Vol. 8 No. 1 (2024)
Historical Articles

Professor Shin Sato, a Physical Chemist and Teacher for 50 Years

Yona Siderer
Edelstein Center for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Published 2024-03-04


  • Shin Sato,
  • physical chemistry,
  • LEPS method,
  • photochemistry,
  • radiation chemistry,
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • ...More

How to Cite

Siderer, Y. (2024). Professor Shin Sato, a Physical Chemist and Teacher for 50 Years. Substantia, 8(1), 57–80. https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-2432


This article presents a portrait of the scientific work of the Japanese physical chemist Shin Sato (1928-2022) at Tokyo Institute of Technology from the mid-1950s until 2019. His work included studies in both photochemistry and radiation chemistry with a special emphasis on small molecules, attention given to analogies with the behavior of small molecules under atmospheric condition. Noteworthy is his contribution to a new intuitive semi-empirical method of drawing the Potential Energy Surface of the collisions between an atom and a diatomic molecule, now known as the LEPS Method. He published more on the following: photosensitization reactions of mercury, cadmium, zinc and benzene; insertion of NH radical into the C-H bond of carboxylic acid to form amino acids; the isotope effects of deuterium on the reaction of the hydrogen atom with the hydrogen molecule; ESR studies and calculations of tunneling in bimolecular reactions; developing temperature dependent rate formula for the reactions at temperatures lower than 10 K, lower than the Arrhenius equation that is applicable to temperatures higher than room temperature. Sato published a textbook on quantum chemistry, co-authored a book on photochemistry and radiation chemistry and translated from English two chemistry books. As a teacher he supervised about one hundred students in his laboratories. By his research and teaching he became a bridge between the Eastern and Western scientific and cultural worlds. He had a major impact on intercultural dialogue.


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