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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov

Andrei Dmitrievich SakharovAndrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, a physicist, was one of the founders of the creation of thermonuclear weapons. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953). Three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1954, 1956, 1962). Laureate of the Lenin (1956) and State (1953) Prizes of the USSR. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1975).

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov was born on May 21, 1921 in Moscow in the family of a physics teacher. He went to school right away in the 7th grade, before that he studied with teachers at home and only at the end of the year passed school exams. He graduated with honors from the school in 1938 and at the same time entered the physics department of Moscow University, where he graduated with honors during the war, being evacuated to Ashgabat.

In the summer and autumn of 1942, the young physicist lived and worked in Kirov for several weeks, then on logging in the remote countryside near Melesk. In the autumn of that year, Andrei Dmitrievich was sent to a large military plant in Ulyanovsk as an engineer-inventor. Here he began his creative activity. While working at the plant, he became the author of a number of inventions in the field of product control, wrote several articles on theoretical physics and sent them to Moscow for feedback. In one of his works, he considered a chain reaction in uranium mixed with a moderator. In 1945, at the suggestion of I.E. Tamm A.D. Sakharov enrolled as a graduate student in the Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Lebedev (FI AN). In two years, he published several articles on completely different problems (pion generation in the collision of high-energy nucleons, optical determination of the temperature of a gas discharge, etc.). These were already mature works, on the basis of which he defended his thesis in 1947.

In 1948, I.E. Tamm included him in a research group created from members of the theoretical department of the Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences for the development of thermonuclear weapons. The leader of the group was academician I.E. Tamm. The theoretical ideas put forward by them translated the problem onto a realistic basis. And soon, as part of the theoretical calculation group, headed by I.E. Tamm , Sakharov began working at KB-11. Initially, he was the head of the laboratory, then the head of the sector (department), deputy scientific adviser.

In the fall of 1948 A.D.Sakharov, independently of E. Teller, comes up with the idea of a heterogeneous scheme with alternating layers of deuterium and U-238, i.e. to a scheme similar to the “alarm clock” scheme. The principle of ionization compression of thermonuclear fuel underlying it is called “saccharization” (“first idea”) [a play on the meaning of Sakharov, which translates as "sugar"]. At the end of 1948 V.L. Ginzburg proposed the use of Li6D deuteride (the “second idea”) as a thermonuclear fuel.

At the direction of B.L. Vannikov on May 8, 1949, Yu.B. Khariton prepared a conclusion on the proposal of I.E. Tamm, noting that the main idea of the proposal of A.D.Sakharova was “extremely witty and physically visual”, supported the work on “puff”. Since that time, work on the hydrogen bomb in the USSR has actually passed in two different directions: a group led by Ya.B. Zeldovich, still considered the possibility of nuclear detonation in deuterium, group I.E. Tamm began to study systems with layers of uranium and thermonuclear fuel. The Super type hydrogen bomb received the RDS-6t index, and the layered configuration hydrogen bomb received the RDS-6s index.

The idea of “puff” and the idea of using lithium-6 deuteride are the “first” and “second” ideas in the terminology of “Memoirs” A.D. Sakharov, and these were the key ideas that later became the basis for the development of the first Soviet hydrogen bomb RDS-6s. However, despite the clarity of the initial physical ideas of the “puff” formulated in 1948, the way to create a realistic design based on them was not easy.

The task of creating a hydrogen bomb posed before I.E. Tamm , was not only complex in technical and production terms, it required a fundamental solution to many purely scientific issues. A.D. Sakharov expressed fundamental ideas that determined the future course of events. The design of alternating layers he proposed quickly began to take on real shape. The result of the activities of A.D. Sakharov and his group began the explosion of a hydrogen bomb at the Semipalatinsk test site in August 1953. After the test A.D. Sakharov began to be called the "father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb." He conducted a number of important studies and became one of the initiators of work on the study of controlled thermonuclear reaction, experimental work on the creation of explosive magnetic generators.

In 1953 A.D. Sakharov was elected a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, he was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor with the awarding of the Order of Lenin, and the Stalin Prize was awarded. Continuing to work on improving hydrogen weapons, in 1954 he put forward the idea of constructing a hydrogen bomb on a completely new principle. The successful test in 1955 completed the stage of development of the fundamentals of thermonuclear weapons. In subsequent years, under the guidance of A.D. Sakharov created a series of hydrogen charges of various capacities for many classes of carriers (ballistic, cruise and anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes, etc.).

