From 2001 to 2010, Komatsu worked as a key member of the WMAP team on data analysis and the theoretical interpretation. He was the first author of some of the highly cited WMAP papers. One of the important contributions he made was to show that the distribution of CMB temperatures measured by WMAP obeys Gaussian statistics to high precision, which provides the strongest evidence for the idea that the structures in the Universe originated from quantum fluctuations during inflation.
The Prize is named after Prof. Chushiro Hayashi (1920-2010), who was an internationally recognised astrophysicist, well known for his contributions to the nucleosynthesis of the early universe, stellar evolution, and the formation of Solar System. With his astrophysical calculations he showed that young stars, after their proto-star phase, follow a certain track (the Hayashi track) in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, contracting and decreasing in luminosity while keeping an almost constant surface temperature until nuclear fusion starts to produce energy at their core. Closely related to this development is the Hayashi limit, a zone in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, where no stars in hydrostatic equilibrium can be found.