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The Nobel Prize in Physics 1958
before March 9, 2006

"for the discovery and the interpretation of the Cherenkov effect"

 

Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov was born in Voronezh Region on July 28, 1904. His parents, Aleksei and Mariya Cerenkov, were peasants. He graduated from the Physico-Mathematical Faculty of Voronezh State University in 1928, and in 1930 he took a post as senior scientific officer in the P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics in the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences. He was promoted to section leader, and in 1940 he was awarded the degree of Doctor in Physico-Mathematical Sciences. In 1953 he was confirmed in the academic rank of Professor of Experimental Physics, and since 1959 he has controlled the photo-meson processes laboratory. He has taught in institutes for higher learning for fourteen years.

It was in 1934, whilst he was working under S.I. Vavilov, that Cerenkov observed the emission of blue light from a bottle of water subjected to radioactive bombardment. This "Cerenkov effect", associated with charged atomic particles moving at velocities higher than the speed of light, proved to be of great importance in subsequent experimental work in nuclear physics and for the study of cosmic rays. The Cherenkov detector has become a standard piece of equipment in atomic research for observing the existence and velocity of high-speed particles, and the device was installed in Sputnik III. He has shared in the work of development and construction of electron accelerators and in investigations of photo-nuclear and photo-meson reactions.

Cerenkov was awarded State Prizes in 1946 (with Vavilov, Frank, and Tamm) and in 1951.

In 1930 he married Marya Putintseva, daughter of A.M. Putintsev, Professor of Russian Literature. They have a son, Aleksei, and a daughter, Elena.

From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1964
 

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.
 

Pavel A. Cherenkov died on January 6, 1990.

Link to Pavel Cherenkov's Nobel Lecture:
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1958/cerenkov-lecture.html

 

Il'ja Mikhailovich Frank was born in Leningrad on October 23, 1908, the younger son of Mikhail Lyudvigovic Frank, a Professor of Mathematics, and his wife, Dr. Yelizaveta Mikhailovna Gratsianova. He attended the Moscow State University as a pupil of Vavilov, and graduated in 1930. In 1931 he became a senior scientific officer in Professor A.N. Terenin's laboratory in the State Optical Institute in Leningrad, and in 1934 he joined the P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences as a scientific officer. He was promoted firstly to senior scientific officer and, in 1941, to his present position as officer in charge of the Atomic Nucleus Laboratory. Since 1957 he has simultaneously occupied the post of Director of the Neutron Laboratory of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Investigations.

The first investigations of I.M. Frank were in the field of photoluminescence and in photochemistry. From 1934 he began his work on nuclear physics in the Laboratory of Professor D.V. Skobeltzyn. The experimental investigations of pair creation by -rays and other problems connected with the measurements and application of rays were carried out by him. His further works were devoted to neutron physics, the investigation of reactions on light nuclei and nuclear fission by mesons.

The subject of his theoretical investigations is the Vavilov-Cerenkov effect and related problems.

Frank was awarded the degree of Doctor of Physico-Mathematical Sciences in 1935; in 1944 he was confirmed in the academic rank of Professor, and was elected a Corresponding Member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in 1946.

 

He married Ella Abramovna Beilikhis, a noted historian, in 1937. They have one son, Alexander.

From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1964
 

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.
 

l'ja M. Frank died on June 22, 1990.

Link to Il'ya Frank's Nobel Lecture:
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1958/frank-lecture.html

 

Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm was born in Vladivostok on July 8, 1895, as the son of Evgenij Tamm, an engineer, and Olga Davydova. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1918, specializing in physics, and immediately commenced an academic career in institutes of higher learning. He was progressively assistant, instructor, lecturer, and professor in charge of chairs, and he has taught in the Crimean and Moscow State Universities, in Polytechnical and Engineering-Physical Institutes, and in the J.M. Sverdlov Communist University. Tamm was awarded the degree of Doctor of Physico-Mathematical Sciences, and he has attained the academic rank of Professor. Since 1934, he has been in charge of the theoretical division of the P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences.

A decisive influence on his scientific activity was exercised by Prof. L. Mandelstam, under whose guidance he worked a number of years and with whom he was closely associated since 1920, when they met for the first time, and up to the death of Prof. Mandelstam in 1944.

Tamm is an outstanding theoretical physicist, and his early researches were devoted to crystallo-optics and the quantum theory of diffused light in solid bodies. He turned his attention to the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics and he evolved a method for interpreting the interaction of nuclear particles. Together with I.M. Frank, he developed the theoretical interpretation of the radiation of electrons moving through matter faster than the speed of light (the Cerenkov effect), and the theory of showers in cosmic rays. He has also contributed towards methods for the control of thermonuclear reactions. Resulting from his original researches, Tamm has written two important books, Relativistic Interaction of Elementary Particles (1935) and On the Magnetic Moment of the Neutron (1938).

I. Tamm was elected Corresponding Member of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in 1933, and in 1953 he became an Academician. He shared the 1946 State Prize with Vavilov, Cerenkov, and Frank, and is a Hero of Socialist Labour. He is also a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Swedish Physical Society.

From Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1964
 

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Igor Y. Tamm died on April 12, 1971.

Link to Igor Tamm's Nobel Lecture:
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1958/tamm-lecture.html
Link to Igor Tamm's Banquet Speech:
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1958/tamm-speech.html
 


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