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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich

Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich, a physicist, was one of the leading developers of the first nuclear charge. In 1939-1941, together with Yu. B. Khariton, he calculated the chain reaction of fission in uranium. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1958). Three times Hero of Socialist Labor (1949, 1954 1956). Laureate of the Lenin (1957) and four State (1943, 1949, 1951, 1954) awards of the USSR.

Yakov Borisovich was born on March 8, 1914 in Minsk in the family of a lawyer. In 1924 he entered immediately into the 3rd grade of the school, which he graduated in 1930. Since 1930, he worked as a laboratory assistant at the Institute of Mechanical Processing of Minerals. In 1931 he attended courses and worked as a laboratory assistant at the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and from 1932 to 1934. - at the correspondence department of the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Leningrad University, which he did not graduate from; later attended lectures at the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of the Polytechnic Institute. In 1934 he was accepted to the graduate school of the Institute of Chemical Physics.

While searching for effective substances for gas masks, he delved into the problem of adsorption. The theory of adsorption he developed became classical and entered the textbooks. Soon, Ya.B. Zeldovich brilliantly defended his thesis, having received special permission from the Higher Attestation Commission for defense without a university diploma. He was only twenty-two years old at that time. In 1939, he became a doctor of physical and mathematical sciences. The doctoral dissertation was a generalization of his work on the problem of nitrogen oxidation in a hot flame. The name Zeldovich becomes known in the scientific world.

Since 1938, Ya.B. Zeldovich headed the laboratory at the Institute of Chemical Physics. At this time he was engaged in the theory of combustion; a new approach was formed, organically combining chemical kinetics with analysis of the thermal picture, and then hydrodynamic, taking into account the motion of the gas, which made it possible to make the theory of combustion, and then the theory of detonation quantitative. A whole field of high temperature physics and chemistry has arisen; his research in this direction has gained worldwide recognition. And soon work on the theory of combustion and explosion came in handy to his native country. When the war began, the institute was evacuated to Kazan, where Ya.B. Zeldovich was studying the burning of gunpowder propellants for Katyushas, since the burning of gunpowder in the winter was unstable. The problem was solved by him in the shortest possible time. In 1943, the Stalin Prize was awarded to Yakov Borisovich for a series of works on the theory of combustion.

Even before the war, in Leningrad, Ya.B. Zeldovich began to engage in nuclear physics. Together with Yu.B. Hariton he completed and published a series of papers on uranium. One of them was devoted to the possibility of a chain reaction in natural uranium deposits. In 1939, the uranium fission chain reaction was first calculated, the age equation “paved the way” for the fission chain reaction and allowed the critical size of the reactor to be determined. In the future, his research was of great importance for solving the problem of the use of atomic energy.

From 1946 to 1948 Ya.B. Zeldovich headed the theoretical department of the Institute of Chemical Physics, while being a professor at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. From 1948 to 1965 He worked in KB-11 as head of department, department, deputy scientific adviser.

Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich was an active participant in the development and testing of the first atomic charge. As the leader of the construction of the general theory of the atomic bomb, in 1949 he was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor with the award of the Order of Lenin and was awarded the title of laureate of the Stalin Prize.

The realization of the idea of creating an atomic charge required the study of the behavior of matter at a pressure of several million atmospheres, when metals already flow like liquid. Ya.B. Zeldovich and his team were one of the authors and active participants in the work on the creation of subsequent versions of new atomic charges and the first hydrogen bomb. For these works, he twice (1953, 1956) was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor, twice (1951, 1954) he was awarded the Stalin Prize.

Together with V.A. Zuckerman , he proposed a new method of initiating nuclear charge - external initiation system. Much attention was paid to particle physics. Some of his works in this field are registered as discoveries by the committee on discoveries and inventions at the Council of Ministers of the USSR. He predicted a new type of decay of elementary particles - pions, which was fully confirmed in the work of experimenters in the city of Dubna.

In 1958, Ya.B. Zeldovich was elected an academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

In October 1965, Ya.B. Zeldovich decided to switch to theoretical research work and until January 1983 he worked as head of the department of the Institute of Applied Mathematics of the USSR Academy of Sciences. At the same time, from 1965 until the end of his life, he was a professor at the Physics Department of Moscow State University, and from 1984-1987. he is also the head of the department of relativistic astrophysics of the State Astronomical Institute. PC. Sternberg. In the last years of his life, he was engaged in astrophysics and cosmology. The large cycle of works by Ya.B. Zeldovich is devoted to the questions of “aging” of stars of different masses, to what happens to them after the “burning out” of nuclear fuel, when the pressure can no longer resist the forces of gravity compressing the star.

In Zeldovich’s works on cosmology, the main place was occupied by the problem of the formation of a large-scale structure of the Universe. The scientist investigated the initial stages of the expansion of the universe. Together, the collaborators constructed the theory of the interaction of the hot plasma of the expanding Universe and radiation, created the theory of perturbation growth in the "hot" Universe during cosmological expansion, considered some issues related to the emergence of galaxies as a result of the gravitational instability of these perturbations; showed that the arising high-density formations, which are probably proto-clusters of galaxies, have a flat shape.

The first thing that is striking in the work of Academician Zeldovich is the breadth of his interests. It is characterized not only by a wide range of works, but by fundamental works, which often became the source of entire scientific directions.

He was unique in his work - from the physics of combustion and explosion through nuclear weapons to the very depths of astrophysics and cosmology. Sakharov described him as "a man of universal interests." According to Landau, not a single physicist except Fermi possessed such a wealth of new ideas. I.V.Kurchatov spoke about him "And yet Yasha - genius!". In science, Yakov Borisovich Zeldovich was a Master.

Ya.B. Zeldovich was a very charming, bright, man with inexhaustible energy and humor, “forever young”. He never spoke in a bossy, arrogant tone, did not emphasize my academic, “heroic” merits. What was important to him was only the essence of the problem, question, business.

Ya.B. Zeldovich is an outstanding physicist who has made a huge contribution to various fields of science and technology, the author of many articles, monographs and books. He was a member of the German Academy of Leopoldina, the American Academy of Sciences and Arts, the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, the Royal Society of London, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Honorary Doctor of Cambridge and Sussex Universities and a number of physical societies.

He was awarded the orders of Lenin, the Red Banner of Labor, the October Revolution, and medals. He was awarded honorary medals to them. N. Manson (1972) and B. Lewis (1984) for their work on the gas dynamics of explosions and shock waves, medals named after I.V. Kurchatov - for his discoveries in nuclear physics (1977), Catharine Bruce - for achievements in the field of astronomy (1983), Medal of the International Center for Theoretical Physics. P. Dirac (1985). Ya.B. Zeldovich was the winner of four Stalin and Lenin Prizes.

Yakov Borisovich died on December 2, 1987. He was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow.

In his honor, medals were established. Zeldovich Gold Medal (American Institute of Combustion) - awarded since 1990.

Zeldovich Medal (Committee for Space Research and RAS) - awarded since 1990. Gold medal named after Ya.B. Zeldovich, established by the RAS in 2014, the first presentation took place in 2015.

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