Yuri Oganessian

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Yuri Oganessian
Yuri Oganessian.jpg
Yuri Oganessian in 2016
Born (1933-04-14) 14 April 1933 (age 85)
Rostov-on-Don, RSFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Armenian-Russian
Education Moscow Engineering Physics Institute
Known for Co-discoverer of the heaviest elements in the periodic table; element oganesson named after him
Scientific career
Fields Nuclear physics
Institutions Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions

Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian (Russian: Юрий Цолакович Оганесян, Armenian: Յուրի Ցոլակի Հովհաննիսյան; born 14 April 1933) is a Russian-Armenian nuclear physicist, who is considered the world's leading researcher in superheavy chemical elements.[1] He led the discovery of these elements in the periodic table.[2][3] He succeeded Georgy Flerov as director of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1989 and is now its scientific leader.[4] The chemical element oganesson (Og, atomic number 118) was named after him in 2016, making him the only living person with an element named after him.

Early life[edit]

Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian[a] was born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on 14 April 1933[8] to Armenian parents.[9][10][11] His father was from Rostov, while his mother was from Armavir.[12] 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 fighting on the Eastern Front of World War II broke out, his family decided to not return to Rostov, which was occupied by the Nazis. Yuri attended and finished school in Yerevan.[12][5]


Oganessian is the scientific leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions (FLNR).[13] He invented "cold" fusion in one-atom-at-a-time nucleosynthesis (not related to the pseudoscientific claims of cold fusion) around 1970 and pioneered "hot" fusion in the late 1990s.[1] In 2009, scientists in the United States confirmed Oganessian's team's discovery of flerovium over a decade before.[14] He is a researcher in islands of stability. He continues to search olivine in pallasites hoping to find superheavy elements (or their fission tracks) in nature.[1]


The first decay of atoms of oganesson was observed in 2002 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, by a joint team of Russian and American scientists. Headed by Oganessian, the team included American scientists of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California.[15] The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced in November 2016 that element 118 would be named oganesson to honor Oganessian.[16][17][18] Prior to this announcement, a dozen elements had been named after people,[b] but of those, only seaborgium was likewise named while the person (Glenn T. Seaborg) was alive.[1]

Honors and awards[edit]

Oganessian on a 2017 stamp of Armenia

In 1990 Oganessian was elected Corresponding Member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and in 2003 a Full Member (Academician) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.[8]

Oganessian holds honorary degrees from Goethe University Frankfurt (2002),[19] University of Messina (2009),[20] Yerevan State University.[21][5]

Yuri Oganessian interviewed for the Dutch TV-show The Mind of the Universe.
State orders and awards

Personal life[edit]

Oganessian was married to Irina Levonovna, a violinist, with whom he had two daughters.[26][27]


  1. ^ Armenian: Յուրի Ցոլակի Հովհաննիսյան, Yuri Tsolaki Hovhannisyan.[5][6] 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."[7]
  2. ^ 12 other elements named in honor of people: curium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium, lawrencium, rutherfordium, seaborgium, bohrium, meitnerium, roentgenium, copernicium


  1. ^ a b c d Chapman, Kit (30 November 2016). "What it takes to make a new element". Chemistry World.
  2. ^ "EPS introduces new Lise Meitner prize". CERN Courier. IOP Publishing. 2 April 2001.
  3. ^ a b "Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian". jinr.ru. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Presidential Decree on Awarding Y. Ts. Hovhannisyan with the Order of Honor". president.am (in Armenian). 17 September 2016.
  7. ^ Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 6 (in Armenian). Yerevan. 1980. p. 572. ՀՈՎՀԱՆՆԻՍՅԱՆ Յուրի Ցոլակի (ծն. 14.4.1933, Դոնի Ռոստով), հայ սովետական ֆիզիկոս
  8. ^ a b "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.
  9. ^ Shevchenko, Nikolay (10 June 2016). "Moscovium joins the periodic table". Russia Beyond the Headlines. ...Yuri Oganessian, a Russian nuclear physicist of Armenian heritage...
  10. ^ "New element discovered by Armenian scientist included in Periodic Table". Armenpress. 30 November 2016.
  11. ^ "New Element In Periodic Table To Be Named After Armenian Physicist". Asbarez. 9 June 2016.
  12. ^ a b Mirzoyan, Gamlet (July 2011). "Человек, замкнувший таблицу Менделеева". Noev Kovcheg (in Russian). Archived from the original on 19 June 2017.
  13. ^ "FLNR Directorate". Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Element 114 confirmed". RSC.org. Royal Society of Chemistry. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  15. ^ Oganessian, Yu. T.; et al. (2002). "Results from the first 249
    (PDF). JINR Communication.
  16. ^ "Periodic Table of Elements". IUPAC. 28 November 2016.
  17. ^ "IUPAC announces the names of the elements 113-115-117-118". IUPAC. 30 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Names proposed for new chemical elements". BBC News. 8 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Honorary doctorates of the faculties of natural sciences". uni-frankfurt.de.
  20. ^ "International Conference: Nuclear Reactions on Nucelos and Nuclei" (PDF). unime.it. 5–9 October 2009. In honour of Yuri Oganessian for his laurea honoris causa that will be conferred by the University of Messina.
  21. ^ "The 118th element of the Mendeleev Tablle is named in the honor of the Honorary Doctor of YSU". ysu.am. 7 March 2017.
  22. ^ "EPS Nuclear Physics Division – Lise Meitner Prize". eps.org.
  23. ^ "Указ Президента РФ от 20 ноября 2003 г. N 1372 "О награждении государственными наградами Российской Федерации"". onagradah.ru (in Russian). 20 November 2013.
  24. ^ "2010 Russian Federation National Awards have been presented". kremlin.ru. 12 June 2011.
  25. ^ "Yu.Ts.Oganessian and M.G.Itkis are National Award winners 2010". jinr.ru. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. 12 June 2011.
  26. ^ Yakutenko, Irina (26 April 2010). "Бацилла творчества". lenta.ru (in Russian).
  27. ^ Titova, Anna (2017). "Легенда № 118 [Legend #118]". expert.ru (in Russian). Expert Online.