Department of Physics

History / Legacy
The origin of the present Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University was founded in April, 1939 when Nagoya Imperial University was inaugurated as Japan's ninth Imperial University. In May, 1940 the School started as the School of Science and Engineering and in April, 1942 it was split into two, namely, School of Science and School of Engineering. The School of Science consisted of four departments: Departments of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. The Department of Physics initially had three Kozas. Koza is a Japanese word literally meaning Lecture Seat and in its full scale, it consisted of a full professor (Kyoju), an assistant professor (Jokyoju), and two research associates (Joshu). Koza constituted the minimal set of research groups under the strong leadership of the full professors. The number of Kozas in the Department of Physics was increased to four in October, 1942, and to five in November, 1943. Since then the Department had had five Kozas until 1957, when another Koza was added. The first full professors of the five Kozas at the Physics Department were Naomi MIYABE (geophysics), Kanetaka ARIYAMA (condensed matter physics theory), Ryozi UYEDA (condensed matter physics experiment), Shoichi SAKATA (elementary particle physics theory), and Yataro SEKIDO (cosmic ray physics). The Department of Physics with five Kozas thus had about twenty faculty members, and including technical staffs, it had about 30 faculty and staff members. The number of undergraduate students was 20 per year, and the number of graduate students per year was about two to five. The Imperial University education consisted of three years for undergraduate students and a few years for graduate students. Hence, the total number of physics students was about 60 to 70 altogether.
It was in the middle of World War II, and the Department of Physics had to suffer from various war-time disasters. For instance, Assistant Professor (Jokyoju) Goro HAYAKAWA (optics) was killed in Tokyo on March 10, 1945, when Tokyo was completely destroyed by the American air raids and bombing. (Assistant Professor Goro HAYAKAWA's position was later taken by full Professor Yataro SEKIDO.) The City of Nagoya was not free from war disasters, either. On March 25, 1945, when American bombing devastated Nagoya, one of the students in the Physics Department died, as one of thousands of citizen casualties. Seeing this, the Department of Physics immediately decided to evacuate into safer rural areas of Japan such as Komoro (experimental groups) and Fujimi (theoretical groups) in Shinshu Region (mostly present Nagano Prefecture). The entire Physics Department of about 100 members moved to these safer areas. The Physics Department rented an elementary school, library, and warehouses of local business, and turned them into class rooms, laboratory rooms, office rooms, etc. It also rented rooms for housing and boarding. The faculty, staff, and student members thus spent several months of "summer camp"-like endeavors together until the end of the War in August, 1945 (actually, this evacuation lasted from April to around October, 1945). Despite hunger (due to lack of food) and various inconveniences due to war-time shortage of everything, everyone was very enthusiastic about research, teaching, and learning. One emeritus professor recalls the time and tells us that he "enjoyed" a seminar class reading Dirac's quantum mechanics textbook with students in the warehouse class room.
After the War, the Department of Physics came back to Nagoya only to find that many parts of the City of Nagoya were destroyed. Hence, they had to restart everything from scratch despite severe shortage of everything including food, clothes, laboratory equipments, campus buildings, etc. However, everyone knew that he/she can finally concentrate on physics research and so was very enthusiastic and optimistic about the new start. Led by Professor Shoichi SAKATA, the Department of Physics introduced the Charter of Physics Department on June 13, 1946, in which democracy was placed to be the guiding principle of Department affairs. Before this, physics research was conducted by Kozas which were hierarchically controlled by full professors. Instead of Kozas, Research Groups were created with members of common research interest, where Research Groups could be easily created or reformed, following the members' will. The first Research Groups were: D Lab (electron diffraction), E Lab (elementary particle), G Lab (geophysics), H Lab (cosmic ray), K Lab (colloid), M Lab (ferromagnetism), and S Lab (super conductivity). Note that the number of Research Groups was seven and more than five, which was the number of full professors.
The Charter claims that as far as physics research is concerned, all the faculty members and students should be treated equal. This encouraged especially younger members of the Department to be responsible and actively participate in discussions of physics research. This idealism for academic democracy and freedom was then never even conceived elsewhere in Japanese universities not to mention the Japanese Ministry of Education. It was thus installed as an unofficial Charter without the approval of the Ministry of Education, and even today it remains to be an internal agreement of the Department. Soon after the Charter was announced, several physics departments in other Japanese universities introduced similar systems, but the number of such departments remained small, considering the radicalness and pure idealistic nature of the Charter.
