Kirill Ivanovich Shchelkin
Kirill Ivanovich Shchelkin, a physicist, was a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1953). Since 1947, a member of the atomic project. From 1955 to 1960 - ch. designer and supervisor of research institute 1011. Three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1949, 1951, 1953). Laureate of the Lenin (1958) and three State (1949, 1951, 1953) awards of the USSR.
Kirill Ivanovich Shchelkin was born on May 17, 1911 in Tbilisi in the family of a surveyor. His childhood passed in the Caucasus. In 1924, due to his father’s illness, the family moved to the Crimea, to the city of Karasubazar (now Belogorsk). In 1926, his father died, and 15-year-old Cyril, in parallel with his studies at the school, was also forced to work to support his family.
In 1928, Kirill Shchelkin entered the Physics and Technology Department of the Crimean Pedagogical Institute, where he successfully completed his studies in 1932. The scientific career of Kirill Ivanovich began in Leningrad, as a laboratory assistant at the newly organized Institute of Chemical Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he was invited immediately after graduation. One of the research areas of this institute was the study of combustion processes in the application to two tasks, especially important at that time for the national economy. The first of them consisted of developing recommendations for preventing methane explosions in coal mines, the second - in suppressing the detonation of the fuel mixture in the working cylinders of internal combustion engines.
Already at the first stage of his work, the young specialist showed the ability to thoroughly carry out the assigned experimental work, the ability to independently analyze very complex combustion processes, and most importantly, the desire for a deep understanding of the processes that take place, for their theoretical understanding.
The young researcher quickly came to one of the mysterious problems of that time in gas combustion - spin detonation. Already in May 1934, he submitted to the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics the article “An Attempt to Calculate the Detonation Spin Frequency”, which attracted the attention of combustion specialists.
In his early works, Kirill Ivanovich drew attention to another effect that he considered important for the combustion of gas mixtures - the effect of uneven walls of gas-filled channels (mine workings) on the propagation rate of combustion. Using a series of witty experiments, he showed that the roughness of the walls leads to turbulence in the gas flow, to an increase in the velocity of flame propagation, and, ultimately, to an acceleration of the transition from combustion to detonation.
The works of this period formed the basis of the dissertation, which the young scientist successfully defended on December 19, 1938 at the age of 27 years. The decision of the Academic Council read: “The work of K.I. Shchelkina is a major step forward and shows that the dissertation not only showed high qualifications in the field of combustion and great experimental skill, but, putting forward an original and very well-founded theory of the occurrence of detonation, proved to be an established independent scientist. "
Having received a scientific degree, the young researcher did not rest on his laurels. For a direct study of the effect of flow turbulization on the burning rate, he proposed an original experiment, presenting this roughness in the form of a spiral placed inside a smooth channel. This led to a decrease in the length of the acceleration of detonation by more than ten times. The results and conclusions of his research, he published in the work "On the theory of the occurrence of detonation in gas mixtures", submitted to the Academy of Sciences. The results, which have now become classical, were not obvious to specialists of that time, as evidenced by the memoirs of academician Ya.B. Zeldovich, an internationally recognized authority in the theory of combustion and detonation. “We argued a lot with Kirill Ivanovich. I developed the theory of combustion, approaching it from the side of chemical kinetics complicated by heat generation, ”recalled Yakov Borisovich. - He focused on the influence of gas dynamics. And in this he found the correct answer to the question of the transition of slow combustion to detonation. The experience with the roughness of the pipe showed: Shchelkin had real scientific courage, which is necessary to move forward, to obtain outstanding results. ”
In the very first days of the war, he signed up as a volunteer and went to the front. Shchelkin participated in fierce battles on the outskirts of Moscow, in the decisive battle for Moscow. In January 1942, by order of the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense E.A. Schadenko was recalled from the army to continue his scientific work at the Institute of Chemical Physics, which was evacuated to Kazan. In those difficult war years, intensive research was conducted on various types of jet engines. Kirill Ivanovich focused on the processes taking place in the combustion chamber. From the experience of previous studies, he understood the important role of turbulent processes in increasing the intensity and efficiency of combustion. The introduction of these ideas significantly contributed to the development of domestic jet technology.
In the fall of 1943, the institute returned to Moscow. In 1944, K.I. Shchelkin is appointed head of the laboratory. In parallel with applied research, Kirill Ivanovich continued his scientific work, and on November 12, 1946 he successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on the subject of “Fast burning and spin detonation”. His scientific opponents on the defense were academicians L.D. Landau, B.S. Stechkin and S.A. Khristianovich. The high authority of these scientists confirms the value of the work of K.I. Shchelkina. Based on the thesis in 1949, he published a monograph under the same name.
Soon after defending his doctoral dissertation K.I. Shchelkin was invited to the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where its president S.I. Vavilov offered him the post of deputy director of the Institute of Physical Problems, but Kirill Ivanovich refused this flattering offer, motivating his refusal with a desire to engage in science. However, this invitation was for K.I. Shchelkina was a turning point: the former People's Commissar of Ammunition, a member of the Special Committee under the Council of Ministers of the USSR B.L. Vannikov. Recall that this committee was created in August 1945 to organize and accelerate the work "on the use of atomic energy", including the "development and production of the atomic bomb." Two months after this meeting, Kirill Ivanovich was appointed to the newly created nuclear center.
