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Nikolay G. Basov

Nikolay G. BasovAKA Nikolay Gennadievich Basov

Born: 14-Dec-1922
Birthplace: Usman, Russia
Died: 1-Jul-2001
Location of death: Moscow, Russia
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Russia
Executive summary: Invention of the maser and laser

Military service: Soviet Army (1943-45)

Soviet physicist Nikolay G. Basov studied quantum electronics, and investigated the excitation of atoms or molecules to amplify electromagnetic radiation. His colleague Aleksandr M. Prokhorov studied the microwave spectroscopy of gases, and the two men, brainstorming together in 1955, decided to combine their work by using a gas-filled cavity with reflectors at both ends to amplify the microwave beams. Their experiment with this molecular oscillator converted excited ammonia molecules into a molecular beam called the maser (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).

In 1957, Basov laid out the principles of laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), using similar principles in the light spectrum. In 1962 he showed that rapid cooling might induce population inversions in molecular systems. Basov and Prokhorov shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, along with American physicist Charles H. Townes, who conducted similar work independently. In 1982, Basov was among 97 Nobel laureates worldwide who signed an open letter calling for a freeze on the development and manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Father: Gennady Fedorovich Basov (botanist)
Mother: Zinaida Andreevna Molchanova
Wife: Xenia Tikhonovna Nazarova (physicist, m. 1950, two sons)
Son: Gennady (b. 1954)
Son: Dmitry (b. 1963)

    University: Kuibyshev Military Medical Academy (1941-43)
    Medical School: Kiev Military Medical School (attended)
    University: BS Physics, Institute of Physical Engineers, Moscow State University (1950)
    University: PhD Physics, Institute of Physical Engineers, Moscow State University (1953)
    Teacher: Solid-State Physics, Moscow State University (1953-58)
    University: DSc Physics, P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow (1956)
    Administrator: Deputy Director, P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute (1958-73)
    Administrator: P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute (1973-89)
    Administrator: Quantum Radiophysics Lab, P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute (1989-2001)

    Order of Lenin 1959 (with Aleksandr M. Prokhorov)
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1964 (with Aleksandr M. Prokhorov, Charles H. Townes)
    Hero of Socialist Labor 1969
    Order of Lenin 1964 (with numerous colleagues)
    Hero of Socialist Labor 1982
    Order of the Patriotic War 1985
    Edward Teller Medal 1991
    Russian Academy of Sciences 1962
    German Academy of Science Corresponding Member, 1967
    German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina Foreign Member, 1971
    State Prize of the USSR 1989
    UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science 1989
    International Academy of Science
    Optical Society of America
    Editor of Kvantovaya Elektornika (Quantum Electronics) journal
    Editor of Priroda (Natural Science) journal
    Soviet Official Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, 1982-89

Author of books:
Lasers and Their Applications (1976, physics)
Superconductivity (1977, physics)
High-Power Lasers and Laser Plasmas (1978, physics)
Techniques and Methods of Radio-Astronomic Reception (1979, physics)
Chemical Lasers (1990, physics)

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