Skip Navigation

Yuri Oganessian

Class of 2014-15

Yuri Oganessian
Yuri Oganessian

Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia
Russian Academy of Sciences
State Prize from the President of Russia (1975 and 2010)

Acknowledged as a leading figure in experimental nuclear physics, Yuri Oganessian conducts research into nuclear reactions with a focus on the synthesis of new chemical elements.

His name is closely connected with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, about eighty miles north of Moscow. Oganessian is credited with three confirmed element discoveries and eleven inventions.

Today, Oganessian serves as the scientific leader of JINR’s Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions and is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). With his colleagues, Oganessian has conducted fundamental experiments on the synthesis of elements with atomic numbers between 102 and 106. An atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of a specific element.

Oganessian proposed—and with his colleagues, developed­—a method to synthesize extremely heavy nuclei through fusion reactions of calcium-48 nuclei, an extremely rare isotope of calcium with twenty protons and twenty-eight neutrons, with nuclei of artificial actinide elements, which have atomic numbers from 93 to 98. In experiments conducted from 1999 to 2010, these reactions yielded, for the first time, elements with atomic numbers of 113 through 118. The decay properties of these new elements proved the existence of the “island of stability” for very heavy elements, a theory first proposed in the late 1960s.

He earned a doctorate from Moscow State University in 1963 and a doctorate from JINR in 1970.

As chairman of the RAS Scientific Council on Applied Nuclear Physics, he coordinates applied research at the Russia’s leading nuclear physics centers. His work earned the USSR State Prize in 1975, the I. V. Kurchatov Prize of the RAS in 1989, the G. N. Flerov Prize of the JINR in 1993, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize in 1995, the L. Meitner Prize from the European Physical Society in 2000, the MAIK Nauka/Interperiodika in 2001, the Gold Medal of the Armenian National Academy of Science in 2008, and the State Prize of Russia in 2010.

He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Physics, Nuclear Physics News International, Il Nuovo Cimento, Physics of Elementary Particles and Atomic Nuclei, and Particle Accelerators, as well on the scientific counsels of GANIL (France), RIKEN (Japan) and FAIR (Germany). He is a foreign member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the National Academy of Science of Armenia, as well as an Honorary Doctor of Goethe University in Germany and the University of Messina in Italy.

As a TIAS Fellow, Oganessian will work with faculty and students in the Cyclotron Institute and the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science.