Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov


Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov
(1904 - 1990)

Soviet physicist who shared the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physics with fellow Soviet scientists Igor Y. Tamm and Ilya M. Frank for their investigation of the phenomenon called Cherenkov radiation. Cherenkov discovered that light is emitted by electrons as they pass through a transparent medium at a speed higher than the speed of light in that medium.
Cherenkov graduated from Voronezh State University in 1928; he later became a research student at the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union (now the Russian Academy of Sciences). In 1934, in the course of his dissertation research, he observed that electrons produced a faint blue glow when passing through a transparent liquid at high velocity. This phenomenon, which was interpreted by Tamm and Frank, led to the development of the Cherenkov counter, or Cherenkov detector, which was later used extensively in experimental nuclear and particle physics. Cherenkov continued to do research in nuclear physics at the Lebedev Institute, where he became a full professor in 1959.

 

 


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