[Welcome to the IPNS] Interview with Dr. Kenta Uno of the Belle Group

In June 2023, Dr. Kenta Uno joined the Belle Group at IPNS as an assistant professor.

We interviewed him about what sparked his interest in the world of particle physics, the research he has conducted, and how he refreshes his mind when faced with challenges in his work.

■What sparked your interest in particle physics?

In my first year of high school, I came across news about the Nobel Prize-winning Kobayashi-Maskawa theory. I must admit, at the time, I couldn’t fully comprehend the significance of CP symmetry violation (looking back now, it’s embarrassing). However, this made me think that I should try to study particle physics. Subsequently, when I heard about the discovery of the Higgs boson, my interest grew in participating in the LHC experiment at CERN and the prospect of discovering new particles.

■What kind of research were you involved in before coming to KEK?

During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to participate in the LHC/ATLAS experiment at CERN, located on the border of France and Switzerland. At that time, the LHC was entering its Run 2 phase, with a significant increase in center-of-mass energy, and there was an excitement of the possibility of discovering new particles. It was fortunate that I could conduct research at CERN during this crucial period. I focused on exploring supersymmetric particles using the data obtained from the Run 2 experiment and obtained my doctoral degree based on the research results. There were many challenges along the way, but with the support of many individuals, I successfully completed my doctoral program. I am particularly grateful to Professor Shoji Asai (currently the Director of the International Center for Elementary Particle Physics at the University of Tokyo) and Professor Jun’ichi Tanaka, both from the Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo, for their support not only in research but also in planning my future career. After completing my doctoral program, I joined the Belle II experiment conducted at KEK. There, I conducted research primarily focusing on the search for new particles using tau leptons and the performance evaluation of particle identification detectors. Additionally, since the Belle II experiment was in operation, I also participated in on-site activities at KEK. I am extremely grateful to Professor Kiyoshi Hayasaka from Niigata University, who allowed me the freedom to conduct my research without being at Niigata University most of the time.

■What kind of research do you hope to pursue at KEK?

At KEK, as a member of the Belle Group, I will continue to be involved in the Belle II experiment. Although we have not yet obtained clear signs of new particles, there is no doubt that physics beyond the Standard Model exists. I aim to collect and analyze a vast amount of data from the Belle II experiment and discover rare phenomena involving unknown particles. To achieve this, I plan to work closely with the SuperKEKB accelerator group and play a role in leading the overall operation of the experiment. The success of the Belle II experiment is also crucial for the future of high-energy physics in Japan, so I will do my best.

■Can you share your method of refreshing your mind when facing difficulties in research and work?

During my time at CERN, going out for meals and drinks with colleagues, seniors, and juniors served as a way to refresh my mind. Additionally, in Japan, I enjoy watching baseball games and playing tennis. Especially when I’m cheering for a particular baseball team and they win, it puts me in a good mood (although the team I support isn’t particularly strong). Since baseball games are broadcasted on almost every day during the season, it is quite nice for watching as a break from research.

We look forward to your future activities at the IPNS!

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