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Arkadiev, Vladimir Konstantinovich

(b. Moscow, Russia, 21 April 1884; d. Moscow, U.S.S.R., 1 December 1953)


Arkadiev’s father died when the boy was young, leaving him to be raised by his mother, who worked in a library. These circumstances disposed him to study from his earliest years. While still at the Gymnasium he became interested in physics; he met N.A. Umov—who at that time was a professor at Moscow University—and even tested his own apparatus in Umov’s laboratory. Upon graduating from the Gymnasium in 1904, Arkadiev entered the Physics and Mathematics Faculty of Moscow University, where Umov and P.N. Lebedev lectured. In 1907, under Lebedev’s direction, Arkadiev began an experimental study of the magnetic properties of ferromagnetic substances in high-frequency fields of which the wavelength was on the order of one centimeter. In 1908 he obtained new results—ferromagnetic properties of iron and nickel disappeared when the wavelength was on the order of three centimeters—a discovery for which Arkadiev was awarded the Society of Lovers of Natural Science Prize in 1908.

Arkadiev’s work at Moscow University was interrupted in 1911 when many progressive professors and lecturers—including Lebedev, Umov, and Arkadiev himself—left the university to protest the arbitrariness of the administration of L. A. Kasso, the czarist minister of national education. Lebedev and his colleagues transferred to Shanyavsky Municipal University, which was privately run. After the October Revolution, Arkadiev returned to Moscow University, where he organized a large laboratory for electromagnetic research that he headed until his death. In 1927 he was chosen an associate member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R.

The basic direction of Arkadiev’s research was the development of his previous work on ferromagnetism. He was the first to determine experimentally the exact relationship between wavelength and the complex magnetic permeability of iron and nickel (1912). On the basis of his results, Arkadiev arrived at two important conclusions. First, he suggested that the magnetic parameters of a substance depend on the frequency of the field. Second, he proposed the introduction of an additional parameter—“permeance”—to calculate the influence of the lag between changes of magnetic induction and changes in the field, in connection with the field loss of energy during remagnetization. Thus he gave symmetric form to Maxwell’s equations:

Into this Arkadiev introduced the concept of complex magnetic permeability μ=μ′-iμ″, where μ=2ρΤ (Τ is the period of the wave), by analogy to the concept of the complex dielectric constant, ε=ε′ – iε, ε=2δΤ

In 1913, starting from the classic conceptions, Arkadiev was the first to indicate the possibility that natural oscillations of elementary magnets exist in ferromagnetic substances, resulting in the appearance of resonance; he confirmed this experimentally. Thus the honor of the discovery of ferromagnetic resonance (1913) belongs to him.

In 1922 Arkadiev proposed a generator of original construction that enabled A. A. Glagoleva-Arkadieva (his wife) to obtain the first electromagnetic spectra in the wavelength range of a few centimeters to 0.080 millimeters.

In 1934 Arkadiev developed a photographic plate sensitive to centimeter-length waves. Between 1934 and 1936 he thoroughly developed the theory of the behavior of ferromagnetic conductors in rapidly changing fields. In this work he introduced the concept of “magnetic viscosity,” which proved to be exceedingly fruitful. He named the realm of these phenomena “magnetodynamics.” In addition, he developed the theory of the magnetization and demagnetization of bodies with various shapes.

Among Arkadiev’s other work was his 1913 study in which it was first proved that the diffraction of light can be observed on large objects as well as on small ones. He also was the first to construct a high-tension impulse generator, subsequently called a lightning generator (1925). Finally, in 1947 Arkadiev was the first to perfect a refined demonstration experiment—the levitation of a small permanent magnet above a superconducting dish.


Arkadiev’s writings are in his Izbrannye trudy (“Selected Works”; Moscow, 1961).

Articles on Arkadiev are N. N. Malov, “Vladimir Konstantinovitch Arkad’ev,” in Uspekhi fizicheskikh nauk (“Successes of the Physical Sciences”), 52, no. 3 (1954), 459-469; E. I. Miklashevskaja, “Kratkij ocherk nauchnoji pedagogicheskoj dejatel’nosti V.K. Arkad’ev” (“Short Essay on the Scientific and Pedagogical Career of V.K. Arkadiev”), in Izbrannye trudy, pp. 11-16; and B.A. Vvedensky and N. N. Maqlov, “O nauchnom znachenii rabot V. K. Arkad’eva” (“On the Scientific Significance of V. K. Arkadiev’s Work”), ibid., pp. 5-10.

J. G. Dorfman

Arkadiev, Vladimir Konstantinovich

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Arkadiev, Vladimir Konstantinovich