Professor Takaaki Kajita is Special University Professor and Principal Investigator at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, and the Director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research at the University of Tokyo. He is an outstanding Japanese scholar and an experimental physicist, known for the neutrino experiments he carried out at Kamiokande and its successor, Super-Kamiokande of Kamioka Observatory, in the City of Hida of Gifu Prefecture, Japan.
Professor Kajita was born on ninth March 1959 in the small town of Higashimatsuyama of Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Even at an early age, he preferred grappling with complex subjects rather than memorizing answers about them. He was particularly interested in Physics, Biology, World History, Japanese History, and the Earth Sciences while still in high school. He studied Physics at Saitama University and graduated from the institution in 1981. In April 1981, he came into contact with Professor Masatoshi Koshiba (another future Noble Laureate) as his graduate student at the University of Tokyo and received a doctorate from it in 1986.
At the Neutrino International Conference held in Takayama, Gifu, in 1998, Dr. Kajita came up with compelling evidence about the existence of atmospheric neutrino oscillations. According to Dr. Kajita, "Neutrinos are unusual, ghost-like particles. Every second, more than 60 billion of them pass through every square centimeter of our body (and through everything else); most of them originate from the Sun."
In 2015, Professor Kajita shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Canadian physicist Arthur McDonald, whose team had come up with a similar conclusion at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Ontario, Canada. Professor Kajita’s work, as well as the work of Professor McDonald, helped solve the longstanding solar neutrino problem, created by a major divergence between projected and measured solar neutrino fluxes. Their work revealed that the Standard Model, which requires neutrinos to be massless, had weaknesses. In a news conference at the University of Tokyo, shortly after the Nobel announcement, Professor Kajita said wittily, "I want to thank the neutrinos, of course. And, since neutrinos are created by cosmic rays, I want to thank them, too."
Dr. Kajita has been awarded the Nishina Memorial Prize, the Japan Academy Prize, the Panofsky Prize and the Yogi Totsuka Prize for his discoveries. The KAMIOKANDE group was awarded the Asahi Prize and Bruno Rossi Prize, and the Super-KAMIOKANDE group the Asahi Prize.
Mr. Kajita has been the recipient of honorary doctorates awarded by quite a few universities based in countries in many parts of the world, including, India, Italy, Switzerland and Bolivia.
For Professor Takaaki Kajita's commitment and contribution to advanced studies, his outstanding research work and his discovery of neutrino oscillation, the University of Dhaka is proud to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) today, the 9th of December 2019.
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