Physics, Institute of

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Physics, Institute of


(full name, Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR), a scientific research institution at which research is conducted in solid-state physics and physical electronics, including quantum electronics. The institute was founded in Kiev in 1929 on the basis of the Kiev sub-department of physics of the People’s Commissariat of Education of the Ukrainian SSR. Since 1932 it has been part of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR.

The institute conducts basic research in exciton physics, the generation phenomena in optical lasers, photoelectronic emission, the emission of electrons from disperse films, electron-adsorption phenomena on the surface of metals, thermionic conversion of thermal energy into electrical energy, and low-temperature plasma. On the basis of the results obtained, the institute’s experimental production facilities manufacture, in small quantities, infrared instruments, tunable lasers, photocells, and various cryogenic devices.


Physics, Institute of


(full name, P. N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR), the oldest physics research institution in the USSR. The institute traces it origins to the Physics Office, established in St. Petersburg in 1725 as part of the Academy of Sciences.

Among the scientists who worked at the Physics Office were D. Bernoulli, L. Euler, G. V. Rikhman, M. V. Lomonosov, V. V. Petrov, H. Lenz (E. Kh. Lents), B. S. Iakobi, and B. B. Golitsyn. In 1912 the Physics Office was renamed the Physics Laboratory. From 1921 to 1934 it formed the physics division of the Physicomathematical Institute, which was moved to Moscow in 1934 together with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. That same year the mathematics division was separated from the Physicomathematical Institute, and the physics division was reorganized into an independent institute by the academician S. I. Vavilov, who became its first director. Beginning in 1951, the academician D. V. Skobel’tsyn was director of the institute, and the academician N. G. Basov was appointed director in 1973.

Many scientists have worked at the institute, including the academicians N. N. Andreev, L. M. Brekhovskikh, B. A. Vvedenskii, S. N. Vernov, V. I. Veksler, G. S. Landsberg, M. A. Leontovich, L. I. Mandel’shtam, A. L. Mints, N. D. Papaleksi, I. Ia. Pomeranchuk, P. A. Rebinder, I. E. Tamm, V. A. Fok, and I. M. Frank and the corresponding members A. M. Baldin, D. I. Blokhintsev, V. I. Gol’danskii, G. T. Zatsepin, V. V. Migulin, A. V. Rzhanov, S. M. Rytov, A. E. Chudakov, and F. L. Shapiro. Among the scientists working more recently (1976) at the institute are the academicians B. M. Vul, V. L. Ginzburg, L. V. Keldysh, M. A. Markov, A. M. Prokhorov, A. D. Sakharov, D. V. Skobel’tsyn, and P. A. Cherenkov (Cerenkov) and the corresponding members A. I. Alikhan’ian, F. V. Bunkin, E. L. Feinberg, and E. S. Fradkin.

The research conducted at the institute’s 20 laboratories and divisions encompasses virtually all of the most important branches of physics, namely, high-energy and cosmic-ray physics, elementary particles and their interaction, field theory, new methods of particle acceleration, atomic, molecular, and crystal spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, photoluminescence, cathodoluminescence, electroluminescence, optoelectronics, quantum radio physics, the interaction of radiation with matter, plasma physics, thermonuclear fusion, solid-state physics, semiconductors, superconductors, space physics, radio astronomy, extra-atmospheric research (X-ray, infrared, and submillimeter astronomy), optical detection and ranging of the planets and moon, theoretical astrophysics, and theoretical biophysics.

The institute has been responsible for a number of discoveries that have brought renown to Soviet science. These include the discovery and explanation of the Cherenkov (Cerenkov)-Vavilov effect; the discovery of the phase stability principle, which underlies all existing high-power charged-particle accelerators; and the discovery of the principles of the generation and amplification of electromagnetic radiation by quantum systems, which led to the development of masers and lasers. Among the institute’s most important achievements are the discovery of the ferroelectric properties of barium titanate; the development of the principles for creating thermonuclear devices, including those that feature magnetic and inertial confinement of plasma; and the discovery of the sun’s supercorona, the nuclear cascade process in cosmicray showers, and the earth’s outer radiation belt. Other major achievements include studies of the generation of solar cosmic rays and the relationship between the intensity of galactic cosmic rays and phenomena on the sun; the development of various quantum generators, including semiconductor, photodissociation, gas dynamic, chemical, electroionization, and excimer lasers; and the discovery of the hydraulic light effect, the self-focusing phenomenon and the multifocal structure upon the propagation of high-power laser radiation in a medium, and the phenomenon of exciton condensation. The institute has also made contributions to high-energy physics and accelerator theory, to the creation of the first field theory of nuclear forces, to the theory of the origin of cosmic radiation, and to the development of the modern theory of oscillations, methods of spectral analysis and plasma spectroscopy, and a laser method of stimulating chemical reactions and laser isotope separation. The institute has also conducted research in radio-wave propagation, luminescence, Raman scattering of light, and astrophysics. Electron and proton synchrotrons were developed here for the first time in the USSR, laboratory research and development were made of semiconductor diodes, transistors, and solar batteries, huge radio telescopes were built for meter and millimeter waves, and the problem of storing liquid helium under spaceflight conditions was solved. Seventeen of the institute’s scientists have been awarded the Lenin Prize, 48 the State Prize, and five the Nobel Prize.

The P. N. Lebedev Institute of Physics maintains the Tien-Shan and Dolgoprudnyi cosmic-ray research stations, the Crimean station, which conducts laser ranging of the moon, and the radio astronomy station in the city of Pushchino. A number of its research groups served as the basis for the creation of several research establishments, including the Acoustics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the High-energy Laboratory of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna), the Institute of Spectroscopy of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

The institute publishes Trudy FIAN (Transactions of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences) and Kratkie soobshcheniia po fizike (Brief Physics Reports). The institute was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.


Vul, B. M. “Fizicheskii institut.” Nauka i zhizn’, 1935, no. 5.
Vavilov, S. I. Fizicheskii kabinet—Fizicheskaia laboratoriia—Fizicheskii institut Akademii nauk SSSR za 220 let. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Skobel’tsyn, D. V., and I. M. Frank. “Fizicheskii institut imeni P. N. Lebedeva Akademii nauk SSSR.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 1957, vol. 63, issue 3.
Vul, B. M. “FIAN—oborone Rodiny.” Vestnik AN SSSR, 1975, no. 4.


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