Nobel laureate physicist Koshiba Masatoshi dies

Japanese Nobel Prize winner in physics Koshiba Masatoshi died on Thursday at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 94.

Koshiba won the prize in 2002 for founding "neutrino-astronomy," the study of the mechanism of stellar evolution by observing elementary particles called neutrinos.

He successfully observed neutrinos for the first time in the world as a professor at the University of Tokyo.

The observation was made at the massive underground detector Kamiokande, which he set up in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan.

Koshiba used his prize money to establish a foundation to promote research in basic sciences. The foundation hosted more than 100 lecture events for high school and university students across Japan to help them enjoy science.

Kajita Takaaki, the director of the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research at the University of Tokyo and one of Koshiba's students, also won the Nobel Prize in Physics, in 2015. He proved that neutrinos have mass, using the Super-Kamiokande Observatory, an upgraded replacement for Koshiba's facility.

A more advanced successor, Hyper-Kamiokande, is currently under construction.

Koshiba's achievement is highly evaluated for setting the stage for Japanese scientists to take the lead in the study of elementary particles.