Remembering founders: Nikolay Bogoliubov

News, 21 August 2022

The 21st of August is a memorable date in the history of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. One of the founding fathers of JINR, a world-famous theoretical physicist and mathematician Nikolay Nikolaevich Bogoliubov was born on this day in 1909. Academician Bogoliubov was the founder and the first Director of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics JINR. Later, he was the Director of the Institute in 1965-1989.

Like Lomonosov at his time, Nikolay Nikolaevich experienced and fully comprehended everything, somehow incredibly managing to do a lot in his life. The founder of cybernetics and the theory of artificial intelligence Norbert Wiener asked with a surprise about Nikolay Nikolaevich, “Aren’t there several Bogoliubovs – outstanding specialists in mathematics, mechanics, and physics?”

Bogoliubov had comprehensive knowledge of not only mathematics or physics, but also history, linguistics, literature. He was a polyglot perfectly knowing seven languages. He had great erudition in various fields of knowledge.

It is difficult to overestimate the contribution of the scientist to fundamental science. He was the founder of the theories of superconductivity and superfluidity (jointly with L. D. Landau), quantum field theory (jointly with D. V. Shirkov), theory of symmetry and study of quark models of elementary particles, development of the statistical mechanics of equilibrium and non-equilibrium processes. For the benefit of science, Bogoliubov wrote more than three hundred scientific papers during almost 70 years of his active scientific career. The full collection of them consists of 12 volumes.

In science, N. N. Bogoliubov left an imprint not only as a brilliant researcher, but also as a talented science organizer, often combining several positions at a time. At the beginning of the 1950s, he was one of the founders of the first Soviet nuclear centre in Sarov (now VNIIEF). Then N. N. Bogoliubov was sent to work in Dubna. He devoted more than 30 years of life to develop the Joint Institute. Here, he established the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics and then headed it, and several years later he became Director of the Institute. Moreover, in different years, N. N. Bogoliubov was Academician Secretary of the Department of Mathematics and a Member of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Director of the Mathematical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences n.a. V. A. Steklov, А. And a deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet. He was a founder of the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Moreover, he established two world scientific schools: of nonlinear mechanics and theoretical physics.

According to the memories of his contemporaries, Nikolay Nikolaevich was always open and kindly disposed to people. Those who were close with Bogoliubov noted his remarkable traits. According to the memories of his permanent secretary N. S. Isaeva, the door to his office was always open.

That should be why he was also a perfect teacher with numerous students, among whom there were Anatoly Logunov, Albert Tavkhelidze, Dmitry Shirkov, Vladimir Kadyshevsky, Alexey Sissakian, Ivan Todorov, Nguen Van Hieu, Victor Matveev, Gennady Zinoviev, Vitaly Shelest, Dmitry Kazakov, and others.

One of the most important streets of Dubna – Bogoliubov Avenue – bears the scientist’s name. The monument to Bogoliubov was erected in Nizhny Novgorod. The Bogoliubov Prize for the best research in theoretical physics was established at JINR.

Finally, the name of Bogoliubov has come down into scientific history in two methods: the Hartree – Fock – Bogoliubov method, a variational method in quantum theory, and the Krylov – Bogoliubov method aimed at obtaining approximate analytical solutions of nonlinear differential equations with small nonlinearity.