Fujishima, Akira, and Honda, Kenichi

Fujishima, Akira, and Honda, Kenichi
▪ 2005

      Japanese scientists Akira Fujishima and Kenichi Honda were named winners of the 2004 Japan Prize, an international award given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and technology. The award cited Fujishima and Honda's pioneering research on photochemical catalysis and its application for the environment. Working together in the late 1960s and early '70s, when Fujishima was completing his Ph.D. course work under Honda's supervision, the two found that a relatively inexpensive and widely available material, titanium dioxide, acts as a photocatalyst—a substance that facilitates a chemical reaction when it is exposed to sunlight. In their experiments titanium dioxide exposed to light caused water to decompose, producing hydrogen and oxygen. This discovery, which gained worldwide attention as the “Honda-Fujishima effect” after it was reported in a 1972 issue of the journal Nature, opened up new and diverse paths of research. By the early 21st century, photocatalyst technology was being developed for a variety of products, including self-cleaning coatings for tile, streetlight covers, and automobile mirrors. There was also hope that photocatalysts could be used to break down pollutants such as harmful fossil fuel by-products and remove them from the environment.

      Akira Fujishima was born on March 10, 1942, in Tokyo. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Yokohama National University in 1966 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Tokyo in 1971. He taught (1971–75) at Kanagawa University, was a postdoctoral fellow (1976–77) at the University of Texas at Austin, and then was named associate professor at the University of Tokyo in 1978. He became full professor at the university in 1986 and was given emeritus status in 2003. That same year he was appointed chairman of the Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology. Fujishima also served as president of the Electrochemical Society of Japan and was an advisory member of the Japanese Photochemistry Association. He was the author of nearly 600 research papers.

      Kenichi Honda was born on Aug. 23, 1925, in Tokyo. After receiving a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1949, he studied at the University of Paris (Ph.D., 1957) and at the University of Tokyo (Ph.D., 1961). He accepted a position as lecturer (1965) at the University of Tokyo and went on to earn full professorship by 1975. From 1983 to 1989 Honda served as professor at Kyoto University; he then joined the faculty of Tokyo Polytechnic University, where he was eventually named dean of the faculty of arts in 1994 and president of the university in 1996. He was an honorary member of a number of scientific societies, including the Chemical Society of Japan and the Japanese Photochemistry Association. In 1997 he received one of Japan's highest honours, the designation as a “Person of Cultural Merit.”

Sherman Hollar

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Akira Fujishima — is a Japanese chemist, professor emeritus, University of Tokyo. [http://www.nanonet.go.jp/english/mailmag/2005/044a.html Discovery and applications of photocatalysis Creating a comfortable future by making use of light energy ] ] He is known for… …   Wikipedia

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