18 January: Remembering Yoichiro Nambu on his Birth Anniversary

18 January: Remembering Yoichiro Nambu on his Birth Anniversary

Yoichiro Nambu (18 January 1921 – 5 July 2015) was a Japanese American physicist and professor at the University of Chicago. In he received the Nobel Prize.

Life and Career

He was born on 18 January 1921, in Tokyo, Japan.

In 1942, he earned his master’s degree from the University of Tokyo, and in 1952, he got his doctorate in physics from the University of Tokyo. He was appointed associate professor at Osaka City University in 1949 and promoted to professor the next year.

In 1952, he was invited by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, to study.

He moved to the University of Chicago in 1954, where he eventually became an associate professor (1956), professor (1958), and professor emeritus (1991). He was also chairman of the Physics Department from 1974 to 1977. He became a US citizen in 1970.

Nambu was one of the founders of string theory, which models subatomic particles as tiny one-dimensional “string-like” entities. Additionally, he was a pioneer in quantum chromodynamics, where he first proposed that the gluon is the medium that carries strong forces between quarks.

Yoichiro Nambu died on 5 July 2015 in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan.


In 2008, he was awarded one-half of the Nobel Prize in Physics “for discovering spontaneously broken symmetry in subatomic physics”.

He also received the U.S. National Medal of Science (1982) and the Dirac Medal of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (1986).

His other awards and honors, including the Max Planck Medal (1985), the Dirac Prize (1986), the Sakurai Prize (1994), the Wolf Prize in Physics (1994/1995), and the Franklin Institute’s Benjamin Franklin Medal (2005).

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