#18 - JRL 7015
January 13, 2003
In Honor of Igor Kurchatov: The Symbol of the Russian Nuclear Power
Russia celebrated the 100 anniversary of iscientist of the nuclear power
The year 1943 was remarkable for the historic order of the Soviet government to set up Laboratory 2 on the base of the Soviet Union Academy of Sciences. The goal of the lab was to create an A-bomb. The first plutonium bomb blew up in August of 1949. The USA's monopoly on the nuclear weapon was destroyed.
A solemn meeting took place in the premises of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The meeting was devoted to the 100th anniversary since the birth of outstanding Soviet nuclear scientist, Igor Kurchatov. President Vladimir Putin sent a welcoming letter to the participants of the meeting. RIA Novosti reported that there were governmental officials, State Duma deputies, scientists and others present at the meeting. Yury Osipov, the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences said: "The 20th century is called the science century, which is absolutely right. One of the brightest scientific achievements is the progress that the humanity had in the study of the nuclear power. A very special place in this work belongs to Igor Kurchatov."
Alexander Rumyantsev, the Russian Minister for Nuclear Power, pointed out: "The professional deed that academician Igor Kurchatov did remains very important for us still, since the first Soviet nuclear field was established in the country under his guidance. With the help of that man the country conducted the test of the nuclear weapon, laid the foundation of the nuclear power-engineering, launched the first ever nuclear power plants, constructed the first ice-boat and the first nuclear