Synchrophasotron: scientific breakthrough turns 65

News, 13 April 2022

On 12 April, the historical and scientific seminar dedicated to the 65th anniversary of the legendary Dubna Synchrophasotron was held in the Museum of History of Science and Technology of JINR. Participants of the event paid tribute to the people who commissioned and worked at the world largest atomic machine of that time. They also recalled the scientific results achieved at it.

At the beginning of the event, the audience visited the jubilee exhibition “Synchrophasotron: scientific breakthrough turns 65”. Kirill Kozubsky, curator of the JINR Museum funds, told the audience that three anniversaries related to the Synchrophasotron coincided in 2022: 65 years of the accelerator itself, 115 years since the birth of Academician Vladimir Veksler, and 110th anniversary of the birth of a physicist, Doctor of Technical Sciences Leonid Zinoviev. The scientists created the facility.

A VBLHEP chief researcher, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Vladimir Alexeevich Nikitin made a report “The history of the Synchrophasotron: from the beginning to the result”. He spoke in detail about the history of the facility, starting from the discovery of the autophasing principle to the discoveries made at the Synchrophasotron of JINR. The Dubna Synchrophasotron held the world leadership in the energy of accelerated particles for three years. In 1960, an antiparticle called antisigma minus hyperon was discovered at the machine. In 1970, scientists produced the first beams of relativistic deuterons with the energy of 10 GeV at the Synchrophasotron. After that, nuclei of various chemical elements were also accelerated.

Vladimir Alexeevich shared in the interview for the JINR website his impressions of his pre-graduate internship at the construction site of the Synchrophasotron at JINR in 1956. “When I came up to the ring being constructed, there were still unfilled areas left, and the train was pushing a platform with yet another batch of magnets into the gigantic hall. I looked at the future vacuum chamber of the accelerator that had not been fully ready yet and I got goosebumps. Have people really reached this? Can they really implement it? This incredible combination of such complex phenomena seemed impossible. But there were brave people. When Niels Bohr saw this machine in 1961, he said that great courage was necessary to design and fulfill such a project. Indeed, not only knowledge and money were necessary but also courage, determination.”

Larisa Leonidovna Zinovieva continued the programme of the seminar with a report. She worked as a JINR researcher in the fields of applied mathematics for accelerators for many years. She spoke about her father Leonid Petrovich Zinoviev and his role in the creation and operation of the Synchrophasotron. It was Leonid Petrovich who supervised the adjustment and commissioning of the facility in record short time. He delved into each issue and knew thoroughly everything about the machine. Later, from 1957 to 1988, he headed the Synchrophasotron Department of the Laboratory of High Energies. “There is nobody I can entrust the machine but you,” the lecturer quoted the words of Vladimir Iosifovich Veksler, the Director of the Laboratory of High Energies JINR, addressed to Zinoviev. Veksler and Zinoviev were among 12 people awarded with the Lenin Prize in 1959 for the creation and bringing the Synchrophasotron to its design parameters.

The event was concluded with the documentary “Lords of the ring. The history of the creation of the Synchrophasotron” by Kultura TV Channel based on the materials provided by L. L. Zinovieva.

JINR’s symbol – legendary Synchrophasotron – turns 65