Kanamori Receives Sacred Treasure from Japanese Government

Hiroo Kanamori, Caltech's John E. and Hazel S. Smits Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus, has been awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star by the government of Japan for his "contribution to education and research."

The Order of the Sacred Treasure was introduced by the Japanese government in 1888 to recognize outstanding achievements in myriad areas, including research, education, business, and health care. After receiving his undergraduate degree and PhD from the University of Tokyo, Kanamori spent 10 years as a researcher and professor at the university's Geophysics Department and Earthquake Research Institute. He returned as a visiting lecturer this year.

Kanamori moved to Caltech in 1972, where he worked on the mechanism of world great earthquakes and developed in 1977 a way of quantifying an earthquake in terms of the amount of energy it releases. His current research is on the physics of earthquakes, and he is also working on new detection methods for early warning systems.

Kanamori was nominated by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. He received the award from Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in a conferment ceremony in Tokyo on November 5, 2014. The Emperor of Japan, Tsugunomiya Akihito, was also present.

"I enjoyed seeing the emperor," says Kanamori. "He is a good scientist himself."

Kanamori has also been named the 2014 recipient of the William Bowie Medal, the highest award given by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), which he received at the 47th annual meeting of the AGU on December 17, 2014, in San Francisco.

Written by Lori Dajose