Yuri Oganessian turns 90!

News, 14 April 2023

On 14 April, a world-famous scientist, Professor, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific Leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian turns 90.

Colleagues at his home Laboratory and the Institute and around the world deeply respect Yuri Tsolakovich. He has such personal traits as perseverance and dedication, the ability to see a scientific problem and unite people to solve it. Academician Oganessian continues actively developing FLNR research programmes, mainly at the Superheavy Element Factory, one of the basic projects of JINR.

Yu. Ts. Oganessian was born in Rostov-on-Don. After his graduation from the Moscow Mechanics Institute of Ammunition (now MEPhI), Yuri Tsolakovich was assigned to the Institute of Atomic Energy Institute (today the National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”), at which he joined the Flerov group. The main staff of the group moved to Dubna to the newly founded Joint Institute for Nuclear Research soon afterwards.

Yuri Tsolakovich devoted his whole scientific life to the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, at which he worked his way up from a young engineer heading the commissioning group of the U-300 cyclotron to the Director and the Scientific Leader of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions. He is a founder of the modern school of heavy ion physics, the author of three discoveries, a monograph, 11 inventions, more than 450 scientific papers.

Yu. Ts. Oganessian initiated fundamental work on the synthesis of new elements using heavy ion beams. He discovered the new class of nuclear reactions – cold fusion of massive nuclei, widely used today at various world laboratories for the synthesis of new elements up to Z = 113. To study extremely heavy nuclei, Yu. Ts. Oganessian proposed fusion reactions of neutron-enriched isotopes of actinides with accelerated calcium-48 ions and developed the precision experimental facility with record sensitivity that registered the formation and decay of individual atoms. In 1999-2015, isotopes of new chemical elements with Z = 112-118 were synthesised in these reactions for the first time. Their decay properties are direct evidence of the existence of “islands of stability” in the field of superheavy elements. This discovery is one of the most striking ones in nuclear physics over the past 40 years.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) recognised the priority of the scientific collaboration (FLNR JINR, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the USA) led by Yu. Ts. Oganessian in the discovery of new elements 114 – 118. Element 114 received the name flerovium and the symbol Fl in honour of the founder of FLNR, Academician G. N. Flerov. Element 115 got the name moscovium and the symbol Mc in honour of the Moscow region. Element 118 received the name oganesson in honour of Yu. Ts. Oganessian for his outstanding scientific achievements and significant contribution to the discovery of new superheavy elements.

Yu. Ts. Oganessian pays considerable attention to the training of scientific personnel. He is the Chairman of the FLNR JINR Dissertation Council. In 2005, the scientist organized and headed the Department of Nuclear Physics at the University “Dubna”. Among his students are 11 doctors and more than 20 candidates of sciences, including specialists of Russia and other JINR Member States.

For his scientific achievements, Yu. Ts. Oganessian received the USSR State Prize, the Russian Federation State Prize, the I. V. Kurchatov Prize of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Flerov, Alexander von Humbolt, Lise Meitner (European Physical Society), Demidov Prizes, the Sber Scientific Prize. In 2018, Yu. Ts. Oganessian was honoured with the highest award of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Lomonosov Gold Medal. In 2021, he was the first laureate of the UNESCO-Russia Mendeleev International Prize. In 2022, he was among the first laureates of the Sber Scientific Prize.

For many years, Yu. Ts. Oganessian was a member of the editorial board of such journals as “J.Phys.G.”, “Nuclear Physics News International”, “II Nuovo Cimente”, “Particles and Nuclei”, “Particle Accelerators”, a member of the scientific councils of GANIL (France), RIKEN (Japan).

Yu. Ts. Oganessian was elected a Foreign Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Armenian Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Doctor of Goethe University (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), the University of Messina (Italy), Maria Curie-Skłodowska University (Lublin, Poland), a Member of the American and European Physical Societies, an Honorary Fellow of the English Royal Society of Chemistry (HonFRSC).

For his considerable contribution to science, Yu. Ts. Oganessian received the Order “Red Banner of Labour”, the Order “Badge of Honour”, the Order of Friendship, the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degrees. He was awarded orders and medals of the JINR Member States.

The JINR multinational staff warmly congratulates Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian on his 90th anniversary and wishes him and his family good health, new striking scientific achievements, happiness, and prosperity.