Sin-Itiro Tomonaga

Sin-Itiro Tomonaga or Shinichirō Tomonaga (朝永 振一郎 Tomonaga Shin'ichirō, March 31, 1906 –July 8, 1979) was a Japanese physicist, influential in the development of quantum electrodynamics, work for which he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 along with Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger.

Characteristic thinking pose of Tomonaga

Biography

In 1906, he was born in Tokyo as the first boy of a Japanese philosopher, Sanjūrō Tomonaga. He entered the Kyoto imperial university in 1926. Yukawa Hideki, who is also a Nobel Prize winner, was one of his classmates during undergradute school.  During graduate school at the same university, he worked as an assistant in the university for three years. After gradute school, he joined Nishina's group in Riken.  In 1937, while working in Leipzig, he collaborated with the research group of Werner Heisenberg .Two years later, he returned to Japan due to the outbreak of the  Second World War, but finished his doctoral degree on the study of nuclear materials with his thesis on work he had done while in Leipzig.

In Japan, he was appointed to a professorship in Tsukuba University. During the war he studied magnetron, meson theory, and his "super-many-time" theory. In 1948, he applied his super-many-time theory to QED and discovered the renormalization recipe independently of Julian Schwinger. In the next year, he was invited by Robert Oppenheimer to work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton Township. He studied a many-body problem on the collective oscillations of a quantum-mechanical system. In the following year, he returned to Japan again and proposed the Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid  in the same year.  In 1965, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (alongside Julian Schwinger and Richard P. Feynman) for the study of QED, specifically for the discovery of the renormalization theory. He died in Tokyo in 1979. 

Anecdote

He performed a rakugo in the German language during a campus festival at the University of Tokyo, demonstrating his broad cultural interests.

He honored Yoshio Nishina as his teacher in physics throughout his life. Now his tomb is next to that of Yoshio Nishina and the epitaph on his tombstone reads "He rests within the hearing of his teacher".

Book

Schweber, Sylvan S., 1994. QED and the Men Who Made It: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga. Princeton Univ. Press.

Links

Physics Nobel Prize Winners

Biographies of Physicists and Astronomers

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