12 December 2014
Professor Akasaki returns home to show Nobel Medal at press conference
After the press conference Professor Akasaki left the Hanada Airport for the Chubu International Airport together with Professor Kamiyama, Associate Professor Takeuchi, Associate Professor Iwaya, and Meijo University administrative staff. They arrived at 7:30 p.m. to be welcomed back by staff members from the Meijo University General Affairs Department. They had been away from Nagoya since December 5, and went straight home after a week interval.
Summary of press interviews at Haneda Airport
――How do you feel now after coming back from the Nobel Prize ceremony?
Before going to the ceremony I fell sick and was worried whether or not I could go to Sweden. Professor Kamiyama, Associate Professor Takeuchi, Associate Professor Iwaya as well as staff members at Meijo University helped me and did everything for me. I stayed over there for a shorter period of time than other laureates. But I had a medical doctor accompanying me and I could enjoy the week without worry.
――You had a very tight schedule over there. How did you like Sweden?
Everywhere I went I was surrounded with reporters like you. Until I went back to my room they were everywhere no matter how late it was and even when cold wind was blowing. My wife said, “Being a reporter must be tough.”
――How were the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and the Nobel Banquet?
At the ceremony I was always the first to do and was a little nervous. But I did everything all right. My wife also said, “I was deeply moved by a tremendous applause the audience gave to my husband.”
――It was a big ceremony. Were you nervous?
I was a little nervous. But after the ceremony many of the Nobel Committee members came to shake hands with me saying, “Congratulations!” On the day before yesterday I gave a Nobel lecture. As the first speaker I stumbled a little at the beginning of the lecture. But I could sum up the content of the speech well as it was about what I had researched. Two days after the ceremony many of the Nobel Committee members said to me, “Your lecture was excellent!” I was happy to hear about their comments.
――Your long years of research have led to the Nobel Prize. Could you tell us again how you felt when you had heard about your winning the prize?
I felt half surprise and half happiness. In fact before the announcement a different academy had tried to contact me and left a telephone message saying that they would like to talk with me on the phone and call me again at around 7 o’clock in the evening. That’s why I thought it was a call from them when my telephone rang a little before 6 o’clock on October 7. I was really surprised to find that it was a call from Stockholm. The expression of half surprise comes from this episode.
――What are the most memorable things you had during your stay in Sweden?
On the day of my Nobel lecture a great number of students were waiting from me at the exit of the ceremony hall. I wish I could sign for every one of them. Another thing was on the day of the Nobel Banquet. I had told the Nobel Foundation beforehand about a risk of my leaving in the midst of banquet due to my physical conditions. Before entering the Blue Hall, venue for the banquet, we were standing to receive greetings form King and Queen of Sweden. They greeted all the laureates, and then they asked my attaché to have me get in the picture with them. During the photo shooting Queen talked to me about various things. I was deeply moved by the whole thing.
――What would like to do from now?
Together with competent professors I have contact with young graduate students. I would like to continue to do so while trying not to get in the way of their research. I have no other aptitude than for reading books or going to university whenever I have time. And I would like to keep the present lifestyle so far as health permits.
――What do you remember most happily from your stay in Stockholm?
I could spend time together in such an exciting atmosphere with my research team members as well as my wonderful attaché. I myself had been to Stockholm many times and was not interested in sightseeing in a city, but it was great to be with young staff members from Meijo University.
――You could also enjoy listening to your favorite classical music at the ceremonial concert, couldn’t you?
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony was just what I wanted to listen to, and it was played at the concert. I listened raptly to the music till the end though it got very cold outside and late at night.