Yuri Oganessian

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Yuri Oganessian
Юрий Цолакович Оганесян
Yuri Oganessian.jpg
Oganessian in 2016
Born (1933-04-14) 14 April 1933 (age 88)
CitizenshipSoviet Union, Russia, Armenia[1][2]
Alma materMoscow Engineering Physics Institute
Known forCo-discoverer of the heaviest elements in the periodic table; element oganesson named after him
AwardsLomonosov Gold Medal (2017) Demidov Prize (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear physics[3]
InstitutionsFlerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research
InfluencesGeorgy Flerov

Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian (Russian: Юрий Цолакович Оганесян [ˈjʉrʲɪj t͡sɐˈlakəvʲɪt͡ɕ ɐgənʲɪˈsʲan];[a] born 14 April 1933) is a Russian-Armenian nuclear physicist who is considered the world's leading researcher in superheavy chemical elements.[7] He led the discovery of these elements in the periodic table.[8][9] He succeeded Georgy Flyorov as director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1989 and is now its scientific leader.[10] The heaviest element on the periodic table, oganesson, is named after him, only the second time that an element was named after a living scientist (the other being seaborgium).

Personal life[edit]

Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian was born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on 14 April 1933[11] to Armenian parents.[12][13][14] His father was from Rostov, while his mother was from Armavir.[15] Oganessian spent his childhood in Yerevan, the capital of then-Soviet Armenia, where his family relocated in 1939. His father, Tsolak, a thermal engineer, was invited to work on the synthetic rubber plant in Yerevan. When the Eastern Front of World War II broke out, his family decided to not return to Rostov since it was occupied by Nazis. Yuri attended and finished school in Yerevan.[15][4]

Oganessian was married to Irina Levonovna (1932–2010), a violinist and a music teacher in Dubna,[16][17] with whom he had two daughters.[18][19] His daughters reside in the U.S.[20]


"A remarkable physicist and experimentalist… his work is characterised by originality, an ability to approach a problem from an unexpected side, and to achieve an ultimate result."

 —Flerov on Oganessian, 1990[7]

Oganessian moved to Russia, where he graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI) in 1956.[9][11] He thereafter sought to join the Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow, but as there were no vacancies left in Gersh Budker's team, he was instead recruited by Georgi Flerov and began working at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, near Moscow.[7][11]

He became director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at JINR in 1989, after Flerov retired, and remained in the position until 1996, when he was named the scientific leader of the Flerov.[10]

Discovery of super-heavy chemical elements[edit]

In the 1970s, Oganessian invented the "cold fusion" method[7] (unrelated to the unproven energy-producing process cold fusion), a technique to produce transactinide elements (superheavy elements). It played a vital role in the discoveries of elements from 106 to 113.[7] From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, the partnership of JINR, led by Oganessian, and the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany, led to the discovery of six chemical elements (107 to 112): bohrium,[21][22][11] meitnerium, hassium,[23] darmstadtium, roentgenium, and copernicium.[7]

His newer technique, called hot fusion, helped to discover the rest of the superheavy elements (elements 113–118).[7] The technique involved bombarding calcium into targets containing heavier radioactive elements that are rich in neutrons at a cyclotron.[24] The elements discovered using this method are nihonium (2003; also discovered by RIKEN in Japan using cold fusion),[25] flerovium (1999),[26] moscovium (2003),[27] livermorium (2000),[28] tennessine (2009),[29] and oganesson (2002).[30]


Oganessian on a 2017 Armenian stamp.

American chemist Sherry Yennello calls him the "grandfather of super-heavy elements."[7] Oganessian is the author of three discoveries, a monograph, 11 inventions, and more than 300 scientific papers.[9]

Honors and awards[edit]

In 1990 he was elected Corresponding Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and in 2003 a Full Member (Academician) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.[11]

Oganessian holds honorary degrees from Goethe University Frankfurt (2002),[31] University of Messina (2009),[32] and Yerevan State University.[33][4] In 2019, he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.[34]

State orders and awards

Oganessian was granted Armenian citizenship in July 2018 by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.[45] Oganessian is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST). He is also the chairman of the international scientific board of the Alikhanian National Science Laboratory (Yerevan Physics Institute).[46] In 2017 HayPost issued a postage stamp dedicated to Oganessian.[47]


