Basov, Nikolay Gennadiyevich

▪ 2002

      Soviet physicist (b. Dec. 14, 1922, Usman, near Voronezh, Russia—d. July 1, 2001, Moscow, Russia), was corecipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964 with Aleksandr M. Prokhorov, his colleague at the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, and Charles H. Townes of the United States. The award was given for fundamental research in quantum electronics that led to the development of the maser and the laser, which produce parallel monochromatic coherent beams of microwaves and light, respectively. Basov studied theoretical and experimental physics at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, graduating in 1950. From 1952 he did postgraduate work in quantum radiophysics under Prokhorov at the Lebedev Institute. By 1954 Basov and Prokhorov had developed the concept for a device that would emit microwave radiation of a single wavelength. The next year they learned that Townes's team at Columbia University, New York City, had already built such a device, which they called a maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Basov and Prokhorov soon constructed a maser, and by 1958 other teams had applied the maser principle to the optical spectrum to lay the groundwork for the laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), the first of which was built in 1960. Basov served as deputy director (1958–73) and director (1973–89) of the Lebedev Institute and as director (1989–2001) of its Institute of Quantum Radiophysics. He was a deputy in the Supreme Soviet (1974–89) and a member of the Presidium (1982–89). In 1982 Basov was among 97 Nobel laureates to call for an international freeze on nuclear weapons.

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▪ Soviet physicist
born Dec. 14, 1922, Usman, near Voronezh, Russia, U.S.S.R.
died July 1, 2001, Moscow, Russia

      Soviet physicist, one of the founders of quantum electronics, and a corecipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, with Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov (Prokhorov, Aleksandr Mikhaylovich) of the Soviet Union and Charles H. Townes (Townes, Charles Hard) of the United States, for research leading to the development of both the maser and the laser.

      Basov served in the military during World War II and in 1945 became a physics student at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. Upon graduation in 1950, he worked in Moscow at the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute. In 1953 he received his doctorate (Russian kandidat nauk) degree from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. The higher degree of doktor nauk was awarded to him in 1956 for the theory and experimental realization of the maser.

 In 1954, together with Prokhorov, Basov published a paper describing the possibility of a molecular generator of coherent microwave radiation. The idea was based on the effect of stimulated emission of radiation by atoms, which had been postulated by Albert Einstein (Einstein, Albert) in 1917. The device—subsequently named the maser—was also independently constructed in 1954 by Townes, James Gordon, and Herbert Zeiger at Columbia University in New York City. Basov continued to make further important contributions to the development of the maser and to the development of the laser, an analogous generator of coherent optical radiation. In addition to proposing the idea of a three-level laser (see figure—>) in 1955 with Prokhorov, in 1959 Basov suggested constructing a semiconductor laser, which he built with collaborators in 1963. In 1962 Basov was elected a corresponding member, and in 1966 a full member, of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences (Sciences, Academy of). He served as director of the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute from 1973 to 1988.

Alexei Kojevnikov
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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