Born June 11 (24), 1908, in Tbilisi. Soviet physicist. Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1946; academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR since 1943. Graduated from Leningrad State University in 1931. Director of the Yerevan Institute of Physics, which he founded, since 1943.
Alikhan’ian’s scientific work has been in nuclear physics, cosmic rays, and accelerators. In 1934, with A. I. Alikhanov and M. S. Kozodaev, he discovered the emission of electron-positron pairs by excited nuclei. Along with Alikhanov and L. A. Artisimovich, he verified the law of conservation of momentum in pair annihilation. He established the dependence of β-spectra on the atomic number of an element. He discovered, with Alikhanov and others, an intensive stream of fast protons in cosmic rays.
In 1945, Alikhan’ian founded a high-altitude station on Mount Aragats for the study of cosmic radiation. With his colleagues, Alikhan’ian developed a method of cloud-chamber tracking and, placing it in a magnetic field, devised a new method for the precise measurement of the momentum of particles of extremely high energy. He designed and directed the project for the Yerevan electron accelerator of 6–giga-electron-volt energy. He received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941 and 1948, and he has been awarded two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor.