100-th Anniversary Of ARTEM ALIKHANIAN 1908 - 2008


Artem Alikhanian, one of the founders and first director of the Yerevan Physics Institute, was born on June 24, 1908. In 1931 he has graduated from Leningrad State University (Physics). In 1930 he became a staff-member at Leningrad Physical and Technical Institute working on radioactivity and nuclei research together with his brother A. Alikhanov. For these investigations both brothers were awarded the USSR State Prize. In 1942 two brothers initiated a scientific mission on Mt.Aragats in order to search for the third (proton) component of cosmic rays. Together with T. Asatiani A. Alikhanian found so called narrow showers in cosmic rays, established the first evidence of the existence in cosmic rays of the particles with masses between that of muon and proton. In 1948 A. Alikhanov and A. Alikhanian were awarded the USSR State Prize for the investigation of cosmic rays. The foundation of cosmic ray station on Mt.Aragats at 3250 m above sea level was one of the steps aimed on the development of nuclear and particle physics in Armenia. This station remains the main national cosmic ray centre until now. In 1943 two brothers participated in the foundation of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, established in the frames of the Academy the Yerevan Physics Institute. A. Alikhanian became its Director for the next 30 years. In 1956 A. Alikhanian (together with A. Alikhanov and V. Hambartsumian) initiated the creation of the Yerevan Synchrotron with 6 GeV energy of electrons and headed the design and construction of this machine, that was accomplished in 1967. The results obtained later on at Yerevan synchrotron on meson photoproduction by unique beam of polarized gamma-quanta, investigations on transition and channeling radiations are well-known among the scientific community. A.Alikhanian paid much attention to the development of the new experimental methods. For the works on wide-gap track spark chambers in 1970 A.Alikhanian (together with the colleagues from Yerevan, Moscow and Tbilisi) was awarded the Lenin Prize. Later he initiated the works on x-ray transition radiation detectors, based on the theoretical predictions made at YerPhI and experiments carried out at Yerevan synchrotron. The detectors of such type were widely used in accelerator and cosmic ray experiments at many centres worldwide. A.Alikhanian supported also applied research using the beams from Yerevan synchrotron, mainly on solid state physics and biophysics. After all he was an outstanding personality with very many friends in the artistic world.