Honorary Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi donates Nobel Prize medal to Tokyo Tech

Honorary Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016, has donated his Nobel Prize medal to Tokyo Tech. Ohsumi, the former director of the Cell Biology Center at Tokyo Tech’s Institute of Innovative Research, presented the medal to President Kazuya Masu at a ceremony on Suzukakedai Campus on March 15.

Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016 for elucidating the molecular mechanisms and physiological significance of autophagy, a cellular adaptive system to environmental conditions. With the donation of his Nobel Prize medal to Tokyo Tech, Ohsumi hopes to encourage young researchers, as well as middle and high school students, to realize the importance of basic research and the joys of science. The medal will be displayed publicly at Tokyo Tech’s entrance ceremonies, graduation ceremonies, and festivals and events such as Homecoming Day and Suzukake Science Day.

“I hope the donation of this medal to Tokyo Tech will serve as a strong stimulus for young researchers who seek to create the future. I also hope that support for young researchers will continue so that they can contribute to the development of research in Japan,” Ohsumi said during the medal ceremony.

“We are delighted to put middle school students, high school students, and young researchers in contact with ‘the real thing.’ We will respect the wishes of Professor Ohsumi regarding this precious medal, continue to place importance on basic research, and work sincerely to develop young researchers,” Masu replied.

At the discussions that followed the ceremony, Ohsumi shared more words of wisdom, “When I have given lectures at high schools, I have been surprised by many students asking me how they can avoid failure or what they should do if they fail. There is no such thing as research that is free of failure. I hope young people can challenge themselves without fear of failure.”

The Institute has many items that celebrate the achievements of Ohsumi on public display. The Tokyo Tech Museum and Archives permanently exhibits one of only three replicas of the prize medal authorized for manufacture by the Nobel Foundation. The Yoshinori Ohsumi display area at Suzukakedai Library contains numerous certificates, medals, and plaques received by the professor during his career, including those resulting from the Kyoto Prize, the International Prize for Biology, and the Canada Gairdner International Award.

Nobel laureate Ohsumi (right) with Masu during medal ceremony

Nobel laureate Ohsumi (right) with Masu during medal ceremony

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