Mikhail Grigorievich Itkis turns 80

News, 07 December 2022

On 7 December 2022, Deputy Scientific Leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions (FLNR), JINR Director Advisor Mikhail Grigorievich Itkis turns 80.

Since 1967, after his graduation from the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, Mikhail Grigorievich joined the AS Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Republic of Kazakhstan, at which he worked his way up from an engineer to the head of the Scientific Department of the Institute of Nuclear Physics (Almaty), defended his Сandidate thesis and later the Doctoral one. Thanks to the results of his research, he became one of the recognised leaders of Soviet and world science in the field of nuclear fission physics.

Scientific interests of M. G. Itkis have always been connected with the main areas of research of FLNR JINR, at which he was invited to work in 1992. The JINR Scientific Council elected M. G. Itkis as FLNR Deputy Director for Scientific Work in 1993 and FLNR Director in 1997.

Professor Itkis is acknowledged as an experimental physicist. His research interests are connected with fundamental research of nuclear fission. He carried out a series of research devoted to probability of fission of pre-actinide nuclei. It gave an opportunity to consider nuclear shape in the field of extremely large deformations, shell structure, and nucleon pairing effect influence on the thermodynamical characteristics of heated nuclei, dependence of the constant of pair nucleon interaction inside the nucleus on its deformation, etc.

Mikhail Grigorievich achieved outstanding results while studying mass and energy characteristics of fission fragments induced by light charged particles and heavy ions. These experiments led to the discovery of new effects and regularities: asymmetric nuclear fission in the lead mass region and multimodality of low-energy fission fragment mass and energy distributions from lead to berkelium, correlation of the width of fission fragment mass distribution with the shape of the fissioning nucleus at the saddle point. The obtained results allowed scientists to advance in understanding of asymmetric fission nature, shell effects, and fluctuation-dissipation processes in the formation of mass distributions of fission fragments of cold and heated nuclei. This series of research received wide resonance at international symposiums on fission physics. It also stimulated experimental and theoretical study of the same effects in the USA, Germany, Belgium, Japan, and other countries.

Under the guidance of Mikhail Grigorievich, a large-scale series of research was carried out aimed at studying the process of superheavy nuclei fusion and fission with Z=106-122 near the Coulomb barrier. It became an essential step for defining the most promising synthesis reactions. It also allowed scientists to justify the programme of experiments on synthesis of superheavy nuclei near the island of stability. The programme implementation provided synthesis of new superheavy elements (114, 115, 116, 117, 118) of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.

From 2006 to 2020 M. G. Itkins held a post of the Vice Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. From May 2010 to September 2011, he was Acting JINR Director. Mikhail Grigorievich paid great attention to the issues of improving the basic facilities of laboratories, implementing new projects, expanding applied research, strengthening international scientific and technical cooperation, and further development of JINR. Since April 2020, M. G. Itkins is Deputy Academician Yu. Ts. Oganessian, Scientific Leader of the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions.

Scientific papers of the scientist received the First JINR Prizes several times. He is a laureate of international Flerov and Humboldt (Germany) Prizes. For his great contribution to the development of science, strengthening of international scientific and technical cooperation, M. G. Itkins was awarded the Medal of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland”, 2nd class in 2006. In 2010, he received the State Prize of the Russian Federation for the discovery of a new island of stability of superheavy elements (in cooperation with Yu.Ts. Oganessian). In 2016, he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

He received many other awards and medals of JINR Member States. M. G. Itkins is Veteran of Nuclear Energy and Industry, Honorary Worker of Science and Technology of the Russian Federation, Honorary Professor of three universities.

Mikhail Grigorievich is distinguished by his high sense of responsibility, devotion to science, dedication, and exceptional efficiency.

The JINR Directorate warmly congratulates Mikhail Grigorievich Itkis on his 80th anniversary and wish him good health, inexhaustible energy, happiness, and prosperity to his family!