Yoshio Nishina

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Yoshio Nishina
Yoshio Nishina2.JPG
Native name 仁科 芳雄
Born (1890-12-06)December 6, 1890
Satoshō, Okayama
Died January 10, 1951(1951-01-10) (aged 60)
Nationality Japanese
Fields Physics
Notable students Hideki Yukawa, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga
Known for Klein–Nishina formula
Notable awards Asahi Prize in Science (1944)
Yoshio Nishina, Llewellyn Thomas and Friedrich Hund, in Copenhagen in 1926

Yoshio Nishina (仁科 芳雄 Nishina Yoshio?, December 6, 1890 – January 10, 1951) was the founding father of modern physics research in Japan. He co-authored the well-known Klein–Nishina formula. He was a principal investigator of RIKEN and mentored generations of physicists, including two Nobel Laureates: Hideki Yukawa and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. During World War II, he was the head of the Japanese nuclear weapon program. The crater Nishina on the Moon is named in his honor.

Nishina was born in Satoshō, Okayama, and graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1918. After graduation, he became a staff member at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (now RIKEN). In 1921 he was sent to Europe for research. He visited some European universities and institutions, including Cavendish Laboratory, Georg August University of Göttingen, and University of Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, he did research with Niels Bohr and they became good friends. In 1928, he wrote a paper on incoherent or Compton scattering with Oskar Klein in Copenhagen, from which the Klein–Nishina formula derives.[1]

In 1929, he returned to Japan, where he endeavored to foster an environment for the study of quantum mechanics. He established Nishina Laboratory at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research in 1931 and invited some Western scholars to Japan including Heisenberg, Dirac and Bohr to stimulate Japanese physicists. His research was concerned with cosmic rays and particle accelerator development for which he constructed a few cyclotrons at RIKEN. In particular, he detected what turned out to be the muon in cosmic rays, independently of Anderson et al.[1] He also discovered the uranium-237 isotope and pioneered the studies of symmetric fission phenomena occurring upon fast neutron irradiation of uranium (1939–1940). His laboratory was severely damaged during World War II and most equipment had to be discarded and rebuilt after the war.[2]

In 1946, Nishina was awarded the Order of Culture by the Emperor of Japan. Nishina died from liver cancer in 1951.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sin-Itiro Tomonaga Yoshio Nishina, His Sixtieth Birthday, November 20, 1950 (updated January 11, 1951)
  2. ^ Yoshio Nishina – Father of Modern Physics in Japan. Nishina Foundation