In 2007 the Ministry of Education finally realized that Koza in which full professors control everything is no good and it changed the titles of assistant professor (Jokyoju) and research associate (Joshu) to associate professor (Junkyoju) and assistant professor (Jokyo), respectively, in order to encourage their academic independence from the Koza systems. Hence, the Department of Physics was indeed 60 years ahead of the time. We believe that this philosophy of academic democracy and freedom was indeed an important cradle for many original and innovative research results and great physicists that came from the Department of Physics. One clear such example is the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to two of Professor SAKATA's students, Professors Makoto KOBAYASHI and Toshihide MASKAWA.
Through many decades since its creation, the Department of Physics has grown to have about 70 regular faculty members (full professors, associate professors, lecturers, and assistant professors), 20 technical and administrative staffs, and about 600 undergraduate and graduate students. The present curriculum consists of four years of undergraduate education, two years of graduate education for Master of Science degrees, and three more years of graduate education for Ph.D. degrees. The Department currently has about 25 Research Groups which are actively engaged in all four major fields of physics, namely, astrophysics, elementary particle physics, condensed matter physics, and biophysics. The Department has very active Research Groups in the elementary particle physics and condensed matter physics fields, which are two major fields of physics found in most of universities in Japan. The Department also has one of the largest and strongest Research Groups in astrophysics field and in biophysics field, while many other physics departments in Japanese universities have only a small number, if not zero, of researchers in these two emerging fields.
There are many famous and great physicists who passed through the Department of Physics as professors and students. Just to mention a few, in the following we list a small number of such giants whose works were reported in, e.g., philosophia, the biannual Bulletin of the School of Science, Nagoya University, and Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University:
* Shoichi SAKATA
has proposed the "Two-Meson Theory", a conclusive clue to establishing Yukawa's Meson Theory, has proposed the "C-Meson Theory", a forerunner of the renormalization theory, has discovered the criterion for renormalizability, has proposed the "Sakata Model", a forerunner of the quark model, and has discovered the "Maki-Nakagawa-Sakata Matrix", which has predicted neutrino oscillations, and more, thereby leading Japan's theoretical elementary particle physics research together with two other key outstanding figures in the field, namely, Hideki YUKAWA and Sin-itiro TOMONAGA. [philosophia No.2, p.2]
* Makoto KOBAYASHI
has discovered the "Kobayashi-Maskawa Matrix", which predicted the existence of a third generation of quarks and explained the mechanism for CP violation. [philosophia No.2, p.21] [philosophia No.15, p.19] [philosophia No.17, p.2] [2008 Nobel Prize in Physics]
* Toshihide MASKAWA
has discovered the "Kobayashi-Maskawa Matrix", which predicted the existence of a third generation of quarks and explained the mechanism for CP violation. [philosophia No.2, p.21] [philosophia No.15, p.19] [philosophia No.16, p.2] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.5, p.6] [2008 Nobel Prize in Physics]
* Yoshiro ONUKI
has discovered the U(3) symmetry in the Sakata Model, a composite of model of elementary paricles, and from this work, has clarified the mathematical structures of the Sakata Model, which showed the usefulness of group theory (symmetry) in classification of elementary particles. This classification based on U(3) symmetry led to the quark model by Gell-Mann et al. He has also given a precise formulation method of fermion fields based on the method of coherent states, using path integrals. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.4, p.6]
* Shuzo OGAWA
has pointed out the role of symmetry in the Sakata Model, and has discovered the U(3) symmetry with Y. Onuki et al. He has also given a theoretical interpretation that the event in the cosmic ray which was observed by Niu et al. had involved a new particle (known as the charm quark now). [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.4, p.16]
* Susumu KAMEFUCHI
has proposed the "C-Meson Theory", a forerunner of the renormalization theory, has discovered the criterion for renormalizability, and has proposed the spectral representation of elementary particles.
* Hiroomi UMEZAWA
has proposed the "C-Meson Theory", a forerunner of the renormalization theory, has discovered the criterion for renormalizability, has proposed the spectral representation of elementary particles, and has proposed the quantum field theory at finite temperatures.
* Ziro MAKI
has discovered the "Maki-Nakagawa-Sakata Matrix", which has predicted neutrino oscillations, and has proposed a quaternion model of elementary particles. [philosophia No.30, p.4]
* Masami NAKAGAWA
has discovered the "Maki-Nakagawa-Sakata Matrix", which has predicted neutrino oscillations. [philosophia No.30, p.4]
* Yasushi TAKAHASHI
has discovered the "Ward-Takahashi identity".
