HISTORY OF PHYSICS RESEARCH IN UKRAINE Oleksandr Bakai and Yurij Raniuk, May 1993
Science, including physics, has a long tradition in Ukraine in spite of 300 years of foreign domination. Here we present a short overview of its development. Although our primary focus is physics, we also discuss the historical context in which physics in Ukraine evolved.
Until the First World War most of Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire, while Ukraine's South-West belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Under czarist rule, Ukraine was not a free nation, then as a Soviet republic its national attributes were only decorative. Therefore, Ukraine was not recognized internationally as a separate country and was not credited with her specific cultural and scientific accomplishments. During the Soviet period, politics, economy, the military, science, and technology were all controlled by central communist authorities. Moscow and Leningrad dominated most scientific research, its organization and funding. These centers were favored because they were, each in its time, capital cities of Russia. It was here that the best scientific, technical and human resources from all corners of the Empire were concentrated. Against such odds, it is remarkable that physics research in Ukraine, particularly in Kharkiv and Kyiv, managed to rise to the highest world levels.
Neither the scope of this article nor its orientation allow us to do full justice to all the important and interesting scientific results obtained in Ukraine. We are also aware that our view of the historical development of physics in Ukraine may be different than that of other physicists, even of those directly involved in this history. Because we have been working for dozens of years at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (KIPT) and thus are much more familiar with its rich history, we may tend to pay somewhat more attention to that Institute than to other scientific institutions. Nevertheless, we hope that this overview will, in some measure, provide a picture of the development of physics in all of Ukraine. A more detailed and fully referenced history of physics in Ukraine remains to be written, hopefully soon.[Top][Bottom]
II. Within the Confines of Two Empires
As a sovereign nation, Ukraine appeared in Europe during the Middle Ages and was well known under the name of Kyivan Rus'. This country was devastated by the attack of the Mongol Tatars in 1240. Since then, parts of it were ruled by various neighboring powers -- the Golden Horde, Lithuania, Poland, and the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires.
As often happens under such conditions, the ruling metropolises extracted from their colony the best talents -- writers, poets, painters, artists, academics, and even military leaders. These immigrants from Ukraine enriched the cultural treasures of nations which had conquered their land. Others emigrated even further away. Thus during the middle ages, at the universities and academies of Europe, one could meet not only Ukrainian students, but also lecturers who had come from Ukraine. One of the better known was the 15th century scholar from the Ukrainian city of Drohobych, Yurij Kotermak -- philosopher, astronomer, physician -- who became rector of the University of Bologna in Italy. In 1483, he published a book "Prognostic Evaluation of the year 1483 -- by Master Yu. Drohobych from Rus', Doctor of Arts and Medicine at the University of Bologna". This is the first printed work of a Ukrainian natural scientist, known to us.
Near the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries, the first academic centers appeared in Ukraine. These were the Ostrozhsky College and the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
In 1576 in Ostrih, under the patronage of Prince Konstiantyn Ostrozhsky, a Greek-Slav-Latin College was formed. It consolidated the best academic forces of Ukraine at that time. The College's interests were in humanities : history, philosophy, philology, religion. It was here that the first Ukrainian Bible was published in 1851. This College ceased to exist in 1636.
In Kyiv in 1632, Petro Mohyla, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, organized another College which later became known as the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. This College trained specialists not only in the humanities, but also in the natural sciences. Its level of scholarship was comparable to that of the best universities of Western Europe. During his reform activities, Russian Czar Peter I depended to a large extent on graduates of this academy. From within its walls emerged a large number of advisors and functionaries, in particular the founder of Russian science, Theophan Prokopovych. In 1701 the Czar decreed the College to be raised to the status of Academy. The outstanding Russian natural scientist and founder of Moscow University, Michail Lomonsov, studied at the Academy in 1734. The Academy was closed in 1817.
In 1661, by the decree of the Polish king Jan Kasimir, a university was formed in Lviv, the principal city of Polish-ruled Western Ukraine. In Russian-ruled Ukraine, in 1805, Emperor Alexander I permitted a University in Kharkiv to be established. It was the third University in the Russian Empire after the Universities of Moscow and Kazan. One of the early graduates from the Kharkiv University, Ukrainian mathematician Mykhailo Ostrogradsky, made a major contribution to theoretical physics by showing how an integral over n-dimensional space can be reduced to one over its boundary (the Ostrogradsky-Gauss theorem, or simply Ostrogradsky theorem in French literature). In 1834, a University was inaugurated in Kyiv.
