Kenji Akabane. (Photo courtesy of Masato Ishiguro
Modified on Tuesday, 21-Jul-2015 08:20:52 EDT by Ellen Bouton, Archivist (Questions or feedback)
Contributed by Masato Ishiguro
Prof. Kenji Akabane passed away on April 22, 2015 at the age of 88 years. Akabane-san was a pioneer of Japanese radio astronomy. He joined the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory (TAO) of the University of Tokyo as a research associate in 1951 and started solar microwave observations 1952. He studied in the United States from 1957 to 1960 at Cornell University and the University of Michigan. After returning to Japan, he showed a great interest in the field of cosmic radio astronomy and in 1963 constructed the 24-m spherical reflector at the TAO. In 1969, he worked at the Australian CSIRO Radiophysics.
After coming back from Australia, Akabane-san led a project to construct the 6-m millimeter wave telescope in the campus of TAO, which was completed in 1970. Through this project he became motivated to construct the largest millimeter wave telescope in the world and was appointed as the founding director of the Nobeyama Radio Observatory (NRO) in 1982. He was a professor of NAOJ from 1970 until he retired from NAOJ in 1987. After working at the University of Toyama (1987 – 1992), he became the president of Matsusho Junior College from 1992 to 1999.
For his contributions to radio astronomy, Akabane-san was given the tile of Emeritus Professor at the University of Tokyo.