July 8, 1979 - Death of Shin'ichirō Tomonaga, Nobel Laureate for his work in quantum electrodynamics

A physics graduate, he studied and worked at Kyoto Imperial University, where he coincided with Hediki Yukawa, who was to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1949 for formulating the hypothesis of mesons (particles of intermediate mass between the electron and the neutron), based on theoretical work on nuclear forces.

In 1931 he moved to the Tokyo Research Institute of Physics and Chemistry, where he worked under the supervision of Dr. Yoshio Nishina, who introduced him to the world of quantum physics.

In 1937, he began working at the University of Leipzig, collaborating with Werner Heisenberg's research group. Two years later, due to the outbreak of World War II, he returned to Japan where he completed his doctoral thesis on the study of nuclear materials at the University of Tokyo.

From 1940 onwards, he began to study mesons in-depth, which allowed him, between 1942 and 1943, to introduce a series of fundamental corrections in the theory of quantum electrodynamics. At the same time as this work, he embarked on a brilliant teaching career.

In 1948, together with his students, he re-examined a paper by Sidney Dancoff on quantum electrodynamics and discovered the renormalisation method, independently obtaining the same results as Julian Schwinger. The following year Tomonaga was invited by Robert Oppenheimer to work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton Town (New Jersey), where he led a team devoted to the study of another quantum particle, the fermion.

In 1955, back in Japan, Tomonaga became director of the Nuclear Institute of the University of Tokyo, and a year later he was appointed rector of the University of Tokyo, a position he held until 1962.

In 1965, together with Julian Seymour Schwinger and Richard Phillips Feynman, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental work in the study of quantum electrodynamics, which led to a deeper understanding of the physics of elementary particles.

If you want to know more about this scientist, click here: Shin'ichirō Tomonaga

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