In early 2016 it was speculated by science writers and bloggers that one of the super-heavy elements would be named oganessium or oganesson.[48] The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced in November 2016 that element 118 would be named oganesson to honor Oganessian.[49][50][51] It was first observed in 2002 at JINR, by a joint team of Russian and American scientists. Headed by Oganessian, the team included American scientists of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California.[52] Prior to this announcement, a dozen elements had been named after people,[b] but of those, only seaborgium was likewise named while its namesake (Glenn T. Seaborg) was alive.[7] As Seaborg died in 1999, Oganessian is the only currently living namesake of an element.[53][54][55]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Oganessian, Yuri (13 September 2001). "Nuclear physics: Sizing up the heavyweights". Nature. 413 (6852): 122–125. Bibcode:2001Natur.413..122O. doi:10.1038/35093194. PMID 11557964. S2CID 4414134.


  1. ^ Armenian: Յուրի Ցոլակի Հովհաննիսյան Yuri Ts‘olaki Hovhannisyan [juˈɾi t͡sʰɔlɑˈki hɔvhɑnnisˈjɑn].[4][5] Oganessian is the Russified version of the Armenian last name Hovhannisyan. The article on Oganessian in the Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia (1980) described him as an "Armenian Soviet physicist."[6]
  2. ^ 12 other elements named in honor of people: curium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium, lawrencium, rutherfordium, seaborgium, bohrium, meitnerium, roentgenium, copernicium