The opening of universities stimulated the formation of scientific societies. It must be emphasized that Czarism did not recognize the Ukrainian nation and imperial decrees were issued outlawing all public use of the Ukrainian language, including preaching, book publishing, theater, etc. Any manifestation of Ukrainian national life was severely persecuted. For this reason, the center of Ukrainian action for national rebirth, including Ukrainian scholarly endeavors, shifted to Western Ukraine ruled by Austria-Hungary, where the atmosphere was more favorable. In 1873, at the initiative of Ukrainian intellectuals from the Russian-ruled Eastern Ukraine, a scholarly society named "The Shevchenko Society" (after the bard of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko) was formed in Lviv in Western Ukraine. in 1892, it was reorganized as the Shevchenko Scientific Society (SSS). A Mathematical - Scientific - Medical section was an active part of SSS from the very beginning. SSS, in fact, described itself as a Ukrainian Academy. This Academy operated not only as an academic institution, but as a center which united scholars of different nationalities who worked in various scientific institutions and even different countries. On March 17, 1929, Albert Einstein was nominated for membership in the SSS. In his letter of acceptance, he wrote: "Distinguished Gentlemen! I thank you sincerely for having nominated me a member of your honored Society. I would always gladly accept this nomination, regardless of what other international scientists belonged to your Society. With the sincerest greetings, A. Einstein." Max Planck and several other internationally renowned scholars were also members of SSS. This scientific society was abolished by the Soviets who occupied Lviv in 1939. In 1989, the Society, branches of which continued to operate in exile, renewed its activity in Lviv.
The Ukrainian scholars, Ivan Puluj and Dmytro Pylchykov, were active members of the SSS. I. Puluj, a native of Western Ukraine, graduated from the technological faculty of the University of Vienna in 1872 and received his doctorate from the University of Strasbourg in 1876. From 1884, he was professor of experimental and technical physics at the German Institute of Technology in Prague. He attained marked success in studying processes in gaseous discharge tubes and in electro-technology. He was also a pioneering investigator of Roentgen rays. A man of renaissance interests and prodigious talents, he found time to be co-author of the first translation of the Bible into modern Ukrainian. D. Pylchykov, a native of the Kherson region (south-eastern Ukraine), was one of the co-founders of the SSS.
Another early Ukrainian physicist of note was Mykola Pylchykov, son of D. Pylchykov. He graduated in 1880 from Kharkiv University and taught in Odesa and Kharkiv Universities. His extensive research dealt with the frontier problems of optics, earth's magnetism, electrical and radio technologies, radio steering, Roentgen rays, and radioactivity.[Top][Bottom]
III. Between the Two World Wars
The Ukrainian Academy of Sciences was born during the turbulent years of revolution and wars of national liberation. It was created in November 1918 under the independent Ukrainian government of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky. From the beginning, the Academy of Sciences had a division of Physics and Mathematics. The turmoil of ongoing revolution and civil war resulted in a new wave of emigration of Ukrainian intelligentsia. Among the personalities from Ukraine who ended up in the United States of America were such well known luminaries as the following:
- Theoretical physicist George Gamow, born in Odesa in 1904, was the first to provide a quantum mechanical explanation of alpha radioactivity. He was professor at the George Washington University and at the University of Colorado. G. Gamow was a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).
- One of the founders of the discipline of strength of materials, Stephan Tomoshenko, born in the village of Shpotivka, Sumy District of Ukraine in 1878, was professor at the University of Michigan and at Stanford University.
- Igor Sikorsky, who was born in Kyiv in 1889, became world famous as a designer of airplanes and helicopters.
- Alexander Samakula, born in western Ukraine in 1900, the inventor of the universally used anti reflective coating for optical lenses, was professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Experimental physics came into its own in Ukraine after the revolution. Its rapid growth was dictated by the needs of the developing industry. At first, three centers of experimental physics were created, one each in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk.
In 1929, the Physics Research Chair of the University of Kyiv became the Institute of Physics. At first it remained under the jurisdiction of the National Commissariat of Education, but in 1932 it was transferred to the Academy of Sciences. Original research into semiconductors and physical electronics was carried out at this Institute already before World War II. In addition to carrying out fundamental and applied research, the Institute served as a graduate school preparing faculty for the colleges and universities of Ukraine.
In 1930, the Ukrainian Physico-Technical Institute was founded in Kharkiv, which at the time was the capital of Ukraine. It was organized at the initiative of Leningrad physicist and the "father" of Soviet physics, Academician Abram Ioffe, a native of Ukraine. At the beginning, the scientific staff of the Institute included a number of young scientists from the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute. Renamed the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (KIPT), the Institute was initially under the direction of the Supreme Council for the national Economy of Ukraine. Subsequently, it was transferred to the National Commissariat of Heavy Industry of the USSR, which also served as an unacknowledged umbrella for part of the Soviet defense research. The initial mission of the Institute was to provide scientific support for the development of machine-building and electrotechnical industry, the recognized center of which was Kharkiv. The outstanding Leningrad Professor Ivan Obreimov was appointed director of the Institute.
