On selected works of N. A. Chernikov

Publications, 27 June 2019

We are glad to bring to your attention a new preprint «On Selected Works of N. A. Chernikov. Memorial Essay Dedicated to the 90th Anniversary of the Birth of Professor N. A. Chernikov» P2-2019-25 issued by the JINR Publishing Department. The author is Tagirov E. A.


The essay reports on two cycles of works of N. A. Chernikov in the 1960s, which received great recognition in the international community of theoretical physicists and remain relevant to modern times. The first part of the essay describes N. A. Chernikov’s generalization of the Boltzmann kinetic theory to the general theory of relativity, including construction of the fundamental equation, which in recent decades was called the Boltzmann-Chernikov equation.

In the second part, an almost adventure story is told about the discovery of a general-relativistic equation for a scalar field, which later became known as the equation conformally coupled with gravity. There is a fundamental difference of the quantum approach of Chernikov and the present author (1967 – 1968) for the general case of a field with a non-zero mass in space-time of arbitrary dimensionality from the classical consideration by R. Penrose (1964), the particular case of massless field based on conformal covariance of the latter. Nevertheless, his classical result has been a decisive hint for the quantum case with a non-zero mass and an arbitrary dimension of space-time. It is noted that it is the general equation with conformal coupling obtained by the field quantization that does satisfy the equivalence principle.

The investigation has been performed at the Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics, JINR.