  1. ^ "President Armen Sarkissian receive Academician Yuri Oganessian". Office to the President of the Republic of Armenia. 12 July 2018. President Sarkissian said that on July 11 he signed the decree to granting Armenian citizenship to Yuri Oganessian.
  2. ^ "Премьер Армении предоставил гражданство российскому ученому Юрию Оганесяну" (in Russian). TASS. 10 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Dr. Yuri Oganessian". Texas A&M University Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.
  4. ^ a b c "Հովհաննիսյան Յուրի Ցոլակի (1933-) [Hovhannisyan Yuri Tsolaki (1933-)]". sci.am (in Armenian). National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Presidential Decree on Awarding Y. Ts. Hovhannisyan with the Order of Honor". president.am (in Armenian). 17 September 2016.
  6. ^ Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 6 (in Armenian). Yerevan. 1980. p. 572. ՀՈՎՀԱՆՆԻՍՅԱՆ Յուրի Ցոլակի (ծն. 14.4.1933, Դոնի Ռոստով), հայ սովետական ֆիզիկոս
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chapman, Kit (30 November 2016). "What it takes to make a new element". Chemistry World. Royal Society of Chemistry. (archived)
  8. ^ "EPS introduces new Lise Meitner prize". CERN Courier. IOP Publishing. 2 April 2001.
  9. ^ a b c d "Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian". jinr.ru. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b "About FLNR". flerovlab.jinr.ru. Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Оганесян Юрий Цолакович [Oganessian Yuri Tsolakovich]". isaran.ru (in Russian). Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  12. ^ Shevchenko, Nikolay (10 June 2016). "Moscovium joins the periodic table". Russia Beyond the Headlines. ...Yuri Oganessian, a Russian nuclear physicist of Armenian heritage...
  13. ^ "New element discovered by Armenian scientist included in Periodic Table". Armenpress. 30 November 2016.
  14. ^ "New Element In Periodic Table To Be Named After Armenian Physicist". Asbarez. 9 June 2016.
  15. ^ a b Mirzoyan, Gamlet (July 2011). "Человек, замкнувший таблицу Менделеева". Noev Kovcheg (in Russian). Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Оганесян Ирина Левоновна". dubna.org.
  17. ^ "Памяти Ирины Оганесян". dubnapress.ru (in Russian). 8 December 2010.
  18. ^ Yakutenko, Irina (26 April 2010). "Бацилла творчества". lenta.ru (in Russian).
  19. ^ Titova, Anna (2017). "Легенда № 118 [Legend #118]". expert.ru (in Russian). Expert Online.
  20. ^ Gray, Richard (11 April 2017). "Mr Element 118: The only living person on the periodic table". New Scientist.
  21. ^ Oganessian, Yu.Ts.; Demin, A.G.; Danilov, N.A.; Flerov, G.N.; Ivanov, M.P.; Iljinov, A.S.; Kolesnikov, N.N.; Markov, B.N.; Plotko, V.M.; Tretyakova, S.P. (1976). "On spontaneous fission of neutron-deficient isotopes of elements 103, 105 and 107". Nuclear Physics A. 273 (2): 505–522. doi:10.1016/0375-9474(76)90607-2.
  22. ^ Münzenberg, G.; Hofmann, S.; Heßberger, F. P.; Reisdorf, W.; Schmidt, K. H.; Schneider, J. H. R.; Armbruster, P.; Sahm, C. C.; Thuma, B. (1981). "Identification of element 107 by α correlation chains". Zeitschrift für Physik A. 300 (1): 107–8. Bibcode:1981ZPhyA.300..107M. doi:10.1007/BF01412623. S2CID 118312056.
  23. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Ter-Akopian, G. M.; Pleve, A. A.; et al. (1978). Опыты по синтезу 108 элемента в реакции 226Ra + 48Ca [Experiments on the synthesis of element 108 in the 226Ra+48Ca reaction] (PDF) (Report) (in Russian). Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  24. ^ Glanz, James (6 April 2010). "Scientists Discover Heavy New Element". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Morita, Kosuke; Morimoto, Kouji; Kaji, Daiya; Akiyama, Takahiro; Goto, Sin-ichi; Haba, Hiromitsu; Ideguchi, Eiji; Kanungo, Rituparna; Katori, Kenji; Koura, Hiroyuki; Kudo, Hisaaki; Ohnishi, Tetsuya; Ozawa, Akira; Suda, Toshimi; Sueki, Keisuke; Xu, HuShan; Yamaguchi, Takayuki; Yoneda, Akira; Yoshida, Atsushi; Zhao, YuLiang (2004). "Experiment on the Synthesis of Element 113 in the Reaction 209Bi(70Zn,n)278113". Journal of the Physical Society of Japan. 73 (10): 2593–2596. Bibcode:2004JPSJ...73.2593M. doi:10.1143/JPSJ.73.2593.
  26. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Utyonkov, V. K.; Lobanov, Yu. V.; Abdullin, F. Sh.; Polyakov, A. N.; Shirokovsky, I. V.; Tsyganov, Yu. S.; Gulbekian, G. G.; Bogomolov, S. L.; Gikal, B.; Mezentsev, A.; Iliev, S.; Subbotin, V.; Sukhov, A.; Buklanov, G.; Subotic, K.; Itkis, M.; Moody, K.; Wild, J.; Stoyer, N.; Stoyer, M.; Lougheed, R. (October 1999). "Synthesis of Superheavy Nuclei in the 48Ca + 244Pu Reaction". Physical Review Letters. 83 (16): 3154. Bibcode:1999PhRvL..83.3154O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.83.3154. S2CID 109929705.
