Prizes & Awards

Prof. Shimoda has been selected as a Person of Cultural Merit

  • K. Tsubono (Professor, Department of Physics)
Figure 1

Prof. Koichi Shimoda

Professor Emeritus, Koichi Shimoda has been selected as one of the Persons of Cultural Merit 2008. He graduated from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo in 1943. In 1948 he joined the University as an associate professor of the School of Science and in 1959 as a professor. Since his retirement, he has been active in the fields of physics research and education.

The first research Prof. Shimoda worked on was the study on microwave radar that led to the research on microwave spectroscopy after the World War II. The microwave spectroscopy research led by him made an outstanding contribution to the radio astronomy in Japan. In addition, at the early stage of maser and laser research in the 1950s and 1960s, he made achievements in building the basis of the maser and laser study together with C.H. Towns and other scientists. After that, he proceeded to the study of laser spectroscopy and developed a wide variety of researches ranging from the basic research of Stark Spectroscopy and double resonance to laser-applied technology.

Prof. Shimoda has passionately devoted himself to his research as well as the science and physics education. He served as the chairman of the Physics Education Society of Japan for 16 years until 2 years ago and he has published numerous educational textbooks and study guide. Furthermore, he has produced a large number of leading researchers and educators in the field of physics.

In May 2007, there was a celebration of his eighty-eighth birthday. The highlight of the celebration was Prof. Shimoda's lecture. Three experiments were performed with scientific demonstrations and explanations based on his own ideas. They were performed in front of the people who came for the celebration: the first experiment was a magnetic levitation experiment using permanent magnets only (floated body was completely motionless), the second was an interference experiment using laser and optical fiber, and the third was an automatic Sink-Float experiment. All the experiments were both surprising and amusing. Prof. Shimoda's never-ending affection and curiosity toward physics and his passion for enlightenment left a strong impression on the participants.

I wish Prof. Shimoda continued good health and success for many years to come.