Kavli IPMU’s Tsutomu Yanagida Awarded 20th Particle Physics Medal of Japan

November 17, 2020
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU)
 

In September, Kavli IPMU Visiting Senior Scientist Tsutomu Yanagida was awarded the 20th Particle Physics Medal of Japan. The award is conferred by the Particle and Nuclear Theory Forum of the Physical Society of Japan to persons who have given long-term and important contributions to the development of particle physics theory. 

Yanagida’s award-winning achievement was in recognition of his work in a paper titled “Formulation of a Hidden Local Symmetry and its Application to Hadron Physics.” In a prior publication—titled “Is the ρ Meson a Dynamical Gauge Boson of Hidden Local Symmetry?”—Yanagida and his collaborators succeeded in formulating a hidden local symmetry in QCD (quantum chromodynamics), and proposed the \rho meson as a composite gauge field. 

This paper attracted many researchers working not only on hadron phenomenology, but also nuclear physics. The proposal is now regarded as a very useful and effective theory in studying hadron and nuclear physics. Furthermore, the proposal turned out to be related to very deep phenomena in advanced quantum field theories in the 21st century, including holographic QCD.

“It is highly commendable that, since its formulation, the proposal has continued to influence many particle physics researchers, and, over the years, has greatly contributed to the development of theoretical research in particle physics,” a representative of the  Physical Society of Japan said.

Remembering the journey that preceded the award, Yanagida, who is also a professor at the Tsung-Dao Lee Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said: “When I was a PD [Privatdozent] at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, theoretical physicist J. J. Sakurai visited for almost one year in 1982. During his stay, I got very interested in his idea that the \rho meson was a composite gauge boson of QCD.

“At the same time, I was working on the weak interactions based on some nonlinear sigma model with theoretical physicists Wilfried Buchmüller and Roberto Peccei. We tried to identify the weak boson as an effective gauge boson. I had an interesting idea during this collaboration that the weak boson was nothing but a composite gauge field of a hidden local symmetry in a nonlinear sigma model. 

“Unfortunately, the weak gauge boson was discovered in the beginning of 1983, as predicted by the electroweak gauge theory. So, we failed. However, my colleague at the time Choon-Kyu Lee and I remembered the words of Nobel Prize-wining physicist Steven Weinberg. 

“Weinberg said that he had tried to use Sakurai’s idea on the lepton-sector weak interactions, which led to his electroweak gauge theory. Thus, we tried to use our idea of a composite weak gauge boson on the \rho meson and considered that the \rho meson was a composite gauge field of a hidden local symmetry in a nonlinear sigma model of QCD.  

“However, we never completed the work, since I had to leave Munich soon thereafter. A year after I returned to Japan, I met theoretical physicist Taichiro Kugo in Kyoto University and asked him to formulate our idea on the \rho meson. He was very much interested in it.” In 1985, Yanagida et al’s award-winning, and still influential, paper was published.


Educational background 
1972: Graduated from the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Shizuoka University
1977: Completed the doctoral program at the Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University

Work history
1977: Research Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
1979: Tohoku University, Faculty of Science
1979: Assistant Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Tohoku University
1981-1983: Visiting Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Physics
1986: Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University
1990: Professor, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University
1996: Professor, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
2007-2017: Principal Investigator, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo
2012: Senior Researcher, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo
2009-2019: Specially Appointed Professor, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Uni-verse, University of Tokyo
2012: Specially Appointed Professor, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo
2017-2019: Hamamatsu Professor [Dark Side of the Universe (Hamamatsu Photonics) Donation Research Division]
2019: Visiting Senior Scientist, Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo
2019: T. D. Lee Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Awards
1988: Nishinomiya-Yukawa Memorial Prize
1992: Nishina Memorial Prize
2003: Humboldt Prize (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)
2012: Yoji Totsuka Prize
2015: Helmholtz International Fellow Award (Helmholtz Association)

Related Links
List of Winners of Elementary Particle Medal (Page of Particle Physics Committee)

Is the ρ Meson a Dynamical Gauge Boson of Hidden Local Symmetry? (Physical Review Letters)

T. D. Lee Professor Tsutomu Yanagida awarded the 20th Particle Physics Medal of Japan,  Particle and Nuclear Theory Forum, Physical Society of Japan (The Tsung-Dao Lee Institute of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University)