Awards & Honors
Award-Winning Scholars at Kyoto University

Nobel Prizes

Nobel Prize in Physics 1949 Nobel Foundation

Theoretical Physics

Awarded for

his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces

Hideki Yukawa [1907 - 1981]

Doctor of Science
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University and Osaka University


Professor Yukawa contributed to the theory of elementary particle physics. From 1934 to 1935, he assumed that the fundamental interactions are carried by particles, and predicted the existence of a certain particle, which was later called “meson,” for the strong interaction between protons and neutrons. He also predicted that the mass of a meson is 200 times that of the electron. Moreover he originally attempted to reveal the mechanism of the weak interaction, though this attempt was failed. In 1937, a new particle with the predicted meson mass was discovered. Professor Powell experimentally discovered a meson mediating the nuclear force in 1947, which verified the validity of Yukawa’s theory.


During his research life, he not only wrote a lot of scientific papers, but also fostered many excellent students. The news of his recipient of Nobel Prize encouraged the Japanese society of those days which had not been fully recovered from the World War II. In his later years, he became a member of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and made efforts to realize the world peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.


  • 1929

    Graduated from Kyoto Imperial University Faculty of Science

  • 1936

    Associate Professor, Osaka Imperial University Faculty of Science

  • 1937

    Participated in the Solvay Conferences on Physics

  • 1938

    Received Doctor of Science from Osaka Imperial University

  • 1939

    Professor, Kyoto Imperial University

  • 1948

    Visiting Professor, Institute for Advanced Study, USA

  • 1950

    Professor, Columbia University

  • 1955

    Board of Japanese National Commission for UNESCO

  • 1955

    President, the Physical Society of Japan

  • 1970

    Retired from Kyoto University and entitled Professor Emeritus

  • 2005

    UNESCO made a medal of Yukawa for his memorial

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Other Awards and Prizes

  • 1940

    Imperial Prize, the Japan Academy, Japan

  • 1943

    Order of Culture, Japan (as the youngest receipt)

  • 1963

    Foreign Member, the Royal Society, UK

  • 1964

    Lomonosov Gold Medal, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

  • 1967

    Medal of Merit, Order of the Federal Republic of Germany

    Medal of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Italy

  • 1977

    Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan

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