Koichiro Nishikawa wins 2016 Pontecorvo Prize

March 1, 2017

Professor Koichiro Nishikawa has been awarded the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize for the year 2016. The Bruno Pontecorvo Prize is awarded by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, for elementary particle physics. The prize commemorates Prof. Bruno Pontecorvo, a pioneering neutrino physicist who worked for many decades at JINR.

The Prize was awarded to Prof Nishikawa «for his outstanding contributions to the study of the neutrino oscillation phenomenon and to the measurement of the θ13 mixing angle in the T2K experiment». Prof Nishikawa is the founding spokesperson of the T2K and K2K collaborations. The Prize is shared by Prof Nishikawa with Prof Yifang Wang (IHEP, China) for the Daya Bay experiment and Prof Soo-Bong Kim (SNU, Republic of Korea) for the RENO experiment.

The 2016 Pontecorvo Prize decision was approved by the JINR Scientific Council on 24 February 2017, and Prof Nishikawa will be invited to an awards ceremony at the September 2017 session of the JINR Scientific Council to receive the award.

T2K is an accelerator-based long-baseline neutrino experiment in Japan. It uses the J-PARC Main Ring proton accelerator to create an intense beam of muon neutrinos. The neutrinos are directed to the Super-Kamiokande detector in the Kamioka mine deep inside Mt Ikeno, 295 km away from J-PARC. Prof Nishikawa’s citation for the prize was given for the observation of electron neutrino appearance in the muon neutrino beam, which is the first observation of the appearance of a neutrino flavour. This discovery sets the stage for the study of differences in the neutrino oscillation process relative to their antiparticles (antineutrinos), called CP violation, that may elucidate how the universe came to be matter dominated. T2K has recently published the first search for CP violation  with neutrino and antineutrino oscillations.

The T2K Collaboration currently includes over 400 members from 64 institutions in 12 countries.

T2K is hosted jointly by the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo (ICRR).