  27. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Utyonkov, V. K.; Dmitriev, S. N.; Lobanov, Yu. V.; Itkis, M. G.; Polyakov, A. N.; Tsyganov, Yu. S.; Mezentsev, A. N.; Yeremin, A. V.; Voinov, A.; Sokol, E.; Gulbekian, G.; Bogomolov, S.; Iliev, S.; Subbotin, V.; Sukhov, A.; Buklanov, G.; Shishkin, S.; Chepygin, V.; Vostokin, G.; Aksenov, N.; Hussonnois, M.; Subotic, K.; Zagrebaev, V.; Moody, K.; Patin, J.; Wild, J.; Stoyer, M.; Stoyer, N.; et al. (2005). "Synthesis of elements 115 and 113 in the reaction 243Am + 48Ca". Physical Review C. 72 (3): 034611. Bibcode:2005PhRvC..72c4611O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.72.034611.
  28. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Utyonkov, V. K.; Lobanov, Yu. V.; Abdullin, F. Sh.; Polyakov, A. N.; Shirokovsky, I. V.; Tsyganov, Yu. S.; Gulbekian, G. G.; Bogomolov, S. L.; Gikal, B.; Mezentsev, A.; Iliev, S.; Subbotin, V.; Sukhov, A.; Ivanov, O.; Buklanov, G.; Subotic, K.; Itkis, M.; Moody, K.; Wild, J.; Stoyer, N.; Stoyer, M.; Lougheed, R.; Laue, C.; Karelin, Ye.; Tatarinov, A. (2000). "Observation of the decay of 292116". Physical Review C. 63 (1): 011301. Bibcode:2001PhRvC..63a1301O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.63.011301.
  29. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Abdullin, F. Sh.; Bailey, P. D.; Benker, D. E.; Bennett, M. E.; Dmitriev, S. N.; Ezold, J. G.; Hamilton, J. H.; Henderson, R. A.; Itkis, M. G.; Lobanov, Yu. V.; Mezentsev, A. N.; Moody, K. J.; Nelson, S. L.; Polyakov, A. N.; Porter, C. E.; Ramayya, A. V.; Riley, F. D.; Roberto, J. B.; Ryabinin, M. A.; Rykaczewski, K. P.; Sagaidak, R. N.; Shaughnessy, D. A.; Shirokovsky, I. V.; Stoyer, M. A.; Subbotin, V. G.; Sudowe, R.; Sukhov, A. M.; Tsyganov, Yu. S.; et al. (April 2010). "Synthesis of a New Element with Atomic Number Z=117". Physical Review Letters. 104 (14): 142502. Bibcode:2010PhRvL.104n2502O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.142502. PMID 20481935.
  30. ^ Oganessian, Yu. Ts.; Utyonkov, V. K.; Lobanov, Yu. V.; Abdullin, F. Sh.; Polyakov, A. N.; Sagaidak, R. N.; Shirokovsky, I. V.; Tsyganov, Yu. S.; Voinov, A. A.; Gulbekian, G.; Bogomolov, S.; Gikal, B.; Mezentsev, A.; Iliev, S.; Subbotin, V.; Sukhov, A.; Subotic, K.; Zagrebaev, V.; Vostokin, G.; Itkis, M.; Moody, K.; Patin, J.; Shaughnessy, D.; Stoyer, M.; Stoyer, N.; Wilk, P.; Kenneally, J.; Landrum, J.; Wild, J.; Lougheed, R. (2006). "Synthesis of the isotopes of elements 118 and 116 in the 249Cf and 245Cm+48Ca fusion reactions". Physical Review C. 74 (4): 044602. Bibcode:2006PhRvC..74d4602O. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.74.044602.
  31. ^ "Honorary doctorates of the faculties of natural sciences". uni-frankfurt.de.
  32. ^ "International Conference: Nuclear Reactions on Nucelos and Nuclei" (PDF). unime.it. 5–9 October 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2017. In honour of Yuri Oganessian for his laurea honoris causa that will be conferred by the University of Messina.
  33. ^ "The 118th element of the Mendeleev Tablle is named in the honor of the Honorary Doctor of YSU". ysu.am. 7 March 2017.
  34. ^ "Professor Yuri Oganessian". caths.cam.ac.uk.
  35. ^ "Recipients of Kurchatov Medal". ras.ru.
  36. ^ "EPS Nuclear Physics Division – Lise Meitner Prize". eps.org.
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  38. ^ "2010 Russian Federation National Awards have been presented". kremlin.ru. 12 June 2011.
  39. ^ "Yu.Ts.Oganessian and M.G.Itkis are National Award winners 2010". jinr.ru. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. 12 June 2011.
  40. ^ "The Lomonosov Gold Medal was awarded to Academician Oganessian". jinr.ru. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. 1 March 2018.
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  44. ^ Ghazanchyan, Siranush (24 September 2019). "Yuri Oganessian awarded Armenia's St. Mesrop Mashtots Order". armradio.am. Public Radio of Armenia. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019.
  45. ^ "Նիկոլ Փաշինյանը Յուրի Օգանեսովին ՀՀ քաղաքացիություն է շնորհել" (in Armenian). Yerkir Media. 10 July 2018. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018.
  46. ^ "President Sargsyan receives renowned scientists Yuri Oganessian and Ani Aprahamian". Armenpress. 6 November 2017.
  47. ^ "Yuri Oganessian". haypost.am. 28 December 2017.
  48. ^ Cantrill, Stuart (26 January 2016). "New kids on the p-block". Nature Chemistry.
  49. ^ "Periodic Table of Elements". IUPAC. 28 November 2016.
  50. ^ "IUAPC announces the names of the elements 113-115-117-118". IUPAC. 30 November 2016.
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  52. ^ Oganessian, Yu. T.; et al. (2002). "Results from the first 249
    (PDF). JINR Communication. JINR, Dubna.
  53. ^ Van Noorden, Richard (8 June 2016). "Four new element names proposed for periodic table". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20069. S2CID 211729809.
  54. ^ St. Fleur, Nicholas (8 June 2016). "Four Elements on the Periodic Table Get New Names". The New York Times.
  55. ^ Feltman, Rachel (9 June 2016). "For the second time in history, a living scientist has an element named in his honor". Washington Post.