Despite economic straits and social upheavals (Stalin's genocidal artificial famine imposed on Ukraine at that time to break the resistance of Ukrainian farmers to collectivization and centralization claimed some seven million victims), the state allotted significant funds to furnish and import from abroad indispensable technology for the new scientific institution, in particular, state-of-the-art cryogenic equipment. Besides the physics of low temperatures, other original fields of research pursued at the Institute were high voltages, particle acceleration and nuclear physics.
In October 1932, a group of physicists including Kyrylo Synelnykov, Oleksandr Leipunsky, Anton Walter and Gheorgij Latyshev repeated the experiment of John D. Cockroft and Ernest T.S. Walton on the break-up of the atomic nucleus by accelerated protons. The same year, construction of the 4 MeV Van de Graaff electrostatic generator, then the largest in the world, was undertaken. right up to W.W.II, experiments were carried out on the interaction of accelerated electrons with matter, and of protons and neutrons with nuclei.
The cryogenic laboratory of KIPT, headed by Lev Shubnikov, was formed in 1930. It was the first and foremost cryogenic laboratory in the USSR and remained such until Peter Kapitsa returned to Moscow from Cambridge. It was in Kharkiv that liquid hydrogen and helium temperatures were first attained, new cryogenic technology developed, an impressive group of physicists trained, and a number of firsts in low temperature solid state physics achieved. Close cooperation with such theoreticians as Lev Landau and his students proved very expedient for planning of experiments and for interpretation of the results obtained.
The number of important firsts achieved at KIPT included:
- demonstration that the magnetic inductance of superconductors approaches zero (1934);
- discovery of type II superconductors (1936);
- experimental confirmation of the Silsby hypothesis that the superconducting state is destroyed by high currents (1936);
- experimental confirmation of the existence of an intermediate superconducting state in a magnetic field predicted by Landau (1937);
- discovery of the transition of the 2.5 order in superconductors in a magnetic field (1965).
Many other results, important to the understanding of superconductivity, were obtained in Kharkiv. Thanks to the creation of superior cryogenic technology, it became possible for I. Obreimov's group to study the characteristics of molecular crystals, the spectra of their elementary components, their absorption spectra, and their thermal properties.
While working at Kharkiv University, Abram Slutskin and Dmytro Shteinberg found that it was easy to induce electromagnetic waves of centimeter wavelength in diodes in a magnetic field. Subsequently, under the direction of Slutskin, the first magnetron generators were built at KIPT. Based on these, the first USSR radar at decimeter wavelengths was constructed which, as early as 1939, allowed accurate determination of the co-ordinates of airplanes. Of course, this research was highly classified and little, if anything, was known of it in the West.
Theoretical physicists were very active in Ukraine. Young, talented and ambitious, Dmytro Ivanenko and Lev Landau, the future Nobel laureate, whose talent burst into full bloom at KIPT, kept close ties with leading physicists of Europe. In 1929, Ivanenko organized the first all-Soviet theoretical conference in Kharkiv. Landau was a frequent and welcome guest of Niels Bohr, belonged to the outstanding group of Bohr's school and to the elite group of European physicists with whose names the development of physics of the first half of the twentieth century is tied. Soon thereafter, a theoretical school grew around Landau at KIPT. After Landau moved to Moscow in 1937 to the Institute of Physics Problems at the invitation of Peter Kapitsa, Landau's students established their own theoretical groups in Kharkiv. Today, there are already several hundred theoreticians who, after having been trained in Kharkiv, are working in Institutes and Universities of Ukraine, in newly independent republics of the former USSR, and internationally.
Another powerful school of theoretical physics was established by Mykola (Nicholas) Bogoliubov, who started his creative path in Kyiv as a mathematician. His first important achievement was the development of asymptotic methods in the theory of nonlinear oscillations, carried out in conjunction with his mentor, professor Mykola Krylov. Subsequently, Bogoliubov introduced a number of fundamental ideas and methods in statistical physics, in theories in quantum fields and elementary particles, and in theories of superconductivity and superfluidity.
The scientists at KIPT worked in close contact with the scientists of Europe and America. The Institute collaborated most closely with the Leyden and Cavendish laboratories. Paul Ehrenfest from Leyden and future Nobel laureate Peter Kapitsa from Cambridge, were on the staff of the Institute as foreign consultants. A number of well known scientists from Europe were associated with the work of the Institute. Among them were theoreticians Boris Podolsky from the USA and Victor Weisskopf from England; and experimentalists Friedrich Lange, a well known high pressures specialist from Berlin, Friedrich Houtermans, a nuclear physicist also from Berlin, Martin Ruheman, an English cryogenic engineer, and several others.
In their turn, many Kharkiv physicists obtained practical experience at foreign scientific centers. Shubnikov, Ms. Olha Trapeznikov and Obreimov worked in Leyden; Landau in Copenhagen; Synelnykov and Leipunsky in Cambridge. Many Leningrad nuclear physicists worked in Kharkiv, in particular the "father" of the Soviet atomic bomb Igor Kurchatov. Nuclear physics in the Soviet Union originated in Kharkiv.
In 1937-38, at the height of the Stalin-Yezhov terror, the Institute was crushed by the NKVD. Of the first three directors, two -- Obreimov and Leipunsky -- were arrested and the third, Semen Davydovych, was executed. Also shot were L. Shubnikov, Lev Rosenkevich, Vadym Horsky, Valentyn Fomin and many others. Landau and Ivanenko were arrested. Foreign scientists -- F. Houtermans, Alexander Weisberg, Konrad Weiselberg -- who worked at KIPT, were imprisoned . Nobel laureates and famous scientists of Europe and America came to their defense. In particular, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to J. Stalin asking that the scientists be freed. The first two were released, if you can call being turned over to the Gestapo as release. Weiselberg was shot, because he no longer was considered a foreigner: in his idealism he had managed to accept Soviet citizenship. [An excellent account of the terror gripping KIPT in that period may be found in the memoirs of A. Weisberg, published in 1951 in New York (Alexander Weisberg, The Accused, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1951), which we highly recommend reading.]
In 1933, an Institute of Physics and Technology was organized on Dnipropetrovsk, the foremost center of the mining and metallurgical industry of the Soviet Union. Headed by Gheorgij Kurdiumov, this Institute became the center of materials research. The first scientific results dealt with the properties and structure of martensite, kinetics of martensitic transformation, and the influence of doping on the properties of alloys.
At the beginning of W.W.II, most Ukrainian physicists were sent to the front, while some were evacuated along with their Institutes to the Urals and Central Asia, where the major efforts were directly associated with the war.[Top][Bottom]
IV. Postwar Period
The end of W.W.II brought enormous problems of reconstruction and of changes in political directions, both internally and internationally.
Ukraine was devastated: industrial centers were destroyed by both the retreating Soviet armies and by the Germans during their advance and during their retreat. Over six million Ukrainians died in the war. A large number of young people were transported to Germany for slave labor (Ostarbeiter). Those who returned home were physically and spiritually broken; moreover, they were considered by the authorities as having "questionable loyalty", and were therefore discriminated against and deprived, although not openly, of many of their citizenship rights.
Yet the reactivation of the power grid, of much of the industry, and also of academic and scientific institutions, proceeded with extraordinary rapidity despite these incredibly difficult circumstances. Physics research in the postwar USSR, just as in the USA and in western Europe, became even more important and prestigious than before the war. At issue was the creation of the atomic bomb and the eventual harnessing of nuclear energy as a power source.
Success in the creation of the the hydrogen bomb had another, later declassified, civilian side -- the prospect of controlled thermonuclear fusion. Defense industries, space programs, electronics -- all demanded the creation of fundamentally new advanced materials with exceptional atomic and electronic structures and properties.
Successes in radar technology and radiophysics also had a non-classified sector. It included radioastronomy, astrophysics, and physics of the ionosphere. The government did not hold back on funding for scientific research in the defense sector and for training of specialists. The cold war and arms race resulted in significant financing of physics research in Ukraine. This financing passed through both ministries which were responsible for specific programs, as well as through the Academy of Sciences, which effectively began to play the role of the ministry of science. In a comparatively short period of time, the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (UkrAS) formed a wide network of centers for fundamental and applied physics research. It also supervised, to a large extent, the graduate training of specialists. It should be emphasized that by the range of the research and the training of specialists, the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was second only to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, which in effect was also the Academy of Russia. Both, the Russian and Ukrainian Academies were significantly ahead of other republican Academies. Since 1961, the UkrAS has been headed by Acamedician Borys Paton. The greatest growth of science and the consolidation of the Academy's position in Ukraine occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. In April 1993, B. Paton was reelected president of the UkrAS for a new 5-year term.
Extremely deleterious aspects of the post war period were secrecy and the growing isolation, which resulted in two separate camps of science -- East and West. While a trickle of exchange of information through open publications and international conferences did exist, any true collaboration could only be a dream.
After the war, it became clear that the two physics institutes (Institute of Physics in Kyiv and KIPT in Kharkiv) were insufficient to satisfy all the needs of Ukraine. Organization of new scientific institutions began, most frequently by promoting overextended departments of existing physics institutions into full-fledged institutes.
The Kiev Institute of Physics became the parent of a series of scientific research establishments of the Physics Division of the UkrAS. Thus, the Department of Diffusive Processes of the Institute became the Laboratory of Metal Physics (1945) and then the Institute of Metal Physics (1955). In 1960, the Institute of Semiconductors was formed from the Departments of semiconductors and of theoretical physics, and the Laboratory of surface semiconductors. In 1970, the Departments of nuclear physics, nuclear reactions, nuclear spectroscopy and photonuclear processes became the Institute for Nuclear Research.
KIPT, in its turn, gave rise to a series of daughter institutes. These were the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics (1955), the Physico-Technical Institute of Low Temperatures (1960), and the Donetsk Institute of Physics and Technology (1965). In its turn, the Institute of Radioastronomy was created in 1982 as an offshoot of the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics.[Top][Bottom]
IV.2 Laboratory N1 (Nuclear Physics)
In the post war years, at the proposition of I. Kurchatov, KIPT was co-opted into solving problems of the Soviet atomic project. On the grounds of the Institute, the Laboratory "N1" headed by Synelnykov was formed, the purpose of which was to facilitate the construction of the atomic bomb. In Moscow, Laboratory "N2", which was to become the Institute of Atomic Energy was headed by Kurchatov. KIPT was chosen because of its achievements in nuclear research during the prewar period. The Kharkiv scientists, F. Lange, Volodymyr Shpinel and Viktor Maslov, still before the war, submitted a report to Soviet authorities dealing with the discovery of nuclear fission, and with the possibility of building an atomic bomb. Initially, they were rebuffed on account of the presumed "unreality" of the discovery, but in 1946 recognition was granted.
The main task of the institute was to measure the fission cross sections of the uranium isotopes, scattering and absorption cross sections of neutrons and the choice of the material for the covering shield of the atomic bomb -- the problem of "albedo". The Institute also became an important center for vacuum technology and for fabrication of powerful vacuum pumps. An intensive study of the properties of materials of the atomic age -- uranium, plutonium, beryllium and others -- was initiated. Theoreticians tackled the problems of nuclear structure and stability.
When the concept of the hydrogen bomb emerged in about 1947, it became clear that the only place in the USSR where the cross sections of the pertinent nuclear reactions could be measured was Laboratory N1, because upon resumption of research after W.W.II its scientists succeeded in starting up the large Van de Graaff generator in record time and adapted it for the acceleration of protons and deuterons. In conjunction with the applied studies on atomic weapons, fundamental research in nuclear physics was carried out at KIPT at full speed. A series of electrostatic accelerators and an electrostatic recharge generator were constructed and used for nuclear spectroscopy.
At the beginning of the 1950's, a series of linear electron accelerators, at energies of 0.7, 3.5, 30 and 90 MeV, were constructed at KIPT. In 1966, the latest of these accelerators operated at an energy of 2 GeV. To this day, this is the most powerful linear electron accelerator in Europe. As it came on line, experimental high energy research on elementary particles commenced.
In Kyiv, nuclear research started immediately after the war. Its initiator was O. Leipunsky, who was appointed director of the Institute of Physics. Under his direction, the interaction of nuclei with neutrons from a radon-beryllium source was studied. Starting in 1953, a 120 cm cyclotron ("U-120") -- capable of accelerating protons, deuterons and alpha particles -- and several electrostatic generators, were built. In 1960, the nuclear research reactor VVR-M at a thermal power of 10 MW was a major addition to the Institute's research armamentarium.
In 1970, a new Institute of Nuclear Research was created from the nuclear research departments of the Institute of Physics. At the present time, the primary instrument of this Institute is the 240 cm isochronic cyclotron ("U-240"), which accelerates protons and heavy ions to energies of 70 MeV per charge. The main areas of research of this Institute are neutron physics, nuclear reaction mechanisms, nuclear spectroscopy, the nuclear few-body problem, and nuclear structure.[Top][Bottom]
IV.3 Theoretical Physics
After the war, the theoretical schools at KIPT and University of Kharkiv, headed by Oleksandr Akhiezer and Illya Lifshitz, renewed their activity. Akhiezer and Lifshits, and their students, lectured at the University and were able to choose the most talented youth for advanced work at KIPT. Many of their students have since made substantial contributions to science.
The theoreticians of Kharkiv were pivotal in such programs as the creation of a complex of linear accelerators, development of radiophysics and radio-technology, research in nuclear physics, quantum electro- and chromodynamics, physics of elementary particles and quantum fields, research in plasma physics and controlled thermonuclear fusion. The achievements of the Kharkiv theoretical school include the following:
- development of the electron theory of metals in normal and superconducting states;
- creation of the fields of plasma electronics and the physics of beams;
- substantial progress in applying Bogoliubov methods of quantum statistics to systems with spontaneous breaking of symmetry;
- advances in the theory of magnetism;
- elaboration of the theory of dislocation and plastic deformation of solids;
- new results for kinetic non-equilibrium systems;
- breakthroughs in elementary excitations in disordered systems; and
- theory of amorphous solids.
Without hesitation, we rate Kharkiv in second only to Moscow, as a center of theoretical physics in the former USSR, while Kyiv would place in the top five.
The Kyiv school of theoretical physics, was founded by Mykola Bogoliubov. Although Bogoliubov transferred to Moscow, many of his students remain in Kyiv, mainly at the Institute of Mathematics, at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, and at the University. The Institute of Theoretical Physics, established in Kyiv in 1966, of which Bogoliubov was director until 1972, is now named after him. At present the Institute is headed by Academician Oleksij Sytenko. A branch of the Institute of Theoretical Physics was opened in Lviv under the leadership of Academician Ihor Yukhnovsky; recently it has been transformed into an independent institute which focuses on condensed matter research.
Today, over 500 theoretical physicists are working in Ukraine. Theoretical physics has played and continues to play a leading role in the scientific progress of Ukraine. In the complex scientific and technical programs, theoreticians help to establish guidelines and often assume leadership roles in scientific projects. The dissemination of knowledge in physics through colloquia, seminars, workshops and university lectures is, to a large extent, performed by theoretical physicists. Many leaders of science at the national level have emerged from the ranks of theoreticians. Thus, the vice-president of the UkrAS, theoretical physicist Viktor Bar'yakhtar heads the Ukrainian Physical Society, and Academician Ihor Yukhnovsky is a dynamic politician and national activist.
There are two crucial impediments to the rapid development of theoretical physics in Ukraine: insufficient computerization and relatively weak scientific contacts with the outside world. Further detrimental factors in the development of theoretical physics are difficulties encountered in experimental research due to lack of state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. A more active participation in international scientific programs and projects would reinvigorate the development of theoretical physics in Ukraine, but the dearth of hard currency makes foreign travel next to impossible.[Top][Bottom]
IV.4 Plasma Physics
After the creation of thermonuclear weapons, the idea of controlled nuclear fusion became a paramount goal. This idea appeared both in the West and in the USSR, and both sides started work on experimental thermonuclear reactors. The first phase of research was centered on pinches with open and closed toroidal geometries. Yet the hopes for early success were quickly dashed. Perhaps that is why the famous speech by Kurchatov to the Parliament of England in 1956 received an immediate response, inasmuch as shortly thereafter active international collaboration was established in this field.
In 1957, Synelnykov, with the support of Kurchatov, organized an experimental department of plasma physics at KIPT, where the theta-pinch, confinement, heating, turbulent states, and nonlinear dynamics of plasmas in vessels were studied and devices of most varied types were modeled. The study of plasma physics in Ukraine was built on a very solid theoretical foundation. Already in 1936, Landau took the first steps toward describing a plasma. In 1946, Bogoliubov created a general and effective method for the kinetic description of plasma. In 1949, Akhiezer and Fainberg, independently of American physicists David Bohm and E.P. Gross, predicted the phenomenon of beam instabilities. This work eventually played a decisive role in the development of plasma electronics and the physics of beams.
As for closed plasma configurations, KIPT committed itself to stellarators. The first version of the stellarator was proposed in the USA by Lyman Spitzer, but because of the so-called anomalous Bohm diffusion, American scientists at the Princeton Plasma Laboratory desisted from the stellarator program, giving priority to Tokamaks. In Kharkiv however, under the leadership of Volodymyr Tolok, the first of the family of stellarators "Uragan" was built. Kharkiv theoretician Viktor Aleksin proposed an original and promising modification of the stellarator - the torsatron. This variant of the closed configuration is presently being utilized, not only in Kharkiv, but also in France and the USA. At KIPT, under the direction of Oleh Pavlychenko, a new variant of the stellarator "Uragan 2M" is presently being completed. Even though the plasma parameters presently obtained in stellarators are significantly lower than in tokamaks, these devices occupy an important place in the research toward mastering controlled thermonuclear fusion. Economic stagnation in the USSR economy during the last 20 years did not allow the construction of new, large and powerful plasma devices. The high costs of building large closed plasma devices led to the joining of efforts of scientists in the developed countries. Ukrainian scientists are taking an active part in these programs.[Top][Bottom]
IV.5 Metal Physics and Materials Research
The numbers alone of specialized research institutes formed by the UkrAS in the postwar years indicate the extent of commitment to materials science in Ukraine. Just in Kyiv there are:
- Institute of Metal Physics;
- Institute of Semiconductors;
- Institute for Problems of Strength of Materials;
- Institute for Problems in Materials Science; and
- Institute of Super-Hard Materials.
While the scope of this paper does not permit us to go into detail, we note that significant results were achieved in areas of:
- atomic and electronic structure of materials;
- the establishment of the laws of formation and transformation of materials;
- understanding of the mechanisms influencing external stresses;
- thermomechanical treatments; and
- the study of new materials.
The physicists of Ukraine possess world class expertise on the structure, properties, and kinetic transformation of metals and other materials. They have developed new technologies and applied them to new materials with properties required by industry and agriculture. Ukraine has traditionally claimed a strong position in metal physics and materials science and, despite overwhelming difficulties, continues to hold its own in these fields.[Top][Bottom]
IV.6 Effects of Radiation on Materials
Not long after the beginning of exploitation of atomic reactors, physicists, metallurgists, specialists in strength and plasticity, from all corners of Ukraine, joined forces in attacking various problems of nuclear materials. From the late 60s and beginning of 70s, KIPT played a key role in dealing with problems of irradiated materials, not only in Ukraine, but for all of the USSR. Combining old scientific traditions and available resources, significant progress was made in the theory and experimental research on irradiated solids. At KIPT, in particular, advances in vacuum technology and the availability of a number of accelerators for irradiation promptly led to a detailed appreciation of radiation damage in materials. Academician Viktor Ivanov, and after his death, Academician Viktor Zelensky, headed the Coordinating Council for the Ministry of Middle Machine Building in the USSR, which funded this research. Today, the level of knowledge of the kinetic processes on the atomic level in irradiated materials has advanced to the point of permitting the creation of a new generation of materials for construction of reactors. Ukrainian physicists and engineers are supporting the establishment of international collaboration in this field. Because the problem of liquidating the sequelae of the Chornobyl disaster puts an inordinate strain on available resources, research programs on reactor materials have been severely curtailed, not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries of the former USSR. Even so, the liquidation task outstrips the capability of Ukraine and therefore active participation of physicists and ecologists from abroad is indispensable in encouraging their governments to participate in the Chornobyl programs. The president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, appealed to the governments of the nations of Europe and America to establish an international Chornobyl foundation to direct and support the necessary medical and technological efforts. It is obviously in the self-interest of all countries to make sure that the new Chornobyl sarcophagus project gets implemented at the earliest possible date.
A problem of equal urgency is to raise significantly the reliability and safety of the operating atomic reactors. Ukraine is in no position to abandon atomic energy anytime soon: almost one-third of the electricity in Ukraine today is produced by nuclear reactors. Thus it is imperative to design and build a new generation of power stations and to extend the operating lifetime of the existing ones. Under this scenario, the need for creation and development of new reactor materials will remain acute. One should expect a more active participation of physicists and nations of the East and West in solving these problems of general human significance.[Top][Bottom]
IV.7 Radiophysics and Emission Electronics
The development of radiophysics proceeded in tandem with the solving of defense radar problems. Generation of electromagnetic waves over a wide range of wavelengths, from meters to sub-millimeters, was achieved. From 1955, this work was carried out at the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics, initially headed by Academician Oleksandr Usikov and, later and to this day, Academician Viktor Shestopalov. The creation of powerful generators in the millimeter region, both impulsive and continuous, and of diffraction radiation generators in the sub-millimeter region, is of particular note. Radiophysical methods were refined and various radiophysical devices developed. Among the latest areas of investigation are the following:
- broadening of waves in various media, including atmospheric layers;
- plasma diagnostics;
- understanding the dynamics of ocean waves;
- dispersion of radio waves;
- generation of ultrasound from electromagnetic waves;
- imaging and recognition of details on the surface of the earth;
- radio-technical instrumentation for space devices; and
- several others.
Radio astronomical research, based on the utilization of powerful radio telescopes in the decameter wavelength region, was carried out, starting in 1956, at the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics. With the growth of the scope of that research, a separate Institute of Radioastronomy of the UkrAs was formed in 1982. Under the aegis of this Institute, a powerful system with a wide baseline, UkrRAS (Ukrainian Radiointerferometer of the Academy of Sciences), was erected for radioastronomical research.
Among other centers contributing to the development of Radiophysics in Ukraine, we would like to single out the Department of Radiophysics of the University of Kyiv, where important properties of parametric instabilities of spin waves were discovered, and fundamentally new methods for generation of waves were developed.
Emission electronics and the creation of various diagnostic devices was pursued in Kyiv at the Institute of Physics, Institute of Metal Physics, and at the University of Kyiv. Already, in the 1930s, detailed data on electron data on electron and ion emission from various materials were obtained. Methods were developed and devices created to determine physical properties of surfaces of solids, their atomic structure, adsorption phenomena, and excited states. Surface physics had an early start in Ukraine.[Top][Bottom]
IV.8 Optical Quantum Electronics and Nonlinear Optics
In Ukraine, research in quantum electronics began at the Institute of Physics of the UkrAs during the 1960s, along with the development of laser technology. Here, the first work in the USSR was carried out on the creation of tunable lasers. Already, in 1962, it was shown that organic compounds, the luminescent spectra of which cover the whole optical wavelength region may, in principle, be used to effect a gradual change of frequency of stimulated radiation. This line of research soon culminated in the creation of solid state and gaseous lasers with variable frequency, the first such in the USSR.
