Artem AlikhanianThursday, May 9, 2019
was a Soviet Armenian physicist, one of the founders and first director of the Yerevan Physics Institute, a correspondent member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946), academic of the Armenian Academy of Sciences. With Pyotr Kapitsa, Lev Landau, Igor Kurchatov, Abraham Alikhanovand others, he laid the foundations of nuclear physics in the Soviet Union. He is known as the "father of Armenian physics".
Alikhanyan's works are dedicated to nuclear physics, cosmic rays and elementary particle physics, accelerator physics and technology. Among with his co-workers- Alikhanov, Lev Artsimovich and others, he:
- discovered the production of electron-positron pairs by internal energy conversion (1934),
- experimentally confirmed energy conservation in positron annihilation (1936),
- conducted precision measurements on the data spectra of a large number of radioactive elements and discovered the dependence of spectral shape on the atomic number,
- proposed the experimental method to prove the existence of neutrinos through nuclear recoil in electron capture in 7Be,
- discovered streams of fast protons in the cosmic rays, the intense productions of protons by fast neutrons, the so-called narrow shower, and the first hints of particles with masses ranging between those of the muon and the proton,
- contributed to the development of methods for the detection of high-energy particles, in particular the Alikhanian-Alikhanov mass spectrometer, wide-gap spark chambers, and X-ray transition radiation detectors.
In 1963 he introduced the idea of creating a spark chamber where the gap between plates was wide enough to be able to observe spark trails of up to 20 cm. This invention was considered one of the major milestones in the history of the Spark Chamber.
He led the construction of 6 GeV Armenian electron synchrotron (Yerevan). Alikhanian was also an experienced educator. From 1961 to 1975 he organized the world-renowned annual International Schools of High Energy Physics at Nor-Amberd, with participation of many academics and Nobel Prize laureates. According to Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky and R. Wilson, Alikhanian made "very important contributions to science, in particular, in the use of transition radiation as an important tool in particle detection and identification".