The 2015 Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to two scientists, Japan’s Takaaki Kajita and Canada’s Arthur B McDonald, the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced on Tuesday.
According to an official statement issued by the academy, Takaaki, 56, and McDonald, 72, were awarded for their key contributions to the experiments which demonstrated that subatomic particles switch between two identities, or forms.
This metamorphosis requires 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, the statement said.
Takaaki had presented the discovery that neutrinos from the atmosphere switch between two identities on their way to the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan.
“This discovery will fundamentally change the scorebooks in physics and could help explain human existence and the origin of the universe,” said professor Barbro Asman, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Asman compared the discovery was as groundbreaking and important as the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle.
Kajita is director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research and professor at the University of Tokyo.
McDonald is a professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.
The winners will split the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) prize money. Each winner also gets a diploma and a gold medal at the prize ceremony on December 10.
Meanwhile, the research group in Canada led by McDonald could demonstrate that the neutrinos from the Sun were not disappearing on their way to Earth. Instead they were captured with a different identity when arriving to the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Ontario, Canada.