Professor Fumiko Yonezawa
Born in 1938, Fumiko Yonezawa, 米沢 富美子, was a theoretical physicist who studied amorphous materials, semiconductors and liquid metals.
Her career began when she studied amorphous materials, or glasses, as part of her doctorate at Kyoto University in the mid-1960s. She developed the Coherent Potential Approximation (CPA), a method for calculating physical characteristics, such as density or resistivity, of amorphous materials.
Later, at Keio University, Yonezawa and her team studied how, at an atomic level, liquids become crystals or amorphous solids, using computational models. She spent some time at City College of New York, returning to Japan in 1981. In the 1990s, she developed a “theory of metal-insulator transition in liquid selenium” and became interested in neural networks.
In 1984, she was awarded the Saruhashi Prize, which is awarded to Japanese women for research in the natural sciences, for her “Theory of Fundamental Physical Properties of Amorphous Materials”. She was the first woman to become President of the Physics Society of Japan in 1996 and, in 2005, she won a L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science for “pioneering theory and computer simulations on amorphous semiconductors and liquid metals.”
In 2020, the Physical Society of Japan launched the Fumiko Yonezawa Memorial Award to “honor and encourage” female members of the society, presenting awards to five women in physics in Japan.
Fumiko Yonezawa died on 17 January 2019, aged 80.
- Fumiko Yonezawa, Wikipedia
- Coherent Potential Approximation. Basic concepts and applications, Fumiko Yonezawa and Kazuo Morigaki, Progress of Theoretical Physics Supplement, January 1973
- No Girls Need Apply, Toomas Koppel, Science, 16 April 1993
- Five women physicists honoured, 15 fellowships awarded by UN agency, United Nations, 4 March 2005
- Japan eyes panel to boost women’s perspectives in science and technology policy, The Mainichi, 12 January 2016
- The 1st Fumiko Yonezawa Memorial Award of the Physical Society of Japan, The Physical Society of Japan, 2020
- Prof. Nakahama was awarded the 2nd Fumiko Yonezawa Memorial Prize, Kobayashi-Maskawa Institute, 19 March 2021