Acceptance Speech by Dr. Masato Sagawa
I am extremely honored and delighted to be awarded with the prestigious Japan Prize for the year of 2012. The fact that my efforts of material research is rewarded in the field of "Environment, Energy and Infrastructure" with the award citation of "Developing the world's highest performing Nd-Fe-B type permanent magnet and contributing to energy conservation" gave me special and extra joy as a material scientist. The prize proved the fact that our material science is benefiting our society.
I began my education as a material scientist at Kobe University's Faculty of Engineering and Tohoku University's Institute for Materials Research. From 1972 to 1988, I was part of Fujitsu Laboratories and Sumitomo Special Metals where I engaged in the research & development of permanent magnets. It was through those 16 years of research that I achieved the discovery and industrialization of Nd-Fe-B type magnets. I would sincerely like to thank my teachers of both universities who gave me comprehensive education of profound quality, and the two companies that offered me the environment to pursue research that ultimately lead to this award.
After the invention of Nd-Fe-B type magnets, my colleagues at Sumitomo Special Metals and I achieved its industrialization and mass production. Subsequently, I founded Intermetallics Company which today pursues the development and industrialization of heat-resisting Nd-Fe-B type magnets that requires less dysprosium, with the support of Mitsubishi Corporation and Daido Steel Group. This award is an affirmation to the fact that Nd-Fe-B type magnets are benefitting our society, and is an encouragement for its future development which will contribute greatly to the prevention of global warming. I would like to share the honor of this award with the all the colleagues I've worked with and the employees at Intermetallics.
With Nd-Fe-B type magnets, high efficiency motors and generators of superb quality can be realized. However, there are problems that still need to be solved in order to cope with the enormous demand in the future we expect from hybrid and electric cars, air-conditioning equipment and wind power generators etc. We researchers of magnet material are already working on the solution for these problems with strong support from many companies as well as the government. I will work with researchers of magnet material around the world to take the research on Nd-Fe-B type magnets to the next level, and prove that science and technology can solve issues concerning mankind. And through the fruits of this research, I would also like to demonstrate to people that peace and prosperity of mankind can be brought about by advancement in science and technology.
Scientists and engineers are wonderful professions, for they are able to create things that benefit mankind from one's ideas. I strongly hope that my award will remind young people of this fact and aspire more to become scientists and engineers.
Thank you very much.