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11/09/2015 - Yoichiro Suzuki and Takaaki Kajita awarded 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Yoichiro Suzuki Project Professor and Principal Investigator Yoichiro Suzuki (Credit: Kavli IPMU)

(Originally published by Kavli IPMU)

November 9, 2015

Seven scientists who pioneered neutrino oscillation research have been named recipients of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, announced the Breakthrough Prize Foundation today.

This year’s award goes to individuals belonging to, or leading one of five neutrino experiment groups in the world, including Kavli IPMU Project Professor Yoichiro Suzuki, and 2015 Nobel Laureate and Institute for Cosmic Ray Research Director Takaaki Kajita. The two had worked together as members of the Super-Kamiokande experiment team.

“The discovery of neutrino oscillations opened the gateway to something bigger than the particle Standard Model at the time. It has even been called the key to solving the mystery regarding matter creation in the universe. To give this prize to people who were involved with neutrino oscillation discovery and its subsequent experimental groups is an important step in handing the research onto a future generation of scientists. Neutrino experiments are always large-scale. Results from such experiments were not possible to be obtained by limited number of people, but by tremendous efforts of all the collaborators. I am grateful that this prize allows me literary to share this momentous occasion with my fellow scientists and friends,” said Yoichiro Suzuki.

Takaaki KajitaInstitute for Cosmic Ray Research Director and Kavli IPMU Principal Investigator Takaaki Kajita (Credit: Kavli IPMU)

The Breakthrough Prize is an international award, recognizing the work of scientists working in three categories: Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Mathematics.
The Fundamental Physics Prize was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner, and is awarded to scientists who have contributed to human knowledge of the mysteries of the Universe. The first prize was awarded to nine individuals including Alan Guth for his pioneering work on cosmic inflation, and Edward Witten for his significant contribution to string theory.

Last year’s Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to 2011 Nobel Laureates Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess for their work on supernovae, which lead them to discover the universe was expanding at an accelerated rate.

This year’s prize has been awarded to Project Professor Suzuki and Professor Kajita for their contribution to the Super-Kamiokande project in discovering both atmospheric and solar neutrino oscillations. The other five scientists are also being recognized for their discoveries of neutrino oscillations, which opened up an entirely new frontier in the particle physics Standard Model. They are Atsuto Suzuki (former Director of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, and current President of Iwate Prefectural University), K2K and T2K experiments, Koichiro Nishikawa (former Director of Institute of Particle and Nuclear Studies, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization), SNOLAB researcher and 2015 Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald from Canada, Daya Bay experiment and two of its members Yifang Wang and Kam-Biu Luk.

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