In the 1950s, deeply preoccupied with the problem of nuclear testing, he began an active struggle for their prohibition or limitation.

Studying the problems of the influence of radiation on heredity, A.D. Sakharov understood the perniciousness of Lysenko’s prohibitions on the study of the laws of genetics. At the general meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1964, a physicist, supported by I.E. Tamm and a number of other academicians opposed the election of Nuzhdin, who was an ally of Lysenko, all-powerful at that time, and achieved his goal. In 1965, academicians A.D. Sakharov and M.A. Leontovich appealed to the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences with a letter against “Lysenkoism,” which counteracted the development of genetics.

A.D. Sakharov paid much attention to the scientific growth of youth, held seminars where new ideas and problems were discussed.

In 1953-1968 socio-political views of A.D. Sakharov had undergone a great evolution. Participation in the development of thermonuclear weapons and their tests "were accompanied by an increasingly keen awareness of the moral problems generated by this" (AD Sakharov). Since 1964, the circle of concern for A.D. Sakharov’s issues expanded more and more. In 1965, he published his first work on cosmology, was engaged in theoretical problems of elementary particle physics, cosmology and gravity.

In 1968, an article by Sakharov “Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom” appeared, for which he was removed from secret work. In 1969, Andrei Dmitrievich returned to the FI AN as a senior researcher at the Department of Theoretical Physics. In March 1971 A.D. Sakharov directed "Memorial Note" to L.I. Brezhnev. After 15 months, having received no response, Sakharov handed it over for publication, supplementing it with an “Afterword”.

In 1969 A.D. Sakharov transferred almost all of his savings to the construction of an oncological hospital and to the Red Cross. In 1966 A.D. Sakharov took part in a collective letter to the 23rd Congress of the CPSU against the revival of the Stalin personality cult. In the same year, he sent a telegram to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR against the introduction of Article 190 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, which opened up the possibility of prosecution for convictions. He advocated the abolition of the death penalty, for the full rehabilitation of the peoples who were deported during the years of "Stalinism."

In 1974, A.D. Sakharov received the international Chinodel Duc Award. This money was used to establish a fund to help children of political prisoners.

Open persecution of A.D. Sakharov began with a letter from forty academicians published in Pravda in August 1973, and lasted more than a decade. But they did not break his spirit and faith. Andrei Dmitrievich continued to speak both in writing and verbally, upholding universal values, protecting the rights of specific citizens. In 1980, A.D. Sakharov was stripped of all government awards.

Soon after the introduction of Soviet troops into Afghanistan at the end of December 1979, the voice of protest fearlessly sounded in the country: he made three statements, organized a press conference where he condemned this action and called on Soviet leaders to return troops to their territory.

In 1979 A.D. Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Prize.

He was detained on January 22, 1980, and then, without trial, was sent with his wife to Gorky, a city closed to foreigners. A 24-hour police post was installed at the apartment of the physicist and human rights activist, located on the ground floor. No one was allowed to the Sakharov without special permission. There was no telephone in the apartment. Outside the Sakharovs' house, guards accompanied them to ensure that they did not meet with anyone.

In Gorky A.D. Sakharov wrote one of his main public works, The Danger of Thermonuclear Warriors (1983), in which he expressed his thoughts on concrete ways of general disarmament, as well as a number of theoretical works in physics. Soon Sakharov was nominated as a candidate for people's deputies of the USSR from many dozens of organizations. However, he was not registered as a candidate at the expanded plenum of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Only after an active speech in support of A.D. Sakharov, a broad stratum of the scientific community, was reelected as a People's Deputy from the USSR Academy of Sciences in the repeated elections.

At the First Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR Andrei Dmitrievich was elected to the commission on the development of a new Constitution of the country. Immediately, he began work on the draft Constitution, embodying his ideas about the appropriate state and economic structure of the USSR. At the end of November A.D. Sakharov presented his draft Constitutional Commission.

December 14, 1989 was the last day of the life of Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov.

One of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century, he was the author of outstanding works in elementary particle physics and cosmology. He belongs to the basic idea of thermonuclear fusion. His idea of proton instability at first seemed unrealistic, but after a few years, world science proclaimed the search for proton decay to be an “experiment of the century”. He put forward original ideas in cosmology equally, daring to penetrate into the early history of the Universe.

The whole world knows A.D. Sakharov, as an outstanding public figure, a fearless fighter for human rights, for affirming on Earth the priority of universal human values. A lot of strength took away his political confrontation. A man of deep humanistic convictions, high moral principles, A.D. Sakharov has always remained sincere and honest.

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