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Iosif S. Shklovskii

AKA Iosif Samuilovich Shklovskii

Born: 1-Jul-1916
Birthplace: Glukhov, Sumska, Ukraine
Died: 3-Mar-1985
Location of death: Moscow, Russia
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Astronomer, Physicist

Nationality: Russia
Executive summary: Synchrotron radiation of the Crab Nebula

Ukrainian astronomer Iosif S. Shklovskii explained in 1953 that synchrotron radiation (radiation which occurs when charged particles are accelerated in a curved path or orbit) is the true source of the continuum radiation of the Crab Nebula. He determined that the temperature of the solar corona is of the order of one million Kelvin, devised an improved mathematical method for analyzing thermal and non-thermal radio waves, and he was among the first astrophysicists to seriously study the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

Both outspoken and Jewish, Shklovskii witnessed the Stalinist purges of his youth, endured perpetual battles with Soviet bureaucracy in adulthood, and was never fully accepted in Soviet scientific circles. His 1962 book Universe, Life, Intelligence was translated into English and expanded upon by Carl Sagan as the best-selling Intelligent Life in the Universe, but Soviet rules prevented Shklovskii from sharing any royalties. The title of his autobiography, Five Billion Vodka Bottles to the Moon, was his comic assessment of what fueled the Soviet space program.

    High School: Akmolinsk Secondary School, Akmolinsk, Siberia
    University: Vladivostok University (attended)
    University: BS, Moscow State University (1938)
    University: PhD, Sternberg Astronomical Institute, Moscow State University (1949)
    Teacher: Astronomy, Moscow State University (1949-54)
    Professor: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Moscow State University (1953-85)

    Bruce Medal 1972
    Jansky Prize 1968
    Lenin Prize 1960
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Foreign Member
    National Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Royal Astronomical Society Foreign Associate
    Russian Academy of Sciences
    Jewish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry
    Ukrainian Ancestry
    Asteroid Namesake 2849 Shklovskij

Author of books:
Cosmic Radio Waves (1960)
Universe, Life, Intelligence (1962)
Physics of the Solar Corona (1965)
Intelligent Life in the Universe (1966, with Carl Sagan)
Supernovae (1968)
Stars: Their Birth, Life, Death (1978)
Five Billion Vodka Bottles to the Moon: Tales of a Soviet Scientist (1991, memoir)


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