BENGALURU: Bengaluru’s traffic reminds Nobel Laureate Takaaki Kajita of how Japan was forty years ago. Visiting the city for the first time to speak in the Asian Science Camp hosted by Indian Institute of Science, he says the two Asian countries have worked hand-in-hand for scientific developments.
He hopes India’s contribution to neutrino physics through India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in Tamil Nadu will be immense as there are so many discoveries yet to be made in neutrino science.
Takaaki Kajita, a Japanese physicist, won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2015 for his neutrino experiments at Kamiokande observatory in Japan. He shared his personal work adventures along with few anecdotes with over 250 young science enthusiasts from 23 countries at J N auditorium on Tuesday.
Displaying his first published paper in the backdrop of his lecture, he said; “Soon after my PhD in 1986, I began to work on improving the neutrino software. As scientists, we need to check our work carefully but the result I obtained after my first neutrino experiment, I was in disbelief. I immediately thought it was a mistake. But after a year of hard work, my team could not find any mistake. So we decided to publish the work as it was and stated that we are unable to explain the data. But we did cite that neutrino oscillations might be able to explain the data.”
Many particle discoveries were made following experiments at Super-Kamiokande, successor of Kamiokande, the largest neutrino observatory located under Mount Ikeno in Japan. In 1998, Super Kamiokande discovered neutrino oscillation. The major breakthrough came when the fundamental question of what is the energy of the sun was raised again in the late 90s. Though energy fusion is the common known answer, Kajita believes in “a possibility of several other possibilities.” So he started observing solar neutrinos and conducted experiments using different techniques. He detected that neutrinos created in reactions between cosmic rays and the Earth’s atmosphere. The experiment consistently observed fewer neutrinos and the neutron detector detected three consistent phases which lead to the conclusion that the three phases must have three kinds of oscillation. The discovery of third neutrino oscillation was made in 2011-2012 for which Kajita won the Nobel Prize.
Concluding his speech with possibilities he said nothing is absolute yet and that there is room for more discoveries.