43rd Honda Prize Awarded to Dr. Hidetoshi Katori for His Invention: Optical Lattice Clock

That Loses Only 1 Second Per 30 Billion Years


TOKYO, Dec. 6, 2022 /Kyodo JBN/ --

Honda Foundation

The Honda Foundation in Tokyo held the 43rd Honda Prize Award Ceremony on November 17, 2022, where it awarded this year's prize to Dr. Hidetoshi Katori, Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo (Chief Scientist and Team Leader, RIKEN).


Photo: https://kyodonewsprwire.jp/prwfile/release/M106338/202211290547/_prw_PI1fl_P9kwW68A.jpg


Hiroto Ishida, President of the Honda Foundation, commented, "Precise time measurement is becoming increasingly important in modern society. Dr. Katori's invention, the optical lattice clock, is able to measure height differences of 1 cm using the relativistic effect that time moves more slowly where gravity is lower. We can anticipate that this will be important for disaster management, such as detecting volcanic magma rises, and pioneering new measurement technologies and research fields. In the spirit of the Honda Prize, Dr. Katori's accomplishment is truly remarkable."


Kazuko Matsumoto of the Honda Prize Selection Committee explained the selection process: "We asked 300 nominators from around the world and chose the winners from 27 groups of candidates from 11 countries. For selection, we considered not only the candidates' goals and accomplishments but also how their inventions can improve people's lives. Dr. Katori invented the optical lattice clock in 2001, which uses atoms trapped in an optical lattice to create an ultra-precise time standard. In contrast to the current international atomic time standard, cesium atomic clocks, which are accurate to about 15 digits, this new method can measure time to 18 digits. Dr. Katori was chosen for this award in recognition that the limitless possibilities of the technology fit with the idea behind the Honda Prize."


Dr. Katori stated, "I am honored to receive the Honda Prize. I would like to thank both the Honda Foundation and selection committee. After decades of research, it has become important for me to leave behind results that will benefit mankind and society. While the research began out of curiosity, as it developed, I hoped to share it with society. I am thankful to have found a research field that has inspired me for so many years."


He added, "I would like to make a smaller clock that measures in millimeters with 19-digit accuracy in 1,000 seconds. Along with downsizing and networking the clock, I have begun talking with geophysicists about targets for predicting volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Time measurement technology can be improved indefinitely, and these advancements will drive social change. Last year, I was asked to write the final chapter of a high school physics textbook. I imagine those students are now in university or working, where they are discovering real-world applications. I think it is time to pass the baton to the next generation of brilliant minds."


Dr. Katori’s research on the optical lattice clock:



Dr. Hidetoshi Katori:



Official website: https://www.hondafoundation.jp/en




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