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October 15, 2008
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    Nambu receives warm reception from students, colleagues at Nobel celebration

    By Steve Koppes
    skoppes@uchicago.edu
    News Office

      
    Photos by Lloyd DeGrane

    George Hisaeda (left to right), the Consul General of Japan at Chicago, presented Yoichiro Nambu with a floral bouquet during a reception in Nambuís honor on Friday, Oct. 10. Hundreds of faculty and staff members, students and colleagues joined Nambu in the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Center for Integrative Science to celebrate his 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics. Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the College, and Robert Fefferman, Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences and the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics and the College, toasted the Nobel laureate and thanked him for his long association with the University and the work he pursued during his career.
      
      
    Yoichiro Nambu (center) signed autographs and talked with guests, who congratulated him on winning the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics. An exhibition of artwork that interprets some of the compelling questions scientists explore in their work served as a backdrop for the event. Nambu received half of the Nobel Prize, sharing it with Makoto Kobayashi of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba, Japan, and Toshihide Maskawa of Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan. The Nobel Foundation cited his “discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics.”
      

    The early 1950s were restless times for Yoichiro Nambu, the Harry Pratt Judson Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics.

    Nambu recalled his journey to the United States and the University before a packed crowd on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 10 in the third-floor atrium of the Gordon Center for Integrative Science. Several hundred members of the University community had assembled in the Kersten Family Atrium to congratulate Nambu on his 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics.

    As a young professor at Osaka City University, Nambu in 1952 took a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Then it was on to Chicago in 1954. Nambu had not intended to spend his entire career here, but “I liked it so much, I ended up staying here until now,” he said.

    Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the College, commended Nambu for “thinking hard about fundamental problems,” then devising solutions “that have impact across a spectrum of physics,” from understanding basic concepts of fundamental particles to applications in superconductivity and magnetism.

    Following Rosenbaum’s champagne toast to Nambu, Physical Sciences Dean Robert Fefferman thanked Nambu for his long association with the University.

    “It gives me tremendous pride to be associated with this place,” said Fefferman, the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor in Mathematics and the College. “The best things we do literally change the history of human thought,” he said.

    George Hisaeda, the Consul General of Japan at Chicago, presented Nambu with a floral bouquet. Fefferman then introduced Nambu to the crowd, who was greeted with enthusiastic applause.

    “I am very happy indeed,” Nambu said.