Frontier Research Center professors Hideo Hosono and Yoshinori Ohsumi were selected on September 25 as Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates (strong contenders for the Nobel Prize). The prize is conferred on scientists chosen from the top 0.1% of the most-cited researchers in each field in the Web of Science, Thomson Reuters' world-class academic research and citation database. Winners are decided by examining high-impact papers (the top 200 most-cited papers in each field) in categories thought to be watched closely by the Nobel Committee.
The prize is given for the same 4 fields as the Nobel Prize (Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Economics), and Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine last year, was selected for this prize in 2010. This year, Professor Hosono was selected for Physics and Professor Ohsumi for Physiology or Medicine.
The professors responded to the selection in the following manner:
Professor, Frontier Research Center
Director of Materials Research Center for Element Strategy
I discovered iron-based superconductors during experiments to extend my research of translucent oxide semiconductors, which gave rise to the IGZO thin film transistors (TFT) that are now starting to be used in new displays. This honor is due to the support of my co-researchers, former post-doctoral researcher Yoichi Kamihara (currently at Keio University) and former graduate student Takumi Watanabe, as well as the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Tokyo Tech. Going forward, I want to continue to devote myself to the development of materials and the opening of new areas in materials science.
I am extremely honored to learn that I have been selected as a Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate. I first began researching yeast autophagy twenty-five years ago. At that time, everyone asked, "What's autophagy?" Since then, autophagy has grown into a very large field. If the yeast research I modestly began has helped to contribute to this development, I am both deeply honored and wish to give thanks for the various ways I have been fortunate in my career until now. Citation frequency is in one sense a barometer of popularity. I entered this profession with the wish to do things that others were not doing. It wasn't until 2002, ten years after we began, that our papers began to be cited, eventually surpassing 500 citations per year. The current young generation has to live through a difficult era, but I hope that they do not chase after what is popular and stay faithful to their own interests. I hope that they have confidence in their own ability to judge and can avoid being confused by the constant stream of information. Contemporary biology is founded on the mastery of a variety of methodologies. I have been blessed with wonderful research colleagues. Therefore, this prize was most certainly not given to me as an individual, but to my entire research lab. Both Professor Tamotsu Yoshimori and Professor Noboru Mizushima are leading the world in research into mammalian autophagy, and there are many others who have left the research lab to become independent and are working hard in their own fields. Finally I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the institutions that have supported my research, including MEXT's Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Tokyo, the National Institute for Basic Biology, and my current home, Tokyo Tech.
Published: May 2014