Il'ja Mikhailovich Frank
(1908 - 1990)
Ilya Frank was born on October 23, 1908, in Leningrad, Russia. Frank graduated from
the Moscow State University in 1930. In 1931, Frank became a senior
scientist in the State Optical Institute’s laboratory in Leningrad.
In 1934, Frank became a scientific officer at the
P.N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
That same year, Pavel Cherenkov discovered that light is emitted by
charged particles traveling at very high speeds through water. Frank
and Igor Tamm provided the theoretical explanation of this effect, which
occurs when the particles travel through an optically transparent medium
at speeds greater than the speed of light in that medium. This discovery
resulted in the development of new methods for detecting and measuring
the velocity of high-speed particles and became of great importance
for research in nuclear physics.
Frank’s work also included collaboration with
Cherenkov and Tamm in research on electron radiation. Frank also specialized
in the study of gamma rays and neutron beams.
In 1944, he became head of the department of physics
at the Moscow State University. Since 1957, he has headed the Neutron
Laboratory of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Investigations. Frank was
made a member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R in 1946.
Frank was awarded the Nobel
Prize in Physics in 1958, along with Pavel Cherenkov and Igor
for their work in explaining the phenomenon of Cherenkov radiation.
Frank died on June 22, 1990.