Ioffe in St Petersburg in 1934
Abram Fedorovich (or Fyodorovich) Ioffe
29 October 1880
|Died||14 October 1960 (aged 79)|
|Alma mater||Munich University PhD 1905; Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology 1902|
|Institutions||State Institute of Roentgenology and Radiology; Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute|
|Doctoral advisor||Wilhelm Roentgen|
|Doctoral students||Nikolay Semyonov|
Abram Fedorovich[a] Ioffe (Russian: Абра́м Фёдорович Ио́ффе, IPA: [ɐˈbram ˈfʲɵdərəvʲɪtɕ ɪˈofɛ]; 29 October [O.S. 17 October] 1880 – 14 October 1960) was a prominent Russian/Soviet physicist. He received the Stalin Prize (1942), the Lenin Prize (1960) (posthumously), and the Hero of Socialist Labor (1955). Ioffe was an expert in various areas of solid state physics and electromagnetism. He established research laboratories for radioactivity, superconductivity, and nuclear physics, many of which became independent institutes.
Ioffe was born into a middle-class Jewish family in the small town of Romny, Russian Empire (now in Sumy Oblast, Ukraine). After graduating from Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology in 1902, he spent two years as an assistant to Wilhelm Roentgen in his Munich laboratory. Ioffe completed his Ph.D. at Munich University in 1905. His dissertation studied the electrical conductivity/electrical stress of dielectric crystals.
After 1906, Ioffe worked in the Saint Petersburg (from 1924 Leningrad) Polytechnical Institute where he eventually became a professor. In 1911 he (independently of Millikan) determined the electron charge. In this experiment, the microparticles of zinc metals were irradiated with ultraviolet light to eject the electrons. The charged microparticles were then balanced in an electric field against gravity so that their charges could be determined (published in 1913). In 1911 Ioffe converted from Judaism to Lutheranism and married a non-Jewish woman. In 1913 he attained the title of Magister of Philosophy, in 1915 – Doctor of Physics. In 1918 he became head of Physics and Technology division in State Institute of Roentgenology and Radiology. This division became the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute (LPTI) in 1917.
In the early 1930s, there was a critical need in the Air Defense Forces of the Red Army for means of detecting invading aircraft. A number of research institutes were involved with radiolokatory (radio-location) techniques. The Russian Academy of Sciences called a conference in January 1934 to assess this technology. Ioffe organized this conference, then published a journal report, disclosing to researchers throughout the world the science and technology that would ultimately be called radar. Ioffe asked Ernest Rutherford to accept Peter Kapitza to Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.
When the Soviet atomic bomb project began in 1942, Ioffe was asked to lead the technical effort, but refused the job on the grounds that he was too old. He saw great promise in the young Igor Kurchatov, and placed him in charge of the first nuclear laboratory. During Joseph Stalin's campaign against the so-called "rootless cosmopolitans" (Jews), in 1950 Ioffe was made redundant from his position of the Director of LPTI and from the Board of Directors. In 1952–1954 he headed the Laboratory of Semiconductors of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, which in 1954 was reorganized as the Institute of Semiconductors. Following Ioffe's death, in 1960 the LPTI was renamed the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute and is one of Russia's leading research centers.
Am 9. Mai 1913 fand die Verteidigung der Dissertation statt. ... Namens der Jury traten die Professoren Bergman und Chwolson auf, welche der Arbeit Joffes eine äußerst positive Bewertung ausstellten und meinten, dass sie vollauf des Magistergrades würdig sei.
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