Alexander Mikhailovich


Alexander Mikhailovich Prokhorov was an outstanding Russian Soviet physicist, one of the founders of quantum electronics, a creator of the scientific school, the director of the Oscillation Laboratory at Lebedev Physical Institute, the creator and director of the Institute of General Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (IOFAN), the Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the Professor, the Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, twice Hero of Socialist Labor. Alexander Prokhorov graduated with honors from the Physics Department of Leningrad State University in 1939. He entered postgraduate studies at the Laboratory of Oscillations of Lebedev Physical Institute in the same year. He studied the propagation of radio waves over the Earth’s surface and, together with one of his supervisors, physicist V.V. Migulin in the Lebedev Academy of Sciences of the USSR (FIAN) in Moscow. Alexander Mikhailovich Prokhorov developed a new method of using radio wave interference to study the ionosphere – one of the upper layers of the atmosphere. Also, he was a participant of the Great Patriotic War since 1941, he was wounded twice. Prokhorov began to study the radiation emitted by electrons in a synchrotron (a device in which charged particles, such as protons or electrons, move in expanding cyclic orbits, accelerating to very high energies) in 1947, and showed experimentally that electron radiation is concentrated in the microwave region, where wavelengths of the order of centimeters. Prokhorov focused on the development of masers and lasers and on the search for crystals with suitable spectral and relaxation properties since the mid-1950s. His detailed studies of ruby, one of the best crystals for lasers, led to the widespread use of ruby resonators for microwave and optical wavelengths. In 1964, «for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which led to the creation of generators and amplifiers based on the laser-maser principle», Alexander Mikhailovich Prokhorov and Nikolai Gennadievich Basov, as well as American physicist Charles Hard Townes, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to them.

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