Dec 15, 2008

World - Japanese Nobel winner says will bury prize

TOKYO: Japanese Nobel physics laureate Toshihide Maskawa said today he planned to bury his medal in the ground as the camera-shy professor returned
from the ceremony in Sweden.

Maskawa, who has charmed Japan with his eccentricities, made his first-ever foreign trip to collect the prize. He said he had never gone to conferences abroad as he was petrified about speaking English.

Asked by reporters on his return to Japan what he would do with the medal, Maskawa said in an apparent joke: "Well, I'll dig a hole and bury it below."

But Maskawa, a 68-year-old professor at Kyoto Sangyo University, later turned serious as he addressed reporters at Osaka's Kansai International Airport.

"Among scientists, there are good ones and bad ones. Not all scientists are good. What matters is how we can contribute to peace as human beings, depending upon the positions we are given," he said.

Maskawa shared the Nobel prize with two other Japanese-born physicists, Makoto Kobayashi and Yoichiro Nambu.

In the 1970s, Maskawa and Kobayashi came up with a theory on why antimatter sometimes does not obey the same rules as matter.

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