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Yoichiro Nambu

Born: 18-Jan-1921
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Spontaneous broken symmetry

Military service: Imperial Japanese Army (1938-40)

During World War II, physicist Yoichiro Nambu survived the firebombing of Tokyo. Teaching at a small Japanese college in 1949, he wrote a paper showing how two particles bind, and soon, at the invitation of Robert Oppenheimer, he came to Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study. At Princeton he was befriended by Albert Einstein, and later he worked with Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago, where Nambu offered his groundbreaking explanation of spontaneous broken symmetry in elementary particle physics. This work formed the basis for subsequent research by Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa, and provides the framework for the standard model of particle physics. He shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics with Kobayashi and Maskawa, with Nambu receiving half the $1.4M cash stipend, and Kobayashi and Maskawa splitting the other half.

Father: Kichiro Nambu
Mother: Kimiko
Wife: Chieko Hida Nambu (m. 3-Nov-1945, one son)
Son: Jun-ichi Nambu (chemist)

    High School: Fujishima High School, Fukui City, Japan (1938)
    University: BS Physics, University of Tokyo (1942)
    Scholar: Physics, University of Tokyo (1945-49)
    University: DSc Physics, University of Tokyo (1952)
    Teacher: Physics, Osaka City University (1949-50)
    Professor: Physics, Osaka City University (1950-56)
    Scholar: Physics, University of Chicago (1954-56)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Chicago (1956-58)
    Professor: Physics, University of Chicago (1958-91)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 2008 (with Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa)
    Pomeranchuk Prize 2007
    Benjamin Franklin Medal 2005 (by the Franklin Institute)
    Bogoliubov Prize 2003
    Wick Medal 1995
    Sakurai Prize 1994
    Wolf Prize in Physics 1994 (with Vitaly L. Ginzburg)
    Dirac Medal 1986
    Max Planck Medal 1985
    National Medal of Science 1982
    Japanese Order of Culture 1978
    Oppenheimer Prize 1972
    Heineman Prize 1970
    American Physical Society
    Institute for Advanced Study 1952-54
    Georgian Academy of Sciences
    National Academy of Sciences
    Naturalized US Citizen 1970
    Japanese Ancestry

Author of books:
Quarks: Frontiers in Elementary Particle Physics (1985)
Fields, Symmetries, Strings (1986)
Broken Symmetry: Selected Papers of Y. Nambu (1995)


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