Masaomi TANAKA Masaomi TANAKA Masaomi TANAKA

In a university, you can not only study but also research to solve problems that no one has ever solved.


Masaomi TANAKA

1.What kind of the research are you doing?

I study explosions of stars in the Universe. Stars on the sky always look similar, but it is known that some stars suddenly experience energetic explosions. It is called "supernova". Explosions of stars eject heavy elements produced inside of the stars into interstellar space. Our Universe began only with hydrogen, helium, and small amount of lithium, and therefore, heavier elements around us (that also make our body!) are all produced inside of the stars. By studying supernovae, we can study the origin of the elements or the "roots" of ourselves.
In the last several years, I am particularly interested in the origin of precious metal such as gold and platinum. For long time, it has been believed that these elements are produced by supernovae. However, coalescence of extremely dense stars (called "neutron stars") is gaining much attention as another possibility. Coalescence of neutron stars is also known to emit strong "gravitational waves", which were actually detected in 2017 for the first time in the history. By this discovery, we are now greatly advancing our understanding on the origin of the elements.

2.What is the reason for starting your study?

In high school, I was naively interested in "space". When I entered a university, I was going to study space engineering in School of Engineering because (honestly speaking) I was not so keen to astronomy. But when I attended a class of astronomy, I was quite fascinated by the unsolved problems (or "mysteries") of the Universe. By this experience, I changed my mind and decided to go to Department of Astronomy in School of Science. I still remember that I was surprised by the fact that we still do NOT understand many things about the Universe. After more than 10 years since then, I am still excited by many unsolved problems of the Universe.

3.Message for prospective students

In a university, you can not only study but also research to solve problems that no one has ever solved. There are many unsolved problems (or "mysteries") around us. I am looking forward to working with students who can really enjoy to tackle with such unsolved problems.