Hiromi Hirabayashi, a leading figure and professor emeritus of KEK, passed away on 11 April 2008. He was an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of applied superconductivity and cryogenics for high-energy physics.
Hirabayashi was born in Gifu Prefecture, renowned for the Shirakawa-go world heritage site. He was educated in nuclear engineering at the graduate school of Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he gained his PhD in 1966, before becoming a research associate at the Institute of Nuclear Study at the University of Tokyo. He worked on preparations for the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics, or KEK, now the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, in particular in developing a hydrogen bubble chamber, essential for high-energy physics experiments in Japan. At the same time he established cryogenics – the necessary basic engineering – as a new academic discipline in Japan, and contributed to the development of applied superconductivity and cryogenics in collaboration with Japanese industry. (Read complete obituary
.) (IEEE CSC