Takashi Kobayashi and Tsuyoshi Nakaya have been awarded the Nishina Memorial Prize for 2014 for their contributions to discovering oscillations from muon neutrinos to electron neutrinos. Takashi Kobayashi is a professor of physics at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and is a Spokesperson for T2K. Tsuyoshi Nakaya is a professor of physics at Kyoto University and was the Analysis Coordinator for T2K from 2009-2013. The award ceremony was held at the Tokyo Kaikan.
The discovery of oscillations from muon neutrinos to electron neutrinos was announced by T2K in July 2013. T2K makes a beam of muon neutrinos in Tokai on the east coast of Japan, and sends it 295 km to its far detector Super-Kamiokande in western Japan. The announcement was made following the finding of 28 candidate electron neutrino events in Super-Kamiokande. This is an extremely important discovery as it is the first time that an explicit appearance of a unique flavor of neutrino at a detection point has been unequivocally observed from a different flavor of neutrino at its production point. This discovery also enables us to pursue a discovery of charge-parity violation in the lepton sector that may provide us with a critical key in our understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, one of the most profound mysteries in science.
The Nishina Memorial prize is awarded annually to young physicists for their achievements in the field of atomic and subatomic physics. It commemorates the eminent Japanese physicist Yoshio Nishina (1890-1951) who discovered the uranium-237 isotope and co-authored the Klein-Nishina formula giving the cross section of photons scattered from a single free electron.
Congratulations Kobayashi-san and Nakaya-san !