Notable Alumni
Leo Esaki

© The Science and Technology Promotion Foundation of Ibaraki

Leo Esaki (Nobel Prize in Physics 1973)

Dr. Leo Esaki graduated from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science in 1947 and earned a PhD in physics from the Graduate School of Science in 1959. Over many years, Dr. Esaki has realized outstanding achievements in the field of semiconductor physics. The following are the two highly significant accomplishments he has made.

Masatoshi Koshiba

© Heisei Foundation for Basic Science

Masatoshi Koshiba
(Nobel Prize in Physics 2002, Distinguished University Professor)

Prof. Masatoshi Koshiba was born in Toyohashi city, Aichi Prefecture in 1926, and was brought up in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. After completing his education at Daiichi High School, he graduated from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, the University of Tokyo. He went on to the graduate school, but went to the U.S. to continue his studies at the University of Rochester where he set a record as the student who earned a doctoral degree in the shortest period of time.

Yoichiro Nambu

© University of Chicago

Yoichiro Nambu (Nobel Prize in Physics 2008)

Prof. Yoichiro Nambu was born in Tokyo in 1921. He was taken at the age of two from Tokyo, after the city had been destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, to his father's hometown in Fukui Prefecture, and he lived there to the age of 17. After completing his primary and secondary education at Fukui City Shimpo Elementary School (now Matsumoto Elementary School), Fukui Junior High School (now Fujishima High School), and Daiichi High School, he entered the University of Tokyo, where he received his B.S. in 1942.

Kunihiko Kodaira

© Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Tokyo

Kunihiko Kodaira (Fields Medal 1954)

The late Prof. Kunihiko Kodaira developed the theory of complex manifolds. The breadth and depth of his research exerted a great impact on the fields of algebraic geometry, complex analysis and mathematical physics. He decided to pursue a career in research during the Second World War. In 1949, not long after the war, he was invited to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton as the second Japanese mathematician in the post-war period to work in the United States (the first was Shizuo Kakutani). Ater that, he wrote 50 papers (1,400 pages in total) during his 19-year stay in the United States.

Kikunae Ikeda

Photo from the book "Recollections of Dr. Kikunae Ikeda

Kikunae Ikeda (Discoverer of "Umami")

Umami seasoning (component: monosodium L-glutamate), widely prevalent as the flavor enhancer "Ajinomoto" in many households in Japan, was discovered in 1907 by the late Prof. Kikunae Ikeda, who was a professor at the Department of Chemistry of Tokyo Imperial University (now the University of Tokyo). The bottle of the first sample of monosodium L-glutamate, extracted from dried kelp by Prof. Ikeda, has been handed down to successive professors in the Department of Chemistry as one of the historical materials of the Umami discovery.