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Pavel Cherenkov

Nobel Prize winner

Pavel Cherenkov, with his light detectors

Pavel Alekseyevich Pavel was born to peasant parents in Novaya Chigla, Russia, on July 28, 1904. He graduated from the Physico-Mathematical Faculty of Voronezh State University in 1928, took a post as senior scientific officer at the P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics in the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences in 1930, and was awarded the degree of Doctor in Physico-Mathematical Sciences in 1940. In 1953 he was confirmed in the academic rank of Professor of Experimental Physics, and in 1959 he was put in charge of the photo-meson processes laboratory.

In 1934, while working under Sergei Ivanovich Vavilov, Cherenkov reported that a faint bluish light is emitted when gamma rays from radium move through water. This "Cherenkov Effect" proved to be of great importance in subsequent experimental work in nuclear physics and for the study of cosmic rays, and the "Cherenkov Detector" became a standard piece of equipment in atomic research for observing the existence and velocity of high-speed particles. In 1958, Cherenkov shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Igor Y. Tamm and Ilya M. Frank, both of whom had conducted research on and helped explain the Cherenkov Effect.

Pavel Cherenkov and Igor Tamm appear at a press conference after winning the 1958 Nobel Prize for Physics along with colleague Ilya Frank.
Cherenkov and Igor Tamm at press conference

Cherenkov was elected to the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences as a corresponding member in 1964, and as a full member in 1970. He died on January 6, 1990

Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize for Physics

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This page was last updated on 01/06/2018.