Already in April 1947, K.I. Shchelkin takes part in the meeting of the Special Committee, which, among others, discusses the creation of a test site - "Mountain Station". We note one symbolic coincidence: at the same meeting, a decision was made to organize the Institute “B” of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs Directorate on the basis of the “Sungul” sanatorium in the Chelyabinsk region, later known as Laboratory “B”. Eight years later, on the basis of this laboratory on the peninsula abutting Lake Sungul, the creation of the second nuclear weapons center began, in the organization and formation of which Kirill Ivanovich made an invaluable contribution.
The brilliant result of the efforts not only of the first Soviet nuclear weapons center, but of the entire young nuclear industry was the successful test of the first Soviet atomic bomb on August 29, 1949. It is K.I. Schelkin on this historic day at the Semipalatinsk test site put an initiating charge into the plutonium sphere of the first Soviet atomic device. In the list of those awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor was K.T. Shchelkin. Continuing the work begun with his characteristic dedication, he also made a significant contribution to the development and testing of the next uranium nuclear charge. For this work in 1951 he received the second star of the Hero of Socialist Labor.
The intensity of work in KB-11 and in the nuclear industry as a whole grew: on August 12, 1953, the first thermonuclear bomb was tested in the Soviet Union, and on November 22, 1955, the first Soviet superbomb, a cascade thermonuclear charge. American hopes for an increase in nuclear separation proved to be untenable. For his contribution to the development and testing of the first thermonuclear charge in December 1953, Kirill Ivanovich Shchelkin was awarded the third star of the Hero of Socialist Labor.
During his work at KB-11, Kirill Ivanovich’s talent as a scientist and organizer was fully manifested. He was distinguished by a depth of understanding of problems, a clear definition of tasks, the ability to work with people, the scale of thinking, and focus on the future. Even in Leningrad, he developed friendly relations with the supervisor of the Soviet nuclear project I.V. Kurchatov . Igor Vasilievich highly appreciated the energy, knowledge, experience and business qualities of Shchelkin. Kirill Ivanovich’s authority was high among industry leaders and academics. Therefore, when the task arose of creating another nuclear weapons center, K.I.Shchelkin was recommended for the position of its scientific supervisor and chief designer.
Kirill Ivanovich energetically took up the formation of a new institute. He determined the structure of the future center and its prospects. Many years later, at the opening of the memorial plaque dedicated to K.I. Shchelkin, the second scientific director of the Institute, academician E.I. Zababakhin said that the institution of his success owes much of the elaborate structure and the strategic development plan, which at its base has developed Kirill Ivanovich Shchelkin.
In September 1955, research teams began to arrive in the Urals. The next year was spent on settling in a new place, creating the initial experimental and technological base. Separate groups of employees of the new institute were still working in Sarov and Moscow, but the research team enthusiastically joined the work. The young institute was obsessed with striving for success. The results were already evident in 1957, when the first thermonuclear charges developed by the new center were tested. These tests convincingly showed the capacity and potential of the newly created institute. By the way, the first thermonuclear charge adopted by the Soviet Army was developed and tested by the Urals nuclear center in that first test session for him. For these successes, a group of center specialists, along with Kirill Ivanovich, was awarded the Lenin Prize. We note another significant event that occurred in the same year.
In that initial period, under the leadership of K.I. Shchelkina developed a unique thermonuclear ammunition, which included the most powerful thermonuclear charge of the time, the body of its aerial bomb, the launch system, and a unique parachute system. However, his field tests were not carried out due to the unavailability of the landfill for such work. In 1961, a number of the main elements of this development were used by the Sarov VNIIEF in testing the most powerful thermonuclear charge. And the parachute system later found wide application in the Soviet space program.
In a regime of rapid growth, the new nuclear center was gaining strength. Its units were strengthened, and the experimental and technical base was completed. The initial base of the Sungul sanatorium and Laboratory B was limited technically and in size by the size of the peninsula, which did not meet the planned scale of the new center. Therefore, the institute, its services and the city for employees were built on a completely new place, on the shores of Lake Sinara, which is 25 km from Sungul. Kirill Ivanovich was forced to share his attention and efforts between organizing an ever-expanding main work program and continuing to complete the institute. Periods of intensive work in the new center were replaced by no less stressful trips to Moscow and other cities.
Such hard work could not pass without a trace for his health. Trained in a young age, the body began to malfunction. Diseases followed one after another, became more protracted and debilitating. In 1960, K.I. Shchelkin was forced to retire due to health reasons.
Even in the most difficult years of work in KB-11 and in NII-1011, Kirill Ivanovich found time for scientific research on combustion, which he continued with his colleagues at the Institute of Chemical Physics. His works, personal and co-authored, appeared regularly in scientific journals. Upon retiring, he did not stop, but, on the contrary, expanded his research and scientific interests. The frequency of his publications has increased. The works of Shchelkin received worldwide recognition, they were read and quoted. In 1963, the monograph Gas Burning Dynamics was published, which he prepared together with Ya.K. Troshin. At the same time, he continued to work on a book on the physics of the atom, nucleus, and subnuclear particles, Physics of the World. She was published in 1965.
K.I. Shchelkin was three times Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of the Lenin and three Stalin Prizes, was awarded four orders of Lenin, orders of the Red Banner of Labor and the Red Star, and medals.
K.I.Shchelkina died on November 8, 1968 in Moscow. He was buried in the Novodevichy cemetery.
In honor of Shchelkin, the city of Shchelkino in the Leninsky district of Crimea was founded, founded in October 1978 as a village of builders of the Crimean nuclear power plant and avenue in the city of Snezhinsk. Two memorial plaques were also installed in Snezhinsk. May 24, 2011 in Snezhinsk, a monument to K.I. Shchelkin.
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