Wolf Prize Laureate in Physics 2000
Affiliation at the time of the award:
University of Tokyo, Japan
“for their pioneering observations of astronomical phenomena by detection of neutrinos, thus creating the emerging field of neutrino astronomy”.
The observations of the elusive neutrinos of astrophysical origin, by Davis and by Koshiba, have opened a new window of opportunity for the study of astronomical objects, such as the sun and exploding stars, and the study of fundamental properties of matter. Davis and Koshiba developed complementary methods that have yielded important scientific results and have inspired the development of new neutrino detection experiments.
Professor Masatoshi Koshiba led the design and construction of the Kamiokande detector and its successors. The Kamiokande detectors broke new ground, by recording the time of arrival, energy and direction of the incoming neutrinos. These attributes were essential in identifying neutrinos from Supernova 1987a; in identifying that low energy neutrinos originate in the sun, by measuring the direction of their source; and in measuring fluxes of neutrinos of different types, produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays, providing the first evidence that neutrinos have mass.