers of the nomadic cultures in the east. This archery style is very different from its Olympic relative in terms of the construction of the bows and arrows, pulling, releasing and targeting techniques. I currently own a 45 lb bio-composite ( meaning that it is made of layers of wood, ox horn, and sinew ) Turkish-style recurved horn bow, that I like to practice with whenever possible.

  • My 45 lb bio-composite Turkish recurved bow.

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