Aleksander Naumovich


Aleksander Naumovich Frumkin was the Director of the Institute of Electrochemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, author of fundamental works in modern electrochemistry; founder of electrochemical kinetics, one of the founders of the modern doctrine of electrochemical processes, creator of the Soviet electrochemical scientific school, the Hero of Socialist Labor. In 1912 he graduated from St. Paul’s Gymnasium in Odessa. Later he continued his studies abroad. In 1915 he graduated from the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Novorossiysk University and came to work as a laboratory assistant at the Odessa Steel Rolling Plant. In the period from 1917 to 1920 he worked in the physico-chemical laboratory of Professor A.N. Sakhanov at Novorossiysk University. In 1920 he became a professor at the Institute of Public Education in Odessa. From 1922 he was a researcher, and in 1924-1946 he headed the Department of Surface Phenomena of the L.Y. Karpov Institute of Physics and Chemistry in Moscow, in 1929-1944 he was the Deputy director of this Institute for scientific work. Since 1930 he was the Professor of the Chemical Faculty of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov (MSU), Head of the Laboratory of Technical Electrochemistry at the Department of Physical Chemistry. In 1933-1976 he was the Head of the Department of Electrochemistry of Moscow State University. In 1939-1949 he was the Director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry and the Institute of Electrochemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences. On March 29, 1932 he was elected as a full member (Academician) of the USSR Academy of Sciences. During the Great Patriotic War, A.N. Frumkin worked in the evacuation in the city of Kazan (the Tatar ASSR, now the Republic of Tatarstan); worked in the field of radiation chemistry and its military applications. Since 1942, he participated in the work of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. In 1944, he was included in its presidium.  He was involved in the work on the USSR atomic project, carried out a complex of scientific research in the field of the influence of radioactive radiation on the materials of an atomic reactor. In 1949 he was removed from the leadership of the Institute of Physical Chemistry in the midst of a campaign against cosmopolitanism. In 1958, on the initiative of A.N. Frumkin, the Institute of Electrochemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences was organized on the basis of the Electrochemistry Department of the Institute of Physical Chemistry, which Academician A.N. Frumkin headed until the end of his life (in 1983 the Institute of Electrochemistry was named after A.N. Frumkin). The outstanding scientist was the creator of the national school of electrochemistry and such branch of science as electrochemical kinetics. Works of A.N. Frumkin had a significant impact on the development and synthesis of new chemical current sources and fuel cells, on the development of chemotronics, on work in the field of organic semiconductors, radiation chemistry. He found application in works on chemical current sources, wetting metals with electrolytes and flotation theory, on polarography, heterogeneous catalysis, colloidal chemistry, technical electrolysis. He established a fundamental connection between the structure of the double electric layer and the rate of electrochemical reaction, derived the equation of a new isotherm (“Frumkin isotherm”), formulated the basic principles of the theory of metal corrosion. In 1965 he founded the journal “Electrochemistry” and was its editor-in-chief until the last days of his life.

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