Abraham Alikhanov

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Abraham Alikhanov
Born (1904-02-20)February 20, 1904
Elisabethpol, Elisabethpol Governorate, Russian Empire
Died December 8, 1970(1970-12-08) (aged 66)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Armenian
Alma mater Leningrad Polytechnic Institute
Known for creation of the first nuclear reactor in the USSR
Awards Hero of Socialist Labor (1954)
Stalin Prize (1941, 1948, 1953)
Scientific career
Fields particle physics
Institutions Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics

Abraham Isahakovich Alikhanov (Alikhanian, Armenian: Աբրահամ Իսահակի Ալիխանյան) (February 20, 1904 – December 8, 1970) was a Soviet Armenian physicist, academic of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was one of the leaders of the Soviet atomic project.[1][2] In 1945, he founded and became director of the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics. He is known as one of the fathers of Soviet particle physics.[3]


He was born on February 20, 1904, in the Elisabethpol Governorate of the Russian Empire (now Ganja, Azerbaijan), to an Armenian family. His father was a train driver.[4] In 1928 he graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. It was at that time that he russified his name from Alikhanian to Alikhanov.[5] His younger brother, Artem Alikhanian, also became a physicist. In 1941 they were awarded the Stalin Prize.

He died in Moscow on December 8, 1970, at the age of 66 and was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.

Scientific career[edit]

From 1927 to 1941 Alikhanov worked at the Ioffe Institute. He then took part in creation of the first Soviet cyclotron (under the guidance of Vitaly Khlopin (ru) and jointly with Igor Kurchatov and George Gamov). In 1934, Alikhanov began research on radioactivity and radioactive radiation. In 1934, with A. I. Alikhanian and. M. S. Kozodaev, he discovered and studied the phenomenon of the emission of electron-positron pairs by excited nuclei. In 1935, with Alikhanian, he established the dependence of β-spectra on the atomic number of an element. In 1936, working with Alikhanian and L. A. Artsimovich, he experimentally corroborated the law of conservation of momentum in pair annihilation. The research initiated by Alikhanov, Alikhanian, and S. Ia. Nikitin led to the discovery in 1939 of a stream of fast protons in cosmic rays. In 1949 Alikhanov founded the first nuclear reactor in the USSR. In 1961, with V. V. Vladimirskii and others, he built the first accelerator in the USSR with strong focusing and an energy of 7GeV (1 GeV = 1 billion eV). Under Alikhanov's direction, a plan was drawn up and construction begun on an accelerator with a capacity of 70GeV. He received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, 1948, and 1953. In 1954 he was designated a Hero of Socialist Labor. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

On December 1, 1945, he organised the Soviet atomic project's Laboratory No. 3 in Moscow which later became the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics. He was the director of the institute until 1968.


  • A. P. Aleksandreov, B. V. Dzelepov. S. I. Nikitin and I. B. Kharition, “Pamiati Abrama Isaakovicha Alikhanova” (in memory of A. I. Alikhanov). in Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 112 no. 3 (1974), 725–727:
  • B. G. Gasparin. A. P. Grinberg, and V. J. Frenkel. A. I. Alikhanov v Fiziko-tekhnicheskon institute (A. I. Alikhanov in the physical-Technical Institute:Leningrad, 1986):
  • A. P. Grinberg, “Gipoteza neitrino i novie podtverzhdaiushchii ee dannie” (Neutrino hypothesis and the new data that confirm it), in Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 26, no. 2 (1944). 189: and “Positive Electrons from Lead Ejected by y-Rays.” in Nature, 133 (1934), 581.

External links[edit]


  • Armenian Concise Encyclopedia, Ed. by acad. K. Khudaverdian, Yerevan, 1990, Vol. 1, p. 90-91


  1. ^ Алиханов
  2. ^ Red Atom: Russia's Nuclear Power Program from Stalin to Today, University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2005, P. 16
  3. ^ [1] At the Frontier of Particle Physics: Handbook of QCD : Boris Ioffe, Volume 1 edited by Mikhail A. Shifman , p. 7
  4. ^ Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present: A-C - Page 27, by Brigham Narins, 2001
  5. ^ Abraham Alikhanov