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In memory of Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi - Winner of the 2015 Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research

06 August 2021 marks one year since the passing of our dear friend Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi, well known for his outstanding contributions in scientific research, mentoring, public outreach, and impact on mercury policy and management.

Dr. Akagi has been a distinguished leader in mercury science, management and outreach for over 40 years of his scientific career. His groundbreaking contributions include the development of methodologies that have become standard approaches for mercury analysis in varied biological and environmental materials. This work has resulted in highly cited research papers and lectures on mercury, and interactions, outreach and training with diverse institutions and people globally.

Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi retired as director of the Department of International Affairs and Environmental Sciences, National Institute for Minamata Disease, Japan. He received his doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Japan. Dr. Akagi has been engaged in mercury research, policy and outreach throughout his career. He has been active in the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, serving on the Scientific Steering committee of the 1st through 7th conferences, and chairing the 6th ICMGP held in Minamata, Japan. Dr. Akagi worked as a technical consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency Coordinated research programme on health impacts of mercury in contaminated environments. He was a member of the International Council of Science Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) initiative on Mercury cycling in Ecosystems (1994-2004).  A hallmark of Dr. Agaki’s career has been not only his research on mercury, but his numerous collaborative studies, outreach and training with researchers and agencies from many different countries. He has published numerous research papers on mercury, focusing on analytical methods.

Dr. Akagi left a remarkable legacy in the field of analytical chemistry of mercury and so today his work is present in many laboratories around the world. All of us who have worked with him, will remember him as an exceptional man and friend; and as such will remain eternally alive in our memory.

Picture of Dr Akagi receiving the 2015 Kathryn R. Mahaffey Lifetime Achievement Award in Mercury Research, at the 12th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP 2015) was held in Jeju, Republic of Korea, held during 14 to 19 June 2015. From left to right, Prof Jozef Pacyna (Norway | Poland), Kyunghee Choi (Chair of 12th ICMGP), the late Dr. Hirokatsu Akagi (Japan), Prof Charles Driscoll (USA). Picture credit: National Institute of Environmental Research.