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 Nikolay Emanuel

Born:   September 18, 1915
Deceased:   December 8, 1984

chemical physicist



Emanuel Nikolay Markovich, a famous Russian physical chemist, was born in 1915 in the village of Tim, which is now Kursk region. Between 1930 and 1932 Nikolay studied in Leningrad in a school with chemical bias and worked as a technician in Leningrad Institute of Physics and Chemistry. The Institute was born due to academician Ioffe and had close connections with Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, especially with its famous faculty of physics and technology, where new generation of engineers and physicists was trained. Emanuel enrolled at that faculty in 1933, and five years later became PhD student of Leningrad Institute of Chemical Physics under supervision of Nikolay Semenov.

In June 1941 Great Patriotic War began, and Emanuel went to field forces, but in November the scientist was dismissed from the army in order to perform research in the field of defense. In 1942 Nikolay Emanuel defended his PhD dissertation and continued working in his Institute, which was evacuated to Kazan and returned to Moscow in 1944. The physicist read lectures in Moscow State University since 1944. Emanuel became Doctor of Science in 1949. In 1958 the scientist was elected corresponding member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, and was upgraded to academic title in 1966.

Emanuel started dealing with kinetics and mechanisms of chemical reactions since he was a student: his diploma was dedicated to kinetics of slow degenerate branching chain reaction of hydrogen sulfide oxidation. Then the scientist switched to processes, which took place in complex chemical systems, and transformation of molecules with complex structure, for instance, gas-phase oxidation of aldehydes. His works in this field won Bach Prize in 1948. Following stage of Emanuel’s research was studying gas-phase oxidation of hydrocarbons and other chemical substances, where most important result was the idea of regulating multi-stage processes by means of changing their conditions – temperature, pressure, composition, introduction of catalysts and inhibitors – during the process.

After 1954 Nikolay Emanuel paid attention to kinetics and mechanisms of chain reactions of organic matter oxidation in the liquid phase. His laboratory studied mechanisms of various inhibitors, as well as homogenous and heterogenic catalysts of complex chain reactions. The researcher found how to apply hydrocarbon oxidation reactions in petroleum chemistry. Emanuel suggested new technique for transferring gas-phase reactions into low-temperature liquid phase oxidation, which maximized yield of valuable products. For example, Emanuel developed the protocol for butane oxidation under temperatures and pressures, close to critical, and the results were acetic acid, methyl ethyl ketone and ethyl acetate. Nikolay Emanuel also studied inhibitors and contributed a lot to practical application of the theory – aging retardation of combustibles and lubricants, rotting of fats and pharmaceuticals, etc.

Another important work of Nikolay Markovich is studying decay and stabilization of polyers on the molecular level. The scientist suggested testing techniques for various stabilizing agents and quantitative criteria of polymer resistance to decomposition. Laboratory of professor Emanuel performed research in kinetics of biological processes (clinical oncology, in particular) and tested efficiency of various anti-tumor agents. In 1970s the scientist discovered the phenomenon of intensification of free-radical processes at the initial stage of tumor formation. Emanuel and his group found several anti-tumor agents and studied the role of free radicals in radiation injury, as well as showed protective effect of inhibitors of free-radical reactions.

Nikolay Emanuel was the member of Academies of Science of many countries and was awarded many medals for his outstanding work.

Eminent scientist died in Moscow on December 8, 1984.

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Nikolay Emanuel Russian scientists Russian science Russian physics  

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