Yoshio Nishina
Historical Figure
Nationality: Japan
Date of Birth: 1890
Date of Death: 1951
Cause of Death: Natural Causes
Occupation: Scientist
Turtledove Appearances:
POD: May 30, 1942
Appearance(s): Tilting the Balance;
Upsetting the Balance
Type of Appearance: Direct
Date of Death: 1943
Cause of Death: Killed in the explosive-metal bombing of Tokyo
Yoshio Nishina (仁科芳雄) (December 6, 1890 – January 10, 1951) was the founding father of modern physics research in Japan. He co-authored the well-known Klein–Nishina formula. He was a principal investigator of RIKEN and mentored generations of physicists, including two Nobel Laureates: Hideki Yukawa and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. During World War II, he was the head of the Japanese atomic bomb program. The crater Nishina on the Moon is named in his honor.

Yoshio Nishina in WorldwarEdit

Yoshio Nishina (1890-1943) was a Japanese nuclear physicist. Through the use of his interpreter, Major Okamoto, Nishina was able to get a great deal of scientific knowledge about explosive-metal bombs from a Lizard POW, Teerts, whose killercraft had been shot down in Japan.

Nishina surprised and dismayed Teerts with his knowledge of uranium and the theoretical processes for weaponizing it.[1] Initially, the information Nishina required from Teerts was extracted through threats of torture.[2] The fact that Teerts consistently underestimated how much Nishina understood about nuclear physics also hurt his ability to obfuscate.[3]. Thus, Teerts was ultimately forthcoming with his knowledge, which included the revelation that the Race used plutonium in their bombs.[4]

With Teerts's help, Nishina and his colleagues successfully produced plutonium.[5] Nishina personally met with Teerts to gloat about the fact that the Japanese would soon have its own explosive-metal bomb.[6]

However, after the addictive properties of ginger in Lizards was discovered, Nishina's Army liaisons had much better luck turning Teerts into a pliant addict.[7] Nishina grew less guarded with the increasingly cooperative Teerts, allowing him to follow Japan's progress so Teerts could confirm that they were on the right path. This included actually taking Teerts to the facility where Nishina's team was establishing a system for diffusion of uranium hexafluoride.[8] When Teerts begged off, feigning ignorance, Nishina yielded.[9] Not long after, Nishina concluded that Teerts would be of no more use to him, and allowed his transfer back to exclusive military custody.[10]

Indeed, Nishina's willingness to share information with Teerts was his, and very nearly his country's, undoing. When Teerts escaped from prison, he immediately informed his superiors about Japan's progress.[11] The Race used an explosive-metal bomb on Tokyo.[12] Nishina died in the attack.[13]


  1. Tilting the Balance, pgs. 149-150.
  2. Ibid., pg. 150-151.
  3. Ibid., pg. 151.
  4. Ibid., pg. 153.
  5. Ibid., pg. 415.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid., pg. 544.
  8. Ibid., pg. 545.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Upsetting the Balance, pg. 78.
  11. Ibid., pg. 97.
  12. Ibid., pg. 105.
  13. This is not explicitly stated, but we learn casualties were heavy.

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