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Toshihide Maskawa

Maskawa, Toshihide, 1940–, Japanese physicist, Ph.D. Nagoya Univ., 1967. Maskawa was a research associate at Nagoya Univ. from 1967–70 and then joined the faculty at Kyoto Univ., where he was appointed emeritus professor in 2003. Maskawa shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics with Makoto Kobayashi and Yoichiro Nambu. He and Kobayashi predicted (1972) the existence of at least three families of quarks (see elementary particles), the subatomic particles that are the constituents of protons and neutrons, and thereby provided the foundation for the principle of broken symmetry. (Broken symmetry explains the asymmetry in nature known as CP violation, which results in a universe consisting of mostly of matter, instead of equal amounts of matter and antimatter.) The existence of the predicted quarks has since been confirmed in experiments.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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