Аn Outstanding Soviet and Russian Theoretical Physicist Isaac Markovich Khalatnikov Died

Аn outstanding Soviet and Russian theoretical physicist, the oldest member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Isaac Markovich Khalatnikov died on Saturday, January 9, at the 102nd year of his life in Moscow.

The official news about this is posted on the portal “Scientific Russia” (https://scientificrussia.ru/articles/ushel-iz-zhizni-starejshij-akademik-ran-isaak-halatnikov).

Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov and the author on the Marcel Grossman Symposium, Stockholm, 2012.

Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov was born on October 17, 1919 in Ekaterinoslav (since 1926 — Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine).

In 1941, he graduated from Dnepropetrovsk State University. He participated in the Great Patriotic War, studied at the Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy, and served as Chief of Staff of the anti-aircraft regiment of the Moscow Air Defense. After demobilization he became post-graduate student of L. D. Landau, worked at the Institute of Physical Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1945-65. He was appointed to the position of junior researcher in 1946. In the He worked as part of a group of theorists who performed calculations of nuclear and thermonuclear weapons in late 1940s and early 1950s. He holds the position of Director of the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1965-1992 and, in subsequent years,  was the honorary Director of the Institute.

He became Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences since 1972, and full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences since, 1984-Department of Physical Sciences.

He well known as Soviet and Russian theoretical physicist (low temperature physics, quantum field theory, relativistic astrophysics).

Main directions of his scientific activity: theoretical physics, low temperature physics, quantum field theory, relativistic astrophysics, research on the theory of superfluidity.

He created (together with L. D. Landau) the theory of quantum liquids and developed it in application to liquid helium. I. M. Khalatnikov is the author of works on relativistic cosmology on the behavior of the universe at the early stages of its development (together with E. M. Lifshits and V. A. Belinsky) and research on the foundations of quantum electrodynamics (together with A. A. Abrikosov and L. D. Landau). I. M. Khalatnikov’s works are devoted to the theory of quantum liquids, superconductivity, quantum electrodynamics, quantum field theory, relativistic hydrodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativistic cosmology, and general relativity. He developed hydrodynamics and the theory of kinetic phenomena in a superfluid and for Fermi-type quantum liquids.

He posed and solved the problem of the asymptotic behavior of the main quantities of the field theory (the Green functions of the electron and photon) at large values of pulses, developed an original method for summing an infinite sequence of Feynman diagrams, which later found wide applications in statistical physics. He investigated the question of the presence and properties of a time singularity in general cosmological solutions of Einstein’s equations in the theory of gravity. Works on the hydrodynamics of superfluid 3He, the theory of dynamic fluctuations, and cosmological problems such as occurrence of a singularity in the evolution of the universe and duscovery its chaotic nature.

He participated in the development of atomic and hydrogen bombs. The solution was proposed by I. M. Khalatnikov to the most complex problem of stability in the calculation of bombs and made it possible to significantly reduce the time required to create these weapons. One of the mathematical methods developed by I. M. Khalatnikov is still used today in supercomputers to speed up calculations. Immediately after Stalin’s death, Landau withdrew from the nuclear project, handing over his group to I. M. Khalatnikov, who was then 33 years old.

After Landau tragically passed away, there was a real danger of losing a unique scientific school. I. M. Khalatnikov managed, as many believed, the impossible: to create a new Institute and gather many of the best scientists from all over the USSR. Soon, by many indicators, the Institute of Theoretical Physics named after Landau became the best in the country and one of the most famous in the world. Academician I. M. Khalatnikov headed the Institute for almost 30 years.

However, the high rating of the Institute, paradoxically, became a disaster when in the 90s the state abandoned science, putting it on the brink of survival. The Landau Institute was known all over the world, and as soon as the borders opened, a real ad hunt began for former Soviet scientists. Of the 80 researchers on the staff of the Institute, about 50 people have left, and about 30 have become foreign professors, granted their own laboratories in the best Western universities. Then even graduate students started moving to western science centers. New rise began later, perhaps, thanks to the impetus given by the launch of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Well known books by I. M. Khalatnikov are “Introduction to the theory of superfluidity”, “Theory of superfluidity”, “Dau, Centaur and others”.

He was a member of the editorial board of the journal “Physics of Low Temperatures”.

Member of the Presidium of the Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Chernogolovka.

Foreign member of the Royal Society of London.

Awarded the order “Badge of Honor”, three times order of the red banner of Labour, twice – order of Friendship of peoples, order “For services to the Fatherland” III grade, order of October Revolution, order of Patriotic war II degree, the medal “For victory over Germany in the great Patriotic war”, other state awards.

Winner of the Stalin Prize.

He was awarded a Certificate of Honor by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation.

He was awarded the I. E. Tamm Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the series of works “Asymptotic behavior of Green Functions in Quantum Electrodynamics”. Winner of the L. D. Landau Prize, the Humboldt Prize, and the Marcel Grossman Prize.

Marcel Grossman Prize was awarded in Stockholm at the Marcel Grossman Symposium in 2012. I admired, talking to him during this Symposium, his ability to discuss the problem of cosmologic singularity with vivid interest in his 93 (see photo). A good support to my conclusion reported on the Symposium about prevention cosmological singularity by vorticity still is his remark during this conversation “if Landau not dies so early, it seems me, we could come to the same conclusion”.

Ildus Nurgaliev



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