2016 Medal Winners | francais

The 2016 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for Contributions to Subatomic Physics

is awarded to

Akira Konaka

"I am honoured to share this award with my amazing T2K colleagues in Canada in developing the ground work towards discovering CP violation in neutrino oscillations. This award is particularly important and reminds me of Dr. Erich Vogt’s cheerful encouragements of my research." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and TRIUMF are pleased to announce that the 2016 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for Contributions to Subatomic Physics is awarded to Akira Konaka, TRIUMF, for his outstanding contributions to the T2K long-baseline neutrino experiment, including his leadership in establishing the collaboration. His innovations to the experiment’s design and analysis methods were critical in the discovery of electron neutrino appearance from the muon neutrino beam, a discovery that led to the T2K project being recognized by the 2016 Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics. The committee also recognized ongoing innovations with new concepts proposed to improve the precision of the T2K experiment and, potentially, the Hyper-K experiment. announcement

At every stage of his career, Konaka’s research has impacted rare-process physics. His doctoral work developed techniques to search for weakly interacting particles, like axions, that have since found new life in “dark photon” searches. As a TRIUMF researcher working at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the 1990s, he introduced a blind analysis technique to increase confidence in Experiment 787’s ultra-rare kaon-decay result that has since become the standard in the field. As the Canadian leader for the T2K experiment, he successfully pushed for the use of an off-axis neutrino beam, and led the development of key detector and analysis systems, innovations that had a major impact on T2K’s dramatic result establishing electron neutrino appearance from a muon neutrino beam, a result that led to the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. His innovations continue with a new proposal to reduce neutrino flux and cross section uncertainties at an upgraded T2K-Phase 2, which could lead to a significant measurement of the CP violation parameter delta, the holy grail of neutrino-oscillation physics.

His experimental contributions have been matched by his energetic leadership in Canadian physics, where he established and led T2K-Canada through the crucial development phases, and built a Canadian collaboration for the new ultra-cold neutron (UCN) facility at TRIUMF. He remains a powerful advocate for Canada in Japan. All told, Konaka embodies what the Vogt Medal is all about. nominator citation

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