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 Abram Ioffe

Born:   October 29, 1880
Deceased:   October 14, 1960

Russian physicist



Ioffe Abram Fedorovich, famous Russian physicist and scientific figure, was born on October 29, 1880 to the family of a merchant. In 1897 young Abram finished secondary school and entered St. Petersburg Institute of Technology. After graduating from the Institute in 1902, young scientist went to Munich, where worked with Roentgen, best experimental physicist in the world, as scientific community said. The aim of the visit was obtaining some experience in performing experiments for Ioffe’s own resonance theory of odour and sense of smell. Ioffe’s first position was trainee without any salary; next step of his career was an assistant. Abram Fedorovich turned out to be a good assistant, and Roentgen offered him a position at his laboratory, however, Ioffe rejected the flattering offer and returned to Russia in 1906.

Upon his return Ioffe received a position of chief laboratory technician at Polytechnic Institute. In 1913 the scientist defended his master thesis and became the extraordinary professor. Two year later Ioffe defended doctor dissertation and moved further on the career ladder – Abram Fedorovich was appointed the professor of general physics department.

Abram Ioffe read lectures in other higher educational institutions. In 1916 the physicist started his famous “physics seminar”, where young scientists from various universities discussed problems of science in general and physics in particular. In 1918 Abram Fedorovich opened the department of physics and technology in Petrograd’s Institute of Roentgenology and Radiology, in 1919 – faculty of physics and mathematics in Polytechnic University, and in 1932 Ioffe did his best to open the Institute of Agrophysics. Ioffe’s initiative resulted in opening of institutes of physics and technology in many industrial centres of the Soviet Union. The Institute of Chemical Physics of Soviet Academy of Sciences was Ioffe’s “child”.

During the world war II Abram Ioffe took part in construction of radar systems in Leningrad.

First scientific work of Abram Fedorovich Ioffe – the scope of his maser thesis – touched photoelectrical effect, being the same classic work as Thomson’s and Millikan’s experiment on determining charge of an electron. Ioffe proved that electrons could exist independently from other kinds of matter, defined absolute value of its charge, and studied magnetic action of cathode rays, which are flows of electrons. Ioffe also proved statistical nature of electron escape during external photoelectric effect.

Next large research was performed in Roentgen’s laboratory and covered elastic and electric properties of quartz. Another field of science, where Ioffe showed his fantastic talent, was crystal physics. The scientist studied conductivity of ionic crystals, their hardness and plasticity. Collaboration with P. Erenfest resulted in discovery of “quantum” character of shifts under given load – this effect was explained many years after. Abram Fedorovich discovered the phenomenon of material “strengthening” (Ioffe effect) – “healing” of surface cracks. The works on crystal physics were collected in the book Crystal physics.

Kizilova Anna

Tags: Russian science Russian scientists physics   

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