Honda Prize 2023 Awarded to Dr. Masato Sagawa of Japan and Dr. John J. Croat of U.S.

– For Their Invention of Neodymium (Nd-Fe-B) Magnet and Their Contributions to Its Practical Application –

TOKYO, Oct. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Honda Foundation, a public-interest incorporated organization, has announced that in 2023, the 44th Honda Prize will be awarded to Dr. Masato Sagawa of Japan (an advisor to Daido Steel Co., Ltd. and the president of NDFEB Corporation) and Dr. John J. Croat of the United States (former president of John Croat Consulting, Inc.), both of whom invented the world’s most powerful permanent magnet, the neodymium magnet. They established two different methods for manufacturing the magnet at approximately the same time — but completely independently.

Sintered and bonded neodymium magnets:

Permanent magnets play an important role as a fundamental material in modern society and are widely used across various industries, including electronics, industrial machinery, and automobiles. When Dr. Sagawa and Dr. Croat started their research, the most powerful magnet was the samarium-cobalt (Sm-Co) magnet, developed in 1969.

In their independent research projects, both Dr. Sagawa and Dr. Croat pursued the potential of magnetic materials using iron (Fe), which is more abundant and has a greater magnetic moment (*1) than cobalt. They added the rare earth element neodymium (Nd), in place of samarium, and a small amount of boron (B) to the iron-based magnet, thereby creating the Nd-Fe-B permanent magnet. In 1982, at roughly the same time, Dr. Sagawa presented a paper on the sintering process, and Dr. Croat presented his paper on the rapid solidification process as their magnet-manufacturing methods.

The arrival of the neodymium magnet (Nd-Fe-B permanent magnet), which shows a high coercivity even with a piece just a few millimeters in size, enabled a significant size reduction in motors and hard disk drives, thereby advancing IT usage in society. The neodymium magnet now occupies 95% of the permanent magnet market for the use of motors in wind turbines and in electric and hybrid vehicles. This magnet accomplished the wider electrification of motor operations while improving motor efficiency, which in turn significantly contributes to reducing CO2 emissions.

Over the years, the Honda Foundation has been promoting as its mission “ecotechnology,” (*2) which aims to contribute to the development of scientific technology and humankind, harmonizing both the human and natural environments. As the inventions are fully in accord with this mission, the Prize will be awarded to Dr. Sagawa and Dr. Croat for their inventions, which are worthy of the highest recognition.


(*1) Magnetic moment: A measurement of the strength of attraction of a magnetic field

(*2) Ecotechnology: A neologism combining an image of the natural world (ecology) and technology within the context of civilization as a whole. It was advocated by the Honda Foundation in 1979 and seeks new technological concepts required by human society to further the coexistence of people and technology.

Dr. Sagawa’s research and biography:

Dr. Croat’s research and biography:

History of permanent magnet research/ Present and future of neodymium magnets:

About Honda Foundation and award ceremony

The Honda Foundation established the Honda Prize in 1980 as Japan’s first international award that acknowledges achievements contributing to “the creation of a truly humane civilization.” An award ceremony will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, on November 16, 2023. In addition to prize medals and diplomas, the laureates will be awarded a total of 10 million yen.

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Honda Foundation’s official website: