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Abraham Isahakovich Alikhanov (Alikhanian, Armenian: Աբրահամ Իսահակի Ալիխանյան) (February 20, 1904 – December 8, 1970) was a Soviet Armenian nuclear physicist and academic of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was one of the leaders of the Soviet atomic project.[1][2] In 1945, he founded and became director of the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics. He is known as one of the fathers of Soviet particle physics.[3]

Abraham Alikhanov
Born(1904-02-20)February 20, 1904
DiedDecember 8, 1970(1970-12-08) (aged 66)
Alma materLeningrad Polytechnic Institute
Known forcreation of the first nuclear reactor in the USSR
AwardsHero of Socialist Labor (1954)
Stalin Prize (1941, 1948, 1953)
Scientific career
FieldsParticle physics
InstitutionsInstitute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics


He was born on February 20, 1904, in the Elisabethpol Governorate of the Russian Empire (now Ganja, Azerbaijan), to an Armenian family. His father was a train driver.[4] In 1928 he graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. It was at that time that he russified his name from Alikhanian to Alikhanov.[5] His younger brother, Artem Alikhanian, also became a physicist. In 1941 they were awarded the Stalin Prize.

He died in Moscow on December 8, 1970, at the age of 66 and was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.

Scientific careerEdit

From 1927 to 1941 Alikhanov worked at the Ioffe Institute. He then took part in creation of the first Soviet cyclotron (under the guidance of Vitaly Khlopin [ru] and jointly with Igor Kurchatov and George Gamov). In 1934, Alikhanov began research on radioactivity and radioactive radiation. In 1934, with A. I. Alikhanian and. M. S. Kozodaev, he discovered and studied the phenomenon of the emission of electron-positron pairs by excited nuclei. In 1935, with Alikhanian, he established the dependence of β-spectra on the atomic number of an element. In 1936, working with Alikhanian and L. A. Artsimovich, he experimentally corroborated the law of conservation of momentum in pair annihilation. The research initiated by Alikhanov, Alikhanian, and S. Ia. Nikitin led to the discovery in 1939 of a stream of fast protons in cosmic rays. In 1949 Alikhanov founded the first nuclear reactor in the USSR. In 1961, with V. V. Vladimirskii and others, he built the first accelerator in the USSR with strong focusing and an energy of 7GeV (1 GeV = 1 billion eV). Under Alikhanov's direction, a plan was drawn up and construction begun on an accelerator with a capacity of 70GeV. He received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, 1948, and 1953. In 1954 he was designated a Hero of Socialist Labor. He was awarded two Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

On December 1, 1945, he organised the Soviet atomic project's Laboratory No. 3 in Moscow which later became the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics. He was the director of the institute until 1968.


  • A. P. Aleksandreov, B. V. Dzelepov. S. I. Nikitin and I. B. Kharition, “Pamiati Abrama Isaakovicha Alikhanova” (in memory of A. I. Alikhanov). in Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 112 no. 3 (1974), 725–727:
  • B. G. Gasparin. A. P. Grinberg, and V. J. Frenkel. A. I. Alikhanov v Fiziko-tekhnicheskon institute (A. I. Alikhanov in the physical-Technical Institute:Leningrad, 1986):
  • A. P. Grinberg, “Gipoteza neitrino i novie podtverzhdaiushchii ee dannie” (Neutrino hypothesis and the new data that confirm it), in Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk, 26, no. 2 (1944). 189: and “Positive Electrons from Lead Ejected by y-Rays.” in Nature, 133 (1934), 581.


  • Armenian Concise Encyclopedia, Ed. by acad. K. Khudaverdian, Yerevan, 1990, Vol. 1, p. 90-91


  1. ^ Алиханов
  2. ^ Red Atom: Russia's Nuclear Power Program from Stalin to Today, University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2005, P. 16
  3. ^ [1] At the Frontier of Particle Physics: Handbook of QCD : Boris Ioffe, Volume 1 edited by Mikhail A. Shifman , p. 7
  4. ^ Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present: A-C - Page 27, by Brigham Narins, 2001
  5. ^ Abraham Alikhanov

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