The Rigakubu News

DATE2022.09.19 #FEATURES#The Rigakubu News

Meet Researchers in the Sciences Vol.2 Masashi Yokoyama

Exciting and interesting things are
the driving force of research.

Masashi Yokoyama, Professor, Department of Physics,
School of Science, The University of Tokyo

After receiving his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 2002, he joined the long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment using artificial neutrino beams as an Assistant Professor at Kyoto University in 2003. He led the design, construction, operation, and data analysis of neutrino detectors in the K2K and T2K experiments. In 2009, he joined the Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, the University of Tokyo, as an Associate Professor, and has assumed his current position since 2019.

Q. What was your favorite subject as a child?
A. There was no particular subject that I particularly liked. What I was not good at were art and physical education. 
Anyway, I was not good at practical skills.


Q. What were your interests when you were in junior high or high school?
A. In middle school, I played video games all the time. In high school, I was active in the vocal music and literature clubs. 
I am of the NES generation, so when I was in elementary and middle school, all I did was play games. I grew up in the countryside of Ehime and had nothing to do, so when I think about it now, I spent my time leisurely. I didn't have access to information on the Internet like I do now, so I read a lot of books.


Q. What books or textbooks would you recommend for students?
A. George Gamow, "Mr Tompkins in Wonderland"; Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
I read this book in middle and high school and feel it influenced me. I hope people who do not specialize in physics will read this book.


Q. Who is your spiritual mentor?
A. Inscrutable are the ways of heaven
When I was in elementary school, I was impressed by the legend. I decided to try to live my life with a generous heart and not be happy or sad about the immediate future.


Q. Here's what I like about the University of Tokyo, School of Science!
A. Where people are doing cutting-edge research.
Because it is a gathering of people doing cutting-edge research. 


Q. What are your hobbies?
A. Reading. I read mostly serious mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy.
The book I've reread the most is probably "The Lord of the Rings"; in science fiction, I've recently read "Three Bodies" and the "The Murderbot Diaries" series. I used to read mystery novels, new and old, at random, but the quantity has decreased recently. 


Q. Do you think you're lucky?
A. Yes, very much.
I was able to find my current research because I won a game of rock-paper-scissors when I was selecting my laboratory. 


Q. Do you think there is extraterrestrial life?
A. Yes.
As we learn more about the vastness of the universe, it is hard to believe that life exists only on Earth. However, we don't know if it is life that we can call space "people," and it is probably not in a neighborhood where it could come to Earth. 




Not knowing" is the most interesting thing.


The Faculty of Science web magazine "Rigakuru" introduces a detailed interview article.




― This article is from the "Meet Researchers in the Sciences" series in The Rigakubu News ―

Translated by Office of Communication