Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov

(redirected from Alexander Prochorow)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prokhorov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich


Born June 28 (July 11), 1916, in Atherton, Australia. Soviet physicist, one of the founders of quantum electronics. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966; corresponding member, 1960); member of the Presidium (1970) and academician-secretary (1973) of the division of general physics and astronomy of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Hero of Socialist Labor(1969). Member of the CPSU since 1950.

Prokhorov is the son of a Russian worker and revolutionary who was exiled for his revolutionary activity to Siberia and subsequently emigrated to Australia. He graduated from Leningrad State University in 1939, and from 1939 to 1941 and from 1944 to 1946 he was a postgraduate student (aspirant) at the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. From 1941 to 1943 he served in the Soviet Army. In 1946, Prokhorov began working at the Institute of Physics, where he became head of a laboratory in 1954 and the institute’s deputy director in 1968. In 1959 he was appointed a professor at Moscow State University and in 1971 director of a subdepartment at the Moscow Physicotechnical Institute. He has been editor in chief of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia since 1969.

Together with N. G. Basov, Prokhorov developed a fundamentally new method for generating electromagnetic waves using quantum systems and devised the first molecular generator using beams of ammonia molecules (beam-type maser, 1954–55). With his colleagues, he developed methods for creating paramagnetic masers (1957–58). In 1958, he proposed the application of ruby in quantum electronics and advanced the idea of open resonators, which are used in laser technology. In 1967 he advanced the idea of creating a gas dynamic laser. Prokhorov is the author of fundamental works on constructing powerful lasers operating in the infrared and visible regions, on nonlinear optics, and on the resonance and nonresonance interactions of powerful laser radiation with matter.

Prokhorov received the Lenin Prize in 1959 and a Nobel Prize in 1964. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1971). Prokhorov has been awarded two Orders of Lenin and several medals.


“Aleksandr Mikhailovich Prokhorov (K 50-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia).” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1966, vol. 89, issue 3.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.