Frank, Ilya Mikhailovich

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FRANK, ILYA MIKHAILOVICH (1908–1990), Russian Nobel laureate in physics. Frank, whose father was Jewish, was born in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), graduated from Moscow State University in 1930, and received his doctorate in physico-mathematical sciences in 1935. He worked in the State Optical Institute in St. Petersburg (1931–34), followed by the P.N. Lebedev Institute of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences. From 1941 he was in charge of the Atomic Nucleus Laboratory, becoming professor in 1944, and in 1957 he also became director of the Neutron Laboratory of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Investigations. He was a specialist in physical optics and his early interests concerned photoluminescence and photochemistry. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1958 (jointly with Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov and Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm) for his work on the Vavilov-Cherenkov effect, which concerns light emission by radioactive compounds. Solving the physical basis for this "glow" has had important applications in plasma physics, astrophysics, and radio wave generation. His later work concerned neutron physics.

[Michael Denman (2nd ed.)]