Q46Do you believe that Japanese people will con-tinue to be in the running for Nobel Prizes?

A46 There are said to be a lot of leading researchers in Japan. According to Thomson Scientific, which has a reputation for pre-dicting potential Nobel Prize candidates, Masataka Nakazawa, a professor at the Research Institute of Electrical Communication
at Tohoku University, was a potential candidate for the prize in 2006.

Professor Nakazawa is known for his contribution to research involving a rare earth element, an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) that has revolutionized high-speed optical fiber communication. Unfortunately, the opportunity didn't come his way in 2006, but there is still a possibility that he will win the prize in the future.

According to Thomson Scientific, other potential Japanese Nobel Prize winners include Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, known for inventing the blue semiconductor laser and bright blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes (LEOs); Yoshinori Tokura, a professor at the University ofTokyo graduate school, who has done research into super-conductivity, oxide-electronics and the phenomenon of colossal magnetoresistance; and Seiji Shinkai, a professor at the University of Kyushu graduate school, who has conducted pioneering research in molecular self-assembly, which may lead to great advances in the fabrication of nanoscale machinery and microelectronics.

Another leading candidate is Sumio Ijima, a professor at Meijo University, who discovered the carbon nanotube, a tube-like material made of carbon with a diameter of a nanometer billionth of a meter). It is expected that this material will have many applications in semiconductors and as electrodes for fuel cells.