Nikolai Gennadievich Basov

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Nikolai Basov, 1964

Nikolai Gennadijewitsch Basov ( Russian: Николай Геннадиевич Басов , scientific transliteration Nikolaj Gennadjevič Basov ; *  December 14, 1922 in Usman ; † July 1, 2001 in Moscow ) was a Russian physicist and one of the founders of quantum electronics . For these services he received the 1964 physics - Nobel Prize .


Basov came from an academic family and grew up in the central Russian city of Voronezh . After the outbreak of World War II, he went to a military academy, which he graduated in 1943 with the rank of lieutenant in medical services. He then took part in the Second World War as a medical assistant. It was not until 1946 that he began studying physics at the Institute of Physical Technology in Moscow, which he graduated in 1950. From this year he worked on his dissertation at the Lebedev Institute for Physics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in the laboratory for vibration research with Mikhail Leontowitsch and Alexander Prokhorov , where he also held the position of a research assistant (assistant). Together with Prokhorov he worked on the development of the (ammonia) maser concept and completed his habilitation ( Russian doctorate ) in 1956 with a thesis entitled A molecular oscillator .

From 1958 to 1972 he was deputy director, from 1973 to 1988 director of the Lebedev Institute and, at the same time, laboratory director from 1962. From 1957 he investigated the possibilities of the maser concept in the optical area (laser). During these years, a group of young physicists worked in the vibration laboratory under the direction of Prokhorov in the new field of radio spectroscopy . After building a device called quantum or molecule generator in the Soviet Union for generating and amplifying electromagnetic radiation on the basis of the maser principle , the laboratory team turned to the problem of the theoretical justification of the transfer of the maser principle to optical frequency ranges. In 1958, Bassow proposed a semiconductor laser and discussed various types of application. These ideas were developed for the high-power laser implemented in 1963.

As early as the early 1960s, he next investigated the use of lasers to produce plasmas for thermonuclear fusion and, together with Oleg Krochin, developed the proposal for a hybrid reactor . From 1963 he devoted himself to the use of lasers for optical computers and from 1968 for televisions. In the 1970s he developed gas lasers and studied chemical reactions with lasers. In order to promote the technical utilization of laser research, Bassow proposed the establishment of a corresponding design office (realized in 1962 in Troitsk near Moscow).

Basov was a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (1962 corresponding member, 1966 full member, 1967 member of the executive committee). In 1967 he was appointed a corresponding member and two years later an external member of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin , and in 1971 he was also admitted to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina . In 1998 he became a Fellow of the American Physical Society .

Nobel Prize

In 1964 he got together with Charles H. Townes and Prokhorov the physics - Nobel Prize for fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which for the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser - laser led -Prinzips . The awarding of the Nobel Prize to two Soviet researchers was hailed by the party and state leadership in Moscow as the “triumph of socialist physical science” and made both Basov and Prokhorov famous and popular in one fell swoop.


Basow was the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine Kwantowaja Elektronika ("The Quantum Electronics") and the Soviet Journal of Laser Research . He was committed to the popularization of science and since 1967 was editor-in-chief of the magazine Priroda ("Nature"). Since 1978 he has also headed the Soviet mass society for the popular sciences Snanie (Knowledge). In recognition of his role in Soviet science, he was elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Bassow had been married since 1950 and had two sons.



The Russian Academy of Sciences awards the Basov Gold Medal for outstanding achievements in the field of physics .

Individual evidence

  1. About the LPI ( Memento from March 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  2. ^ NG Bassow gold medal. Russian Academy of Sciences, accessed April 28, 2018 (in Russian).


  • O. Krokhin: Obituary Nikolai Gennadievich Basov . In: Physics Today . Volume 55, 2002, No. 10, pp. 68-70.
  • Lexicon of eminent natural scientists . Volume 1, Heidelberg, 2007, pp. 116-117.

Web links

Commons : Nicolay Basov  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files