Russian Physicist Zhores Alferov

It is possible that you constantly use a mobile phone, a laptop, a computer or even the Internet, but it is unlikely you would have these benefits of civilization, if not for the discoveries of Zhores Alferov.

The essence of Alferov discovery

Alferov created special heterostructures that could control the light flux. So, what is unusual about it when there are plenty of light bulbs that give light?

The unusual factor is that with the help of such heterostructures it is possible to create, transmit and read visual information. The simplest example which all of us face often is scanning of a barcode of a product in the store. And another one is data transmission via fiber-optic networks (high speed internet), reading the information using laser from your hard drive or from a normal CD or DVD and so on. That means that the discovery of Alferov laid the foundation of virtually all modern electronic devices.

It was a tough competition with three American laboratories: Bell Telephone, IBM and RCA, but American scientists chose to work with homostructures or single heterostructures.

Practical Application of Heterostructures in Space

Of course, the conversion of light into electrical impulse immediately became useful in space in the form of … solar panels. Thanks to the work of the Alferov team, solar batteries based on heterostructures were already constructed and installed on the Soviet space station “Mir”, while American scientists were only publishing their first results of the research. Moreover, the life of these batteries in the conditions of severe space radiation speaks for itself about their reliability.

Future of ultrafast transistors

What are ultra-fast transistors? The name implies that they make really fast calculations. That is, they are the foundation of the supercomputers of the future. It is for these works in conjunction with the discovery of using heterostructures in electronics that in 2000 Alferov received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Future of Power Engineering

Alferov is also actively working to reduce the losses in the process of conversion of light energy into electrical energy. What does this mean? If currently solar batteries are only effective in conditions of strong solar radiation, then the possible future is the ability of new solar batteries to “catch” the light energy even through the clouds.

Zhores Alferov is confident that if this line of research would have received only 15% of the funds allocated for the development of nuclear energy, then it is possible that nuclear power plants would not be needed at all.

Hothouse for Future Scientists

At the end of the 20thcentury Zhores Alferov made ​​literally a scientific feat, when he established under the conditions of Russia’s transition from a socialist system to a market system the Research and Education Center at the Physical-Technical Institute. At a time when everyone wanted to become businessmen or government officials, he was able to bring back the prestige of a scientist in the eyes of students, as noted by academician Yuri Gulyaev.

Preserving Russia as a Secular State

Zhores Alferovis one of ten academics who signed an open resonant “Letter of Ten,” which calls to preserve the secular nature of the state and the principle of separation of church and the state education system in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, this letter in its tone expresses as much respect as possible towards the feelings of believers, as well as towards feelings of unbelievers: “To believe or not to believe in God is a matter of conscience and believes of each individual. We respect the feelings of believers, and do not intend to fight against religion. ”

It seems that Zhores Alferov is not going to stop and give up, and still today, despite his age (84 years), he actively defends his position against not agreed upon with the scientists reform process of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


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