Makoto Kobayashi


Makoto Kobayashi

© The Nobel Foundation Photo: U. Montan

Makoto Kobayashi
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2008

Born: 7 April 1944, Nagoya, Japan

Affiliation at the time of the award: High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), Tsukuba, Japan

Prize motivation: “for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature”

Prize share: 1/4


Physicists long assumed that nature is characterized by symmetry. In a kind of mirrored world where right and left changed places and matter was exchanged for antimatter, natural laws would stand. After it was discovered that the decay of certain particles (kaons) was asymmetrical, a mathematics-based explanation for this was presented by Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa in 1972. The explanation meant that there must be at least three families of quarks that form matter. This theory was later verified.

To cite this section
MLA style: Makoto Kobayashi – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Tue. 26 Sep 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Coming up

This year’s Nobel Prize announcements will take place 2–9 October. All announcements will be streamed live here on

See the full schedule
Announcement dates

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.