11 January marks birthday of Dmitry Ivanovich Blokhintsev

News, 11 January 2021

Dmitry Ivanovich Blokhintsev (1908 – 1979), an outstanding Soviet physicist, the first Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, was born on 11 January 1908.

In the childhood, he got interested in aircraft and rocket engineering, he mastered the basics of differentiation and integration on his own, read scientific papers by Hermann Oberth and Max Valier, and corresponded with K. E. Tsiolkovsky.

In 1930, Dmitry Ivanovich graduated from the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University. In 1930 – 1933, he pursued a postgraduate degree (his supervisor was I. E. Tamm). In 1934, Dmitry Blokhintsev defended his candidate’s dissertation on the quantum theory of solid body; in 1935, according to the results of the defence, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Physics and Mathematics. Since 1935, he was a Professor at MSU, since the 1950s, he headed the Department of Theory of Atomic Nucleus. Dmitry Blokhintsev was one of the founders of the Department of Nuclear Physics of the MSU Faculty of Physics.

Since 1947, he was the Director of the scientific and research laboratory in Obninsk on the basis of which the Institute of Physics and Energy was established later under his leadership. He headed the Laboratory “B” of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs (implementation of the decree “On the design and construction of object 627”). Later on, the INR RAS was created on its basis.

Dmitry Ivanovich was one of the initiators of the creation of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna. In 1956, the Committee of Plenipotentiaries of eleven countries unanimously elected him as the first Director of the Institute. D. Blokhintsev was JINR Director for a decade – from 1956 to 1965. Since 1965, he became the Director of the JINR Laboratory of Theoretical Physics.