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Visiting Professor Masahito Hayashi claims high-profile Japanese science prizes

He is recognised for his work in classical and quantum information theory

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12 January 2016

Masahito Hayashi being told about his prize.

Masahito Hayashi learned in a video call to CQT that he would be receiving the 12th Japan Academy Medal (above). He celebrated with Kwek Leong Chuan, whose research group he is part of, and other CQT colleagues (below).

Masahito Hayashi celebrating with colleagues.

CQT Visiting Research Professor Masahito Hayashi is being awarded the Japan Academy Medal for his work on information theory. The decision was announced on 12 January.

The Japanese national prize is presented to up to six scientists working in Japan each year. It is intended "to give formal recognition to outstanding young researchers, while encouraging them in their future work" according to the website of the Academy. The award was begun in 2004, while the Academy has been in existence since 1879 "for the purpose of advancing science in Japan".

Last year Masahito was recognised with another prize, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Prize, given to 25 scientists under 45. The awardees for the more prestigious Japan Academy Medal were selected from this pool.

Masahito had known he was nominated for the JSPS prize. "I believed I had some possibility to obtain that prize but no possibility to win this higher award," he says. "I am very surprised."

He suggests the selection committee may have found it appealing that his work unites different branches from information coding to information security. "Many people concentrate on just one area. This is the usual style. I think that working across areas gives me some advantage," he says. "My unified theory covers not only quantum information theory but also classical information theory," he adds.

The medal cites his research subject as "Information Theory and Quantum Information Theory for Finite-Coding-Length".

Masahito was at CQT when the news was delivered to him in a phone call. Meanwhile, a telegram was sent to Nagoya University, where he is a Professor in the Graduate School of Mathematics.

Masahito, who spends up to half the year in Singapore, will return to Japan to collect his medal in a ceremony in Tokyo on 24 February. The award ceremony is held in the presence of their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino.