National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

NAOJ Director General Saku Tsuneta Wins Japan Academy Prize

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Director General of NAOJ, Dr. Saku Tsuneta.

Dr. Saku Tsuneta, Director General of NAOJ, has won the Japan Academy Prize. He received this award for his outstanding contributions on the research theme, “Studies of Solar Magnetohydrodynamic Phenomena through Satellite Observations.”

Tsuneta’s research has long focused mainly on observing the Sun from outer space. He led the development and operation of the solar observation satellite Yohkoh’s soft X-ray telescope and Hinode’s X-ray telescope and solar optical telescope. He has successively contributed to solving fundamental problems in solar physics, such as the coronal heating problem and the generation mechanism of magnetic fields on the Sun. Furthermore, he worked hard to immediately release the satellite observation data. These data have been widely used among researchers around the world. These research achievements deeply affected solar observation plans in overseas countries too. Moreover, he continuously developed instruments for observational rockets at the same time he worked on satellites. In the process of this development work, he educated and trained many students and researchers.

This award recognizes Tsuneta’s previous research achievements. Tsuneta has received many awards for his achievement on solar research, such as the Inoue Medal for Sciences in 1995 and the Hayashi Chushiro Prize (Astronomical Society of Japan) in 2009. He was the Executive Director of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Director General of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) for five years starting from April 2013. He has been Director General of NAOJ, NINS since April 1, 2018.

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