Vladimir Dimitrievich Kekelidze turned 75

News, 21 October 2022

On 21 October, JINR Vice-Director, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Dimitrievich Kekelidze turned 75.

A world-class specialist V. D. Kekelidze began his career as an experimental physicist in the field of elementary particle physics at JINR more than 50 years ago. In 1971, after receiving honours degree at Tbilisi State University he was sent
from postgraduate course of TSU to LHE JINR for scientific practice as a participant of the LIC experiment on regeneration of neutral kaons at the U-70 accelerator in Protvino. During the experiment, he was responsible for the operation of the electromagnetic calorimeter and the analysis of the semi-leptonic decays of neutral kaons (Ke3 and Kμ3). His high-precision measurements of the form factors of semi-leptonic decays of neutral kaons were included in the PDG tables and became the subject of his Candidate’s thesis in 1977. The basis of his doctoral thesis, defended in 1987, was new results on the polarisation of strange and charmed baryons formed in neutron-nuclear interactions.

In the same years, he came up with the original concept of an experiment to search for the CP-violation in B-meson decays at the CERN SPS accelerator, which the relevant committee at CERN recommended for implementation. In 1990, V. D. Kekelidze led the EXCHARM international collaboration on the study of strange and charmed particle production processes. For this purpose, a new channel of the U-70 accelerator, an experimental pavilion, and a magnetic spectrometer were built. In the series of experiments that followed, he obtained new data on hadronic birth of strange and charmed particles, exotic resonances, and for the first time observed and measured the alignment of K(890) vector meson spins.

In 1991, V. D. Kekelidze led a group of JINR physicists to prepare the NA48 experiment at the SPS accelerator at CERN. This experiment was the first to prove the existence of a direct violation of CP-symmetry in nature. This was accomplished using a unique detector, a liquid krypton electromagnetic calorimeter with record-breaking performance. For this purpose, V. D. Kekelidze initiated the creation of high-tech production of ultra-high purity krypton and a cryostat calorimeter in Russia. This was an almost impossible task due to the lack of research funding at that time, but he managed to get a grant from the International Science and Technology Centre. The created detector was then used in a whole series of experiments at SPS.

As an elected Head of the NA48/2 Collaboration and then as a visiting professor at CERN, V. D. Kekelidze participated in precision measurements of chiral theory parameters, discovered the cusp effect and obtained the most accurate characteristics of the decays of charged kaons.

During his work at JINR, Vladimir Dimitrievich worked his way up from the Head of Sector to the Director of the largest Laboratory of High Energy Physics JINR, which he has headed for many years and continues to supervise up to the present time. In 2008, V. D. Kekelidze led the preparation and implementation of the largest in the history of the Institute’s flagship Project NICA, which became the Russian mega-project “NICA Complex” in 2016. This project aims to search for and study nuclear matter phase transformations at extremely high baryonic densities and temperatures, and to study nucleon spin. During the realisation of the NICA Mega-Project under his leadership, the JINR accelerator complex was substantially modernised. New ion sources were created, a new linear accelerator for heavy ions and a booster synchrotron were commissioned, a number of new facilities, including a heavy ion collider, were created, and an extensive programme of physics research at NICA was developed. He initiated the first BM@N experiment, which is already obtaining exciting results. Three powerful international collaborations have been formed to conduct experiments. V. D. Kekelidze continues to successfully lead the implementation of the NICA project with great enthusiasm. This will provide JINR with a leading position in solving the fundamental problems of modern particle physics for a long time.

In 2021, Vladimir Dimitrievich was elected JINR Vice-Director. He was working to preserve and strengthen the international status of the Institute. In addition to his important research and organizational work at JINR, he managed to participate in the expert council of the Higher Attestation Commission, the IUPAP Commission. He is currently a member of editorial boards of a number of scientific journals. He actively participates in organizing committees of international scientific conferences, scientific advisory committees of CERN, scientific and technical and dissertation councils of JINR. His students, 9 candidates and 2 doctors of sciences, became well-known scientists working in leading scientific centres of many countries of the world.

V. D. Kekelidze is the author of over 300 scientific papers, the winner of the State Prize of Georgia and 12 JINR Prizes. He was elected an honorary doctor of Tbilisi State University and University of Plovdiv and awarded medals of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” of the 1 and 2 degrees, an honorary diploma of the Governor of the Moscow Region, a medal “50 years of Poland’s participation in JINR”, a badge “Veteran of Nuclear Power and Industry”, and a badge of honour “For Services to Dubna”. He was awarded the title “Honorary Worker of Science and Technology of the Russian Federation” and received the commendation from the JINR Directorate.

Friends and colleagues of Vladimir Dimitrievich sincerely congratulate him on his anniversary, wish him further creative success and achievements in scientific and organizational work, good health, and family well-being.

Today, on 21 October 2022, an international seminar “Cognition of matter through kaons and baryons” dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Vladimir Dimitrievich Kekelidze is being held at VBLHEP JINR.