* Anthony Ichiro SANDA
has proposed a renormalizable gauge fixing method in broken gauge symmetric theory and has developed the theory of CP violations in B meson decays that will prove the Kobayashi-Maskawa Theory, and has given a strong motivation for the experiments in Belle at KEK, Japan and BaBar at SLAC, USA, as well as fixing the necessary parameters of the accelerators to perform the experiments. [philosophia No.8, p.4]
* Yataro SEKIDO
has studied anisotropy and origin of cosmic rays by muon telescopes and founded cosmic ray researches in Japan. [philosophia No.28, p.2]
* Kiyoshi NIU
has discovered a new elementary particle that includes the charm quark in cosmic ray data recorded in a nuclear emulsion plate. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.18, p.4]
* Kimio NIWA
has developed a full-automatic nuclear emulsion read-out system and has discovered the tau neutrino. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.3, p.16]
* Akira TOMIMATSU
has discovered the "Tomimatsu-Sato Solution", which is one of the exact solutions to the Einstein Equation in the General Theory of Relativity. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.17, p.16]
* Satio HAYAKAWA
has started space astronomy research in Japan with X-ray and infrared observations, including the first rocket observation of cosmic X-rays. [philosophia No.4, p.2]
* Yasuo TANAKA
has led Japanese X-ray astronomy research to the first class in the world with many X-ray missions. [philosophia No.24, p.2]
* Ryozi UYEDA
has pioneered in the world the development of a reflection high-energy electron diffraction device featuring a vacuum evaporator and has also become a pioneer in Japan's nanoscience research with his works on superfine particles. [philosophia No.6, p.2]
* Norio KATO
has developed the X-ray diffraction topography, has established a dynamical diffraction theory based on spherical waves, has served as President of the International Union of Crystallography, and has contributed to the establishment of the Japanese Association for Crystal Growth. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.12, p.6]
* Tadao KASUYA
has discovered the "Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida (RKKY) Interaction", which is a long-distance interaction between localized spins existing in different sites of metal. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.5]
* Kei YOSIDA
has discovered the "Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida (RKKY) Interaction", which is a long-distance interaction between localized spins existing in different sites of metal and has also shown that the groundstate in Kondo Effects is a spin singlet. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.12, p.6] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.5]
* Sadao NAKAJIMA
has developed the theory of many body problem deriving the attractive force between electrons in superconductivity from phonon and Coulomb repulsive interactions. [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.5]
* Huzio NAKANO
has discovered the "Nakano-Kubo Formula" for electric conductivity, which is one of the bases for non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. [philosophia No.19, p.2] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.5]
* Akio YOSHIMORI
has discovered the screw-type structure in the rutile type crystal due to the competition of anti-ferromagnetic interaction between spins on the body centered cubic lattice, and explained the spin structure observed in the experiment of MnO2.
* Yousuke NAGAOKA
has discovered the "Nagaoka ferromagnetism" which shows the maximum total spin due to a hole moving in the conduction electron system with the strong on-site repulsive interaction, and also developed a theory in the early study of the Kondo effect.
* Fumio OOSAWA
has discovered the "Asakura-Oosawa Theory" on depletion forces, has started biophysics research in Japan, has sent out his students to many universities nationwide as professors to start biophysics groups there, and has played a major role in the inauguration of the Biophysical Society of Japan. [philosophia No.7, p.14] [philosophia No.20, p.19] [philosophia No.24, p.18] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.12, p.6] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.11] [2009 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science (Lifetime Achievement)]
* Sho ASAKURA
has discovered the "Asakura-Oosawa Theory" on depletion forces and has also succeeded in in-vitro reconstruction of bacterial flagella, elucidating the mechanism of flagella formation. [philosophia No.7, p.14] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.12, p.6] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.21, p.11]
* Tatsuo OOI
has developed the "Ooi Map" of two-dimensional distance map of amino-acid pairs and has developed a method for representing solvation free energy of proteins in terms of solvent-accessible surface ares. [philosophia No.7, p.14] [Alumni Bulletin of School of Science, Nagoya University, No.12, p.6]
* Mitiko GO
has discovered the correspondence relation between the modules of protein structures and the exons in DNA. [philosophia No.1, p.4]
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