by Mikhail PANASYUK, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Director of the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University
Space studies in the wake of the first artificial satellites of the earth enabled scientists to make a signal discovery by detecting the radiation belts of our planet. That was something one had never suspected before-as it turned out, powerful fluxes of particles envelop our planet.
Carrying gigantic energies, these fluxes may pose a grave threat to the safety of space flights. Neither did we have data on the earth's magnetosphere formed under the effect of solar plasma fluxes and interplanetary magnetic fields. And something else just as fantastic: our close celestial neighbors - the Moon, Mars and Venus-do not have structures like that. Today we know: the giant planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto-do have them. Thus direct experiments carried out in outer space in the 1950s and 1960s gave birth to a new discipline, and this is cosmic, or space, physics. One of the men who stood at the cradle of this science was the eminent Russian physicist Academician Sergei Nikolayevich Vernov.
Sergei Vernov was born in 1910 at Sestroretsk, a small town near St. Petersburg. Upon his graduation from the Leningrad Polytechnic, he got a job at the famous Radiation Institute, a research center named after Vitaly Khlopin. With the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War against nazi Germany Sergei Vernov moved to Moscow and joined the research staff of the Lebedev Physics Institute set up by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Meanwhile still before the war, in 1940, a new academic chair was set up at Moscow State University on the initiative of another outstanding physicist Academician Sergei Vavilov. It was involved with the physics of the atomic nucleus and radioactive emissions. It was there, at this department, that Sergei Vernov began as a lecturer. In 1944 he became a full- fledged professor. Dr. Vernov continued as a Moscow University le ... Читать далее