Yoshihide KOZAI

Yoshihide KOZAI

Japan

1928-2018


Obituary:

Dr. Yoshihide Kozai Former IAU President and Director General of NAOJ Passes Away

Dr. Yoshihide Kozai, Professor Emeritus of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), founding Director General of NAOJ and former IAU President, passed away due to liver failure at 6:15 p.m. on Monday, February 5, 2018, at age 89.

Dr. Yoshihide Kozai was a global leader in the field of astronomy. He highly contributed to the development of astronomy in Japan, Asia and whole world. Dr. Kozai started his career as an astronomer at the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, University of Tokyo in 1952. He also served as a Visiting Researcher of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from1958 to 1962. He was appointed Director of TAO in 1981, and led the operational reformation of TAO toward a modern astronomical institute, including its reorganization into an Inter-University Research Institute, NAOJ (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan) in 1988. He served as the founding Director General of NAOJ until 1994. During this time he conducted a wide variety of important activities, such as starting the 8.2 meter aperture Subaru Telescope project on Mauna-Kea as Japan’s first large overseas research facility, and serving as the first ever Japanese President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) from 1988-1991, etc.

He is known worldwide in the research field of celestial mechanics for his work on the motion of artificial satellites. He had many important achievements, such as proposing “Kozai’s equations” which are still used for satellite orbit calculations and based on that he discovered the North-South asymmetry of the Earth (the so called “Pear Shape”). He also proposed the kinematic mechanism by which asteroids in inclined or elliptical orbits experience large changes in their orbits due to the gravity of the planets. This principle is known as the “Kozai mechanism” which is widely used now for the dynamical evolution of exoplanet systems. For these achievements, he received the Imperial Prize and the Japan Academy Prize in 1979, American Astronomical Society Brouwer Award in 1990, Second Class Order of the Sacred Treasure in 2002, and Person of Cultural Merit in 2009.

He chaired the 4th Asian-Pacific IAU Regional Meeting, Beijing in 1987, and invited North Korean astronomers for the first time. In 1991 he led the successful organization of the IAU GA in Buenos Aires as IAU President. After retiring from NAOJ he continued his contributions to the astronomical community as Director of Gunma Astronomical Observatory; he powerfully supported young Asian astronomers, and worked to improve the situation of female researchers as a member of the Science Council of Japan. We will not forget his friendly interactions with amateur astronomers, writing books for the public and serving on the editorial committee for astronomy magazines, etc. Professor Yoshihide Kozai was really a great astronomer and a kindhearted person.

We respectfully mourn his passing.

Norio Kaifu: Professor Emeritus, NAOJ, and Advisor to the IAU
Masahiko Hayashi: Director General, NAOJ
Hiroshi Kinoshita: Professor Emeritus, NAOJ

https://www.nao.ac.jp/en/news/announcements/2018/20180213-kozai.html

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past President of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (1979-1982)
  • Past President of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (1985-1988)
  • Past President of Executive Committee (1988-1991)
  • Past President Elect of Executive Committee (1985-1988)
  • Past Vice-President of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (1976-1979)
  • Past Chair of Special Nominating Committee (1988-1991)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (1982-1985)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (1973-1976)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (1967-1970)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (1988-1991)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (1982-1985)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (1979-1982)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (1970-1973)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 38 Exchange of Astronomers (1988-1991)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 38 Exchange of Astronomers (1985-1988)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 46 Astronomy Education & Development (2003-2006)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 50 Protection of Existing & Potential Observatory Sites (1988-1991)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 50 Protection of Existing & Potential Observatory Sites (1985-1988)
  • Past Advisor of Executive Committee (1991-1994)
  • Past Advisor of Special Nominating Committee (1991-1994)
  • Past Member of Division A Fundamental Astronomy (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division I Fundamental Astronomy (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division III Planetary Systems Sciences (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Division F Planetary Systems and Bioastronomy (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division VIII Galaxies & the Universe (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Division J Galaxies and Cosmology (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division XII Union-Wide Activities (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Commission 7 Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 20 Positions & Motions of Minor Planets, Comets & Satellites (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 38 Exchange of Astronomers
  • Past Member of Commission 46 Astronomy Education & Development (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 47 Cosmology (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 50 Protection of Existing & Potential Observatory Sites (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Resolutions Committee (1997-2000)

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