The study of nonlinear optical phenomena, which opens new avenues for nonlinear generation and transformation of waves, was actively pursued at the Institute of Physics in Kyiv, under the direction of Mykhailo Brodyn. In 1963, the study of the effect of laser beams on semiconductors and dielectric crystals was begun. This work was broadened to study nonlinear phenomena in gaseous media. As a result:
- nonlinear optical properties were determined in detail;
- peculiarities of a number of nonlinear phenomena that depend on the atomic and electronic structure of the materials were elucidated;
- spectra of elementary excitations and dependence on external conditions were investigated.
These results were utilized for control of radiation spectra, for alteration of frequency and polarization, and for improvement of instrumentation.
IV.9 Low Temperature Physics
In solids and quantum gases at low temperatures, the quantum nature becomes apparent, not only in microscopic, but even in mezoscopic and macroscopic objects. The wealth of concomitant thermal, kinetic, and dynamic phenomena has led to the establishment of a separate field of low temperature physics. As we already mentioned, low temperature research was begun at the KIPT in the early 1930s, under Lev Shubnikov, and then under Academician Borys Lazarev. This research significantly broadened after W.W.II, particularly after the formation in Kharkiv of the Physico-Technical Institute of Low Temperatures headed by Borys Verkin, and the emergence of specialized laboratories in Kyiv, Donetsk and other places.
A wide range of research was carried out in determining the properties of cryocrystals, the phenomena of superconductivity, quantum diffusion, thermal and mechanical properties of condensed matter. At present, perhaps the most important object of research here is high temperature superconductivity, which has become physics problem number one in current solid state physics.[Top][Bottom]
V. Reflections on the Present
The end of the cold war put Ukraine on a firm path towards a status of an independent, democratic and, eventually, non-nuclear country. The inherited economic problems and extraordinary difficulties in converting defense industries to civilian needs had an immediate deleterious effect on the financing of a significant fraction of both fundamental and applied physics programs. The Chornobyl catastrophe resulted in a retrenchment in radiation physics and reactor materials science. At the same time, drastic reduction in effective funding, the low level of computer technology, and antiquated research equipment, cause a progressive decline in scientific programs in all other fields. This, along with a general economic decline of a country in the throes of nation building, has led to a discernible departure of better scientific personnel to foreign countries. All this leads, if not to pessimism, then to deep concern for the preservation and development of the scientific potential of Ukraine. Under these circumstances, physicists must define priorities for research and make them compatible with the immediate needs of the country and society. They must take part in the reorganization of scientific research and of its financing and, in parallel, assure the preparation of a new generation of physicists. Effective and extensive contacts with the physicists in the rest of the world and the preservation of close ties with the physicists of the Russian Federation and of the other countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) are of prime importance for the renewal of a vigorous development of physics in Ukraine.
Direct involvement of physics societies and national institutions of foreign countries in programs and individual projects in Ukraine is particularly important. Thus far, the lion's share of such involvement has been directed at the Russian Federation. While we applaud all such efforts, we feel that assistance could be made more equitable by directing it also towards non-Russian physics communities in proportion to their promise of achievement based on prior performance. The first such aid for Ukrainian physicists was given by the American Physical Society through the Ukrainian Physical Society in the form of special grants. Not entering into details here (see Physics Today, May 1992 and December 1992), we will, nevertheless, express our conviction that, in the long run, such help will benefit not only the new democratic countries of the FSU, but the assisting countries as well. Extant today is a number of difficult scientific problems, the solution of which would benefit all humanity. Joint and coordinated efforts are much more likely to lead to an early solution of some of these problems. Physicists knew how to find a common language under conditions of the cold war conflict, so there is good reason to hope for cooperation during times of genuine friendship.
Oleksandr Bakai and Yurij Raniuk
Translated from Ukrainian by William W. Zuzak, Ph.D., CCFM, Varennes, Quebec, Canada; May 1993 (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Edited by Oleksa Bilaniuk, Swarthmore College (email@example.com)
George Gamota, MITRE Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org)
About the Authors
Oleksandr Stepanovych Bakai is head of the Theoretical Division of the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology and is a member of the Ukrainian and American Physical Societies.
Yurij Mykailovych Raniuk heads a Laboratory at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology. He is a member of the Ukrainian and American Physical Societies and an active member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society.
Office addresses for both authors:
Prof. Yurij M. Raniuk and/or Prof. Oleksandr S. Bakai
Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology
Academichna St., 1
310108, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Fax: 7-0572-351-738 Telephone: 7-0572-356-648
Telex: 311052 DEKAN SU