Hideki Yukawa

Hideki Yukawa

Japanese physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1949 for research in the theory of elementary particles.
Graduating from Kyoto Imperial University (now Kyoto University) in 1929, Yukawa became a lecturer there, moving in 1933 to Osaka Imperial University (now Osaka University), where in 1938 he was awarded his doctorate. He rejoined Kyoto Imperial University as professor of theoretical physics (1939-50), held faculty appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., U.S., and at Columbia University in New York City, and became director of the Research Institute for Fundamental Physics in Kyoto (1953-70).

In 1935, while a lecturer at Osaka Imperial University, Yukawa proposed a new theory of nuclear forces in which he predicted the existence of mesons, or particles that have masses between those of the electron and the proton. The discovery of one type of meson among cosmic rays by American physicists in 1937 suddenly established Yukawa's fame as the founder of meson theory, which later became an important part of nuclear and high-energy physics. After devoting himself to the development of meson theory, he started work in 1947 on a more comprehensive theory of elementary particles based on his idea of the so-called nonlocal field.


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