Journal rchive Stories

Introduction of the Journals of the Physico-Mathematical Society

2006/03/27: No.2; Journals of the Physico-Mathematical Society and Hantaro Nagaoka

Hantaro Nagaoka (1865-1950) is said to be the first Japanese physicist who achieved worldwide recognition. Although he doubted whether Japanese people were able to study science when he was young, he studied in Europe during 1893-1896 under some leading scholars of the time, such as L. Boltzmann, a father of statistical mechanics, and Max Planck, a founder of quantum mechanics. After coming back to Japan, he fostered many talented scholars as a professor at the Science College of Tokyo Imperial University. Later in his life, he became the first president of the newly established Osaka University in 1931, and he formed a base for achieving excellent research results and cultivating talented scientists, such as Hideki Yukawa who was awarded the first Nobel Prize as a Japanese.Nagaoka was on the board of recommendation for Nobel Prize candidates, and the first Japanese candidate who he recommended for the Nobel Prize was Yukawa.

Nagaoka, who was well versed in the new movement of physics in Europe and which he found to be stimulating, conducted a lecture on the famous Saturn-shaped model of atoms at the meeting of the Tokyo Physico-Mathematical Society on December 5, 1903. The following year he contributed a paper entitled the " Motion of Electrons in a Molecule to Show Spectra and Radioactive Action " to the " Tokyo Sugaku-Butsurigakkwai Kiji-Gaiyo " Vol.2, p.92, dated February 2, 1904. Another paper that was similar in content was contributed to a European journal. However, as his atomic model did not perform sufficient quantitative analysis due to the relative earliness of the research, it was later replaced with the models by Rutherford and Bohr. Despite this, Nagaoka¡Çs model was [considerably] well received in Europe. Vol.2 of this journal also features many other interesting papers including multiple papers from Nagaoka on the atomic model, papers from Kotaro Honda on magnetostriction and geysers, and a paper from Torahiko Terada on acoustics.

(Tetsuro Saso: Professor at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University)

- Photographs were added on March 30, 2006

Hantaro Nagaoka
(Provided by RIKEN (the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research))