Prof. Tanaka

Shoji Tanaka

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Shoji Tanaka of ISTEC Died Suddenly at 84

November 14, 2011. Professor Shoji Tanaka, the preeminent luminary of Japanese superconductivity community suddenly died of pneumonia on November 11, 2011, at the age of 84. The Funeral ceremony was held on November 15th.

The IEEE Council on Superconductivity and European Society for Applied Superconductivity express their sincere condolences to ISTEC and all Japanese colleagues.

Shoji Tanaka was born on September 17, 1927. He obtained his B.S. in Applied Mathematics (1950) and Ph.D. in Engineering (1961) from the University of Tokyo. In 1999 he became honorary D.Sc. degree from the Purdue University, USA. In 1955 he was appointed Lecturer, in 1958 Associate Professor and in 1968 full Professor of the University of Tokyo. Upon his retirement in 1988 he was appointed Professor at the Department of Physics, Tokai University. He was also Consultant Professor of the Shanghai University, China.

Professor Tanaka was best known worldwide for his group’s confirmation of high-temperature superconductivity in cuprate oxides (1986) and the leadership of the International Superconductivity Technology Center (ISTEC). In 1988, he was appointed the first Director General of ISTEC’s Superconductivity Research Laboratory (SRL), which he directed until 2008. In 1988 he also became the Vice President of ISTEC. Currently, he was still Advisor to ISTEC/SRL. In his role, he wielded significant influence in the Japanese science community. We include the last unofficial photograph of him, a snapshot taken on October 24th at the ISS 2011 conference (24th International Symposium on Superconductivity, held at Tower Hall Funabori, Tokyo, October 24 to 26th), not much over two weeks before his passing away.

Shoji Tanaka was author or co-author of about 500 publications, of these over hundred preceding his first involvement with oxide superconductivity (in BaPb1-xBixO3 system) around 1984. His earlier interests concentrated among others on magnetoresistance and galvanomagnetic effects in semiconductors, for example doped Si, CdS, etc. He was also active in various semiconductor device structures, electron transport phenomena, and charge density wave effects in two-dimensional materials. He contributed to ESNF by his reminiscences “The History of ISTEC” (RN18, April 2011).

Professor Tanaka was decorated by the Emperor of Japan with the Purple Ribbon Medal in 1990 and with the 3rd Class Order of Merit of the Rising Sun in 1999. He also received numerous prizes: the Technical Achievement Prize of the World Congress on Superconductors in 1988, and the Greatest Prize of the Japan Ceramics Association, also in 1988. In 2003, the Japan Society of Applied Physics presented to Prof. Tanaka the Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2004 the IEEE Council on Superconductivity presented to him the IEEE Max Swerdlow Award for Sustained Service to the Applied Superconductivity Community.

We make accessible the official ISTEC obituary received on November 15th.

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