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Khokhlov, Rem Victorovich


(b. Livny, U. S. S. R., 15 July 1926; d. Moscow, U. S. S. R., 8 August 1977)


Khokhlov’s father, Victor Khristoforovich, was a professor of technical sciences. His mother, Marya Yakovlevna Vassil’eva, was a physicist at Moscow State University.

Khokhlov spent practically all his life in Moscow. He started working during school vacations, initially because he wanted to do manual work and later, in wartime, because he wished to contribute to the struggle against fascism. Working as an automobile locksmith, he graduated from school and in 1943 entered the Moscow Aviation Institute, from which he transferred in 1945 to the department of physics of the University of Moscow.

Khokhlov’s subsequent life was closely connected with the university. He graduated from it in 1948, and in 1952 he defended and a reader in the department in the area of the theory of oscillations. From September 1959 to June 1960, he worked at Stanford University. In 1961 he defended his doctoral thesis, and in 1967 he became a professor. Beginning in 1973, Khokhlov served as a rector of the University of Moscow.

Khokhlov began his scientific activity as a pure theoretician (for example, his work on associated Laguerre functions). Very quickly he became a leader of investigations on nonlinear optics at the University of Moscow. In 1965 he organized a unit specializing in this area within the department of physics.

During his first years of work at the university, Khokhlov concentrated his efforts on radiophysics. He belonged to the third generation of the Soviet school of the physics of oscillations, founded by L. I. Mandelshtam and N. D. Papaleski.(Khokhlov entered the university one year after Mandelshtam’s death.) Khokhlov’s work has greatly influenced the development of many trends in radiophysics, optics, and acoustics. Between 1954 and 1960 he worked out in detail an effective procedure for analyzing oscillations and waves in nonlinear systems—the method of stepwise simplification of the reduced equation (Khokhlov’s method). With this method Khokhlov obtained fundamental results in the theory of the interaction of waves in highly dispersive media and in the theory of weak shock waves in dissipative media.

The approaches formulated in this series of works were widely used by Khokhlov and his coauthors and pupils in their theoretical work on nonlinear optics, nonlinear acoustics, and laser physics. After 1960 Khokhlov and his collaborators became more and more involved in experimental investigations. Their most important works completed during the period between 1960 and Khokhlov’s death in 1977 may be divided into four groups. First, in nonlinear optics there was the start-up of tuned parametric generators of light (systems in which the parametric excitation of light waves in a nonlinear medium is realized). The theoretical foundations were derived from nonlinear wave optics (1962–1964). Powerful optical frequency multipliers were built and important investigations conducted on self-focusing and selfdefocusing of light (1966.) Second, in nonlinear acoustics Khokhlov worked out the theoretical procedure of slowly varying the profile of a propagated wave, and formulated the equations of nonlinear acoustics of plane waves (1960–1961.) He also formulated and solved the equations of nonlinear acoustics of diffracted beams (the equations of Khokhlov-Zabolotskaya. 1969).

Third, in X-ray optics Khokhlov developed the theory of gamma lasers, provided the analyses of schemes of contraction of the lines of gamma resonance, and built up the theory of dynamic diffraction in amplifying media (1972–1975). Last, in the physics of the interaction of laser radiation and matter, Khokhlov put forward the idea of control of the chemical reactions by a resonance photoaction (1970), worked out the theory of control of the surface phenomena with the aid of laser radiation, and performed significant investigations in the theory of nuclear synthesis of elements.

Apart from his intensive scientific and teaching activity, Khokhlov was active as an organizer of scientific work. He was a member of the Presidium of the U. S. S. R. Academy of Sciences, and during the last years of his life was vice president of the academy. He also served as the head of a scientific council of the academy on the problem of noncoherent and nonlinear optics, and organized the All-Union and international meetings on these problems. He was a member of the Central Revision Commission of the Communist party and a member of the Supreme Soviet of the U. S. S. R. From 1965 Khokhlov headed the wave processes department at Moscow State University, and from 1973 to 1977 he was rector of the university.

Khokhlov’s achievements have been widely recognized. In 1966 the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences elected him a corresponding member, and in 1974 a full member. In 1970 he was awarded the Lenin Prize, and in 1985 (posthumously) the State Prize of the U.S.S.R. Khokhlov was a full member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, a corresponding member of the Portuguese Academy, and an honorary doctor of a number of universities.


1.Original Works, “K teorii zakhvativaniia pri maloi amplitude vneshnei sily” (On the theory of locking-in at a small value of the amplitude of an external force), in Doklady Akademii nauk SSSR. 97 , no. 3 (1954), 411–414: “K teorii udarnykh radiovoln v nelineinikh liniyakh” (On the theory of shock radio waves in nonlinear lines), in Radiotekhnika in elektrohika, 6 , no 6 (1961), 917–925; “O raspostranenii voln v nelineinikh dispergiruyushchikh sredakh” (On the propagation of waves in nonlinear disperse lines). ibid., no. 7. 1116-1127; “Ob odnoi vozmozhnosti usileniia svetovikh voln” (On some possibility of the amplification of light waves) in Zhurnal eksperimentalnoi i teoreticheskoi fiziki. 43 , no. 1 (1962). 351–353. written with S. A. Akhmanov: “konechnoi amplitude v dissitipativnikh sredakh” (On the theory of simple magnetohydrodynamic waves of finite amplitude in a dissipative medium). ibid., 41 no. 2 (1961). 534–543. Written with S.I. Soluian.

“Ob upravlenii khimicheskimi reakciiami putem rezonansnogo fotovozdeistviia na molekuli” (On the control of chemical reactions by means of resonance photo attack influence on molecules). ibid.. 58 no 6 (1970). 2195–2201. written with V. T. Platonenko and N. D. Artamonova: “Problemi teorii nelineinoi akustiki” (Problems of nonlinear acoustical theory). in Akusticheskii Zhurnal. 20, no. 3 (1974). 449–457, written with O.V Rudenko and S. I. Soluian; “K voprosu o vozhmozhnosti sozdania gamma-lazera na osnove radioaktivnikh kristallov” (On the possibility of the creation of the laser on the basis of radioactive crystals). in Pis’Ma vzhurnal eksperimentalnoi i teoreticheskoi fiziki15, no 9 (1972), 580–583; Problems of Nonlinear Optics (New York, 1972), written with S.A Akhmanov and A. P. Sukhorukov: and “Selffocusing. Self-defocusing and Self-modulation of Laser Beams,” in Laser Handbook H (Amsterdam. 1972). 1151–1228.

II.Secondary Literature. V. I. Grigoriev, Rem Viktorovich Khokhlov (R. V. Khokhlov) (Moscow. 1981). and Akademik Rem Viktorovich Khokhlov (Moscow. 1982). For an obituary see S. A. Akhmanov et al…Uspekhifi-Zicheskikh nauk124 , no. 2 (1978), 355–358.

V. J. Frenkel

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