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TANAKA Koichi

( Chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2002)

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Biography TANAKA Koichi
Tanaka, Koichi (Tanaka, Koichi) (p. 1959) (Japan). Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2002 (together with D. and K. Fennom Vyutrihom).
Born August 3, 1959 in g. Toyama. After graduating from Tohoku University (1983) with an engineering degree, he worked at the Central Research Laboratory Corporation 'Shimadzu'.

In 1987, Sino-Japanese mass-spectral symposium for the first time reported that the protein molecule can ionize in the mass spectrometer with a soft laser desorption, and a year later published the collected data. Publication Tanaka has not been seen his leadership, and the international scientific community did not attach special significance to her.

The method of mass spectrometry has a number of modifications and is widely used in chemical and biochemical, technological, environmental and other studies, but it can not be used for the analysis of 'heavy' molecules. It should use it to study the structure of biological macromolecules.

To particle protein migrated to the mass spectrometer, Tanaka in 1987 used a soft laser desorption. The laser pulse destroys biomolecules, resulting in it breaks up into small fluttering charged particles.

During the 1980's, scientists tried to solve the problem of mass spectral analysis with a laser as a source of energy. VS Letokhov (Moscow) was able to use this scheme for the analysis of small polar molecules such as amino acids. In 1985, German researchers M. Karas (M. Karas) and F. Hillenkamp (F. Hillenkamp) carried out in such a way to mass spectrometric analysis of small molecules, but failed to achieve success for large molecules.

Tanaka successfully implemented the ionization of such proteins, as hemotripsinogen, carboxypeptidase, and cytochrome C with molecular masses of 25 717, 34 472 and 12 384, respectively.

Figuratively speaking, Tanaka made the 'elephant fly', has made the transition of heavy organic molecules in the gas phase, to be able to determine their molecular mass in the mass spectrometer.

Already, thanks to the soft laser desorption method was made possible an early diagnosis of malaria. For the absorption of laser pulse energy in this method uses a portion of the molecule of hemoglobin associated with oxygen. In 2001, reported a new method for early diagnosis of various forms of cancer (prostate, breast, etc.). In the analysis using a soft laser desorption cells chemists can detect cancer faster than doctors.

Therefore the firm 'Shimadzu' already fielded in June 2002 on the sale of mass spectrometer with a laser ionization 'AX IMA-QIT'.

In 2002, Tanaka trained in the UK in the company 'Kratos', then was an employee of the department of analytical tools 'Shimadzu' until April 1997. There was a new probation until December 1999 in the European research laboratory of the same company (United Kingdom) and then again in the company 'Kratos' until May 2002, . after which he practiced for some time in the Laboratory of Life Science at home, . and in November returned to 'Shimadzu',


. In 2002, Tanaka became a Nobel laureate, . dividing half the prize from Dzh.Fennom, . 'for the development of methods for identification and structural analysis of biological macromolecules: for the development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectral analysis of biological macromolecules' and the second half of the prize was awarded to K. Vyutrihu,
.

History Tanaka instructive. He was little known even in the company where he worked. Has held a secondary position. His award is contrary to the spirit of the Japanese corporate culture with its official hierarchy. This will affect the attitudes of Japanese society as a whole. R. Noiori (Nobel Laureate, 2001) said that youth Tanaka will benefit young scientists.

Furthermore, a number of European scientists announced that the prize went to the wrong, who should, tk. have more well-known experts working in the same area as the Tanaka, and made it more. In this regard, the Nobel committee made a clarification that Tanaka was awarded, tk. was the first who carried out the idea, and, consequently, it was he who changed the way of thinking, which corresponds to the spirit of the Nobel Prize.

The day after the announcement of this award Tanaka became a national hero. Emperor Akihito awarded him the Order of Culture, . was invited to deliver a lecture at Kyoto University, . Firm 'Shimadzu' belatedly awarded the his, . decided to call the laboratory's name, and appointed him head of the research laboratory of mass spectrometry,
. Tanaka himself has demonstrated an innate modesty. 'The Nobel Prize has not changed me. I am the same as before '- he said. He wants one thing - that gave the opportunity to work and live in peace and quiet.


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