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Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

Takaaki Kajita (left) and Arthur B. McDonald (right) winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of neutrino oscillations

Takaaki Kajita (left) and Arthur B. McDonald (right) winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of neutrino oscillations

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.” The discovery has changed our understanding of the innermost workings of matter and can prove crucial to our view of the universe.

Takaaki Kajita was Born 1959 in Higashimatsuyama, Japan. He studied Ph.D in 1986 from University of Tokyo, Japan. He is one of the leaders of the Super-Kamiokande experiment in Japan and Director of Institute for Cosmic Ray Research and Professor at University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan, while Arthur McDonald was Born 1943 in Sydney, Canada and studied Ph.D. 1969 from Californa Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA . He is a Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston who led the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada.

Neutrinos can change flavor. They are subatomic particles produced by the decay of radioactive elements, and earlier were believed to have no electric charge. neutrinos, which were believed to be massless, do have a mass, even if very little bit— which contradicts the Standard Model of particle physics. And since there are so many of them, it changes our view of the universe. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Standard Model is wrong and should be thrown out, though. It’s just incomplete. Kajita and McDonald basically proved that we still don’t know everything about the universe, and that we need to keep exploring.

The observations were made by two research groups, one at the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan and the other at Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada. McDonald and Kajita will split the eight million Swedish kronor (almost $1.3 million Cdn) prize.

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