【Nobel Week, Day 1】 Professor Kajita and His Wife Leave for the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony

December 4, 2015

Date of activity: December 4, 2015

Prior to his departure to Stockholm, Sweden for the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, a press conference was held for Professor Takaaki Kajita at Haneda Airport at 10 AM on Friday, December 4th, 2015. Professor Kaori Hayashi, Deputy Director of the Public Relations Office, acted as the moderator of the press conference. Professor Kajita's wife Michiko, who will accompany him in Sweden, was also in attendance.

Professor Kajita first spoke openly about his thoughts before leaving for Sweden, saying that "I will be going with my Super-Kamiokande colleagues, so I'd like to enjoy the events together with them." Then, members of the media asked the professor a variety of questions on topics such as the content of his Nobel Lecture, the clothing he and his wife are planning to wear at the Ceremony, how his life has changed since receiving the Nobel Prize, and what he and his wife talked about as they were getting ready to go to Sweden.

Although Professor Kajita has still not prepared the content of his Nobel Lecture, he said that he wants his lecture to provide listeners with a sense of what his research is about as well as what makes science interesting. He also wants to emphasize how the local people living near Super-Kamiokande and the Japanese people as a whole have helped support the project. Finally, he stated he would like to convey in his lecture the notable efforts of the late UTokyo Honorary Professor Emeritus Yoji Totsuka, who contributed tremendously to research at the Super-Kamiokande facility.

Regarding his current frame of mind, Professor Kajita remarked: "Well, this is a once in a lifetime event, so I'm going to enjoy myself!" He also revealed that when he asked Nobel Laureates of previous years about their experiences, they told him that since the Nobel Week is long, he will run out of energy towards the end of the week if he exerts himself too much at the beginning.

When asked if he would be nervous at the ceremony, Professor Kajita, showing his sincere personality, answered, “I don't think I'll get nervous… but I can't know for sure until the time comes.” As for the Nobel Banquet, he said that he is not planning to dance at the banquet (as he said at a previous press conference). Professor Kajita also stated that he and Professor Arthur McDonald, the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, had drawn lots to decide who would make a speech at the banquet, and Professor McDonald was chosen.

Many journalists asked a series of questions about the professor's and Mrs. Kajita's planned attire for the ceremony. Professor Kajita simply answered that he had no concern about clothing because he will rent a formal ensemble in Stockholm. In response to the same question, Mrs. Kajita said she would wear a kimono at the banquet, adding frankly that she also had a hard time preparing skirts and one piece dresses to wear during the week because she does not usually wear them.

Asked how their lives had changed after winning the Nobel Prize, Professor Kajita said, “when local people come up and speak to me, it makes me happy.” In response to his remark, Mrs. Kajita said, “when I go shopping, I often meet people congratulating me. I usually wouldn't wear makeup that often before, but now I put it on whenever I leave the house,” she said, provoking laughter from the attending journalists. She also told her husband not to “get so nervous that you fall down at the ceremony” and not to “eat and drink too much” while they are in Sweden. These comments reveal Mrs. Kajita’s kind concern for her husband's health, as he lives and works away from his family.

*【Nobel Week】 is a special series of reports given during the Nobel Week.

*You can read articles about the other Nobel Week activites here:

  • Professor Kajita and his wife cheerfully answer questions at the press conference
    Professor Kajita and his wife cheerfully answer questions at the press conference
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