Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov


Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov
(1922 - 2001)

Soviet physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, with Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov of the Soviet Union and Charles H. Townes of the United States, for basic research in quantum electronics that led to the development of both the maser and the laser. These devices produce monochromatic, parallel, coherent beams of microwaves and light, respectively.
After serving in the Soviet army during World War II, Basov graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1950. In that year he began working at the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union (now the Russian Academy of Sciences). The maser principle is based on the phenomenon of stimulated emission, in which atoms emit radiation when their electrons make the transition from a higher to a lower energy level. Basov and Prokhorov, his colleague at the institute, worked to develop a practical device based on this principle that would produce coherent microwave radiation. They solved the problem in 1952, simultaneously with Townes. Basov became the deputy director of the Lebedev Institute in 1958 and became professor of physics at the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute in 1963.




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