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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Julius Borisovich Khariton

Julius Borisovich KharitonJulius Borisovich Khariton, a physicist, was one of the leaders of the Soviet atomic project, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1953). In 1939-1941, together with Ya. B. Zeldovich, he calculated the chain reaction of fission in uranium. Since 1945 - scientific adviser of KB-11. In 1945-1953 - Member of the Technical Council of the Special Committee and Scientific and Technical Council of PSU under the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1949, 1951, 1954). Laureate of the Lenin (1956) and three State (1949, 1951, 1953) awards of the USSR.

Julius Borisovich Khariton was born on February 14 (February 27 according to a new style) in St. Petersburg in 1904 in the family of journalist Boris Iosifovich Khariton and the Moscow Art Theater artist Mirra Yakovlevna Burovskaya. In addition to him, the family had two daughters: Lydia (born in 1899) and Anna (born in 1901).

In 1915, Julia was determined in a real school, the course of which he completes in 1919. Since he was accepted to higher education from the age of 16, he had to work for a year as a mechanical student in a railway telegraph workshop. In 1920, at the age of 16, Yuli Borisovich entered the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. Here he listened to lectures by the patriarch of Russian physics A.F. Ioffe , which aroused a young student's interest in physics. A year after the start of studies, Yu.B. Khariton moved from Electromechanical to the Faculty of Physics and Mechanics, which he graduated in 1925 with a diploma in physical engineering.

While still a student, Julius Borisovich since 1921 at the invitation of N.N. Semenov began to work in his laboratory created at the Physico-Technical Institute, whose director was AF Joffe . In this laboratory, Julius Borisovich completed his first research. His first works (1924) were the determination of the critical temperature of condensation of metallic vapors and joint with N.N. Semenovand A.I. Shalnikov studies the interaction of molecules with the surface of solids. In 1925, "The Problem in Physics," written by A.F. Walther, V.I. Kondratiev and Yu.B. Khariton, when they were still students. The booklet was well-deservedly popular among physics students of several generations. At the age of 20, Yu.B. Khariton together with Z.F. Valtoy performed and published the scientific work Oxidation of Phosphorus Vapors at Low Pressures, in which he first experimentally showed the existence of branched chain chemical reactions using phosphorus oxidation as an example. The discovery of this phenomenon in the future was a solid foundation created by N.N. Semenovthe theory of branching chain reactions, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1956. At his monograph "Chain reactions", published in 1934, N.N. Semenov made the inscription:. "Dear Khariton, who first pushed my idea to chain reactions"

In 1926, Khariton was sent for two years on a scientific mission to England to the famous Cavendish Laboratory. Here, under the leadership of Rutherford and Chadwick, he performed work on the method of registering alpha particles, and in 1928 he defended his thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Returning to Russia, Khariton spent 10 years teaching at the Polytechnic Institute, and also resumed work under the guidance of N.N. Semenovphysical and chemical sector of the Physicotechnical Institute. He consciously and purposefully chooses a new direction for his future activities. In 1931, the physico-chemical sector was transformed into the Institute of Chemical Physics, where Khariton organized and headed the Laboratory of Explosives (BB), which soon became a recognized school of explosion physics.

Before the war, Khariton began research on the chain fission of uranium. In 1939, an article by Yu.B. Khariton and Ya.B. Zeldovich "On the main chain decay of uranium isotopes," and prepared an article "On the chain of uranium decay under the interaction of slow neutrons." The main conclusion from these works was the need to enrich uranium with a light isotope for the implementation of a nuclear chain reaction. When conducting research on the fission of uranium nuclei, Julius Borisovich actively communicated with I.V. Kurchatov and in 1940 entered the "uranium committee" of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

During the Great Patriotic War, Khariton, using the experience and knowledge of explosion physics, conducted extensive experimental and theoretical work on the substantiation of new types of weapons of the Red Army and the study of new types of enemy weapons, as well as on surrogate explosives, continuing to lead the department of theory of explosives at the Institute of Chemical Physics.

In 1943, I.V. Kurchatov , who headed the USSR atomic project attracted Khariton to develop atomic weapons and enroll in the Laboratory number 2 of the USSR. The choice of I.V.Kurchatov was conscious and clear - to attract a leader of Russian science by chain reactions to the realization of a chain reaction of a nuclear explosion.

In May 1945, the USSR, together with its allies (USA, England and France) completed the defeat of Germany and celebrated the Victory. Yu.B. Khariton was included in the group of physicists to clarify the state of German research on nuclear weapons, which flew to Berlin in May. One of the significant results was discovered by Yu.B. Khariton and I.K. Kikoin about a hundred tons of uranium oxide. Team Leader A.P. Zavenyagin organized the shipment of uranium oxide in Moscow. I.V. Kurchatov said that the uranium found in Germany about a year cut launch commercial reactor in the Urals to produce plutonium.

On August 20, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the State Defense Committee adopted a resolution on the creation of a Special Committee (chairman - L.P. Beria ), endowed with extraordinary powers, who was to lead the leadership to solve the problem. To consider scientific and technical issues on the atomic problem, a Technical Council was created under the Special Committee. As members of the council, I.V. Kurchatov and Yu B Khariton.

In 1946, a decree of the USSR Council of Ministers for the direct creation of an atomic bomb organized a branch of laboratory No. 2 the design bureau (KB-11). The country's leadership appoints Yu.B.Khariton to be the chief designer of the atomic bomb, and then the scientific director of nuclear charges and nuclear weapons.

From this moment, the life and work of Yu.B. Khariton was inextricably linked with overcoming the US nuclear monopoly, creating our atomic bomb, and then developing and improving domestic nuclear weapons. It was a tremendous work in its scale, in developing the many scientific and technical fields of knowledge that make up nuclear weapons technology, and in its military-political significance.

That's how Yu.B. Khariton describes the entry of our country into the atomic era: I am amazed and bow to what was done by our people in 1946-1949. It was not easy later. But this period of tension, heroism, creative take-off and dedication was beyond description. Only a strong-willed people after such incredibly difficult trials could do something completely out of the ordinary: a half-starved and just emerging from a devastating war country in a few years developed and implemented the latest technologies, launched the production of uranium, ultrapure graphite, plutonium, heavy water ... "

At the post of scientific adviser of VNIIEF Yu.B. Khariton remained for 46 years, until 1992, when he became an Honorary Scientific Director of VNIIEF. The exceptional talent of the scientist and organizer of science allowed Khariton to successfully lead the main directions of the scientific and design work of the institute. In terms of ability to work and endurance, he had no equal, as in creative longevity. For almost half a century, he served as chairman of the Minatom Scientific and Technical Council on Nuclear Weapons.

Julius Borisovich Khariton Using enormous influence and possessing an amazing gift to understand details in any scientific and technical issues, he, with an abundance of proposals and points of view of individual scientists and institutes, was able to choose the most valuable ideas and translate them into new outstanding designs. When disagreements arose between institutes, Yu.B. Khariton always sought to understand in detail their causes and the essence of new proposals and ideas. Thanks to his skillful leadership and the highest personal authority, he managed to find optimal solutions.

A lot of brilliant scientists and leaders took part in the domestic Atomic project. But among these prominent people, Julius Borisovich was a phenomenon. Its uniqueness consisted in the fact that he was not only a theoretical physicist, but also an outstanding experimenter, design engineer, creator of a system for the production, operation and testing of nuclear weapons.

He assumed responsibility for not only everything related to the development of nuclear weapons and their continuous progress, but also for the safety of production, testing and operation of these weapons, which have no analogues in the destructive power.

Yu.B. Khariton was the first to formulate requirements for the safety of nuclear weapons, he spoke about the inadmissibility of a nuclear explosion in all random situations in which nuclear weapons could be. Thanks to his exactingness, we still had no breakdowns, failures and escaped accidents with nuclear weapons.

He was the creator of the history of not only the nuclear weapons of our country, but also many human destinies, devoting his life to science, which saved the world from a war terrible in its consequences. His exceptional activities and creative achievements amaze and amaze. Yu.B. Khariton was the creator of a number of scientific schools in the most diverse areas of physics and technology. Among his students are outstanding scientists.

All the leaders of our state from Stalin to Yeltsin listened to the quiet voice of this man. And the fact that Minatom / Rosatom - the only one of the giants of the domestic defense industry has survived and continues to exist was largely due to its merit.

The country praised the activities of Yu.B. Khariton. He was the Thrice Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of the Lenin and State Prizes, was awarded six Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star, the October Revolution, the Red Banner of Labor, the medal "For the Defense of Leningrad", a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1953, was awarded the highest awards of the Russian Academy of Sciences - Gold medals to them. M.V. Lomonosov and I.V. Kurchatov .

Y.B. Khariton died December 18, 1996. At the end of his life's journey, Yuli Borisovich Khariton felt with particular acuteness his responsibility as a scientist and person, for the future of mankind. His testament was the words: "Striving for the best, do not do the worst."

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