Japan Nobel laureate Koshiba who found neutrinos dies at 94

Japan Nobel laureate Koshiba who found neutrinos dies at 94
In this Oct. 8, 2002, file photo, Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba smiles during a press conference at the University of Tokyo, in Tokyo after winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002. Koshiba, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for his pioneering researches into the make-up of the universe, died Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, said the university. He was 94. (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa, File)

Japanese astrophysicist Masatoshi Koshiba, a co-winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in physics for confirming the existence of elementary particles called neutrinos, has died. He was 94.

Koshiba, a distinguished professor at the University of Tokyo, died at a Tokyo hospital on Thursday, the university announced Friday. It didn't provide a cause of death.

Koshiba devised the construction of giant underground chambers to detect neutrinos, elusive particles that stream from the sun.

Neutrinos offer a unique view of the sun's inner workings because they are produced in its heart by the same process that causes the sun to shine.

He shared the prize with two other scientists—the late Raymond Davis Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania, who also worked on neutrino detectors, and the late Italian-born scientist Riccardo Giacconi, who was cited for X-ray telescopes that provide sharper images of the universe.

Koshiba worked at the Kamiokande neutrino detector, a huge facility built in the mountains in central Japan. He confirmed and extended Davis' work, and also discovered neutrinos coming from distant supernova explosions, some of the brightest objects in the universe.

Koshiba's contribution led to subsequent discoveries. His student, Takaaki Kajita, won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2015 for research at the Super-Kamiokande facility that found neutrinos have mass.

  • Japan Nobel laureate Koshiba who found neutrinos dies at 94
    In this Dec. 10, 2002, file photo, Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba receives the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 from King Carl Gustaf of Sweden during a ceremony at the Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. Koshiba, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for his pioneering researches into the make-up of the universe, died Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, the University of Tokyo said. He was 94. (Jonas Ekstromer/Pool Photo via AP, File)
  • Japan Nobel laureate Koshiba who found neutrinos dies at 94
    In this Oct. 8, 2002, Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba sits with his wife Keiko Koshiba answering a congratulatory phone call as TV news reports his winning of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics at his home in Tokyo. Koshiba, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for his pioneering researches into the make-up of the universe, died Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, the University of Tokyo said. He was 94. (Kyodo News via AP, File)
  • Japan Nobel laureate Koshiba who found neutrinos dies at 94
    In this Oct. 8, 2002, file photo, Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba, right, is congratulated by 1973 Nobel Prize winner in Physics Reona Ezaki after Koshiba won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 at the University of Tokyo, in Tokyo. Koshiba, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for his pioneering researches into the make-up of the universe, died Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, the university said. He was 94. (AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa, File)

Koshiba was active in for , and established a basic science foundation using his Nobel Prize award to provide learning experiences for and .

A native of Toyohashi in central Japan, Koshiba graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1951 and studied in the United States before returning to Japan in 1958 to pursue his research.


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