Masatoshi Koshiba and Cosmic Neutrinos

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Masatoshi Koshiba
Courtesy of Sebastian Brandt

'The 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to … Masatoshi Koshiba of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics at the University of Tokyo in Japan, … "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos." …

Neutrinos are important in astrophysics since they might have played a considerable role in shaping early galaxies; they are the form of energy coming directly from the solar core; and they account for the largest share of energy released during supernova explosions.…'1

…Koshiba, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, received his doctorate from the University of Rochester in [1955]. This year [2000], he is the co-recipient of the Wolf Prize in Physics, considered second only to the Nobel Prize in prestige, for his discovery that neutrinos have mass. Neutrinos are tiny particles smaller than atoms, and Koshiba's discovery is being hailed for its ramifications in the study of astronomical objects and the fundamental properties of matter, helping scientists to understand the birth of the universe. Koshiba started his career as a research associate at the University of Rochester, then went on to teach at the University of Tokyo." 2

"[Koshiba] retired in 1987. He is perhaps best known for masterminding the Kamiokande detector -- a giant underground facility filled with water to catch the elusive neutrinos emitted from the Sun, confirming our understanding of the nuclear reactions that power stars. His work helped launch a new field of research, neutrino-astronomy." 3

1Edited excerpt from Nobel Prize in Physics Honors Astrophysics Pioneers, America Physical Society (APS)
2Edited excerpt from Emil Wolf and Masatoshi Koshiba to Receive Awards at Doctoral Commencement, University of Rochester
3Edited excerpt from Masatoshi Koshiba (Rochester Ph.D. '55) to Share 2002 Nobel Prize …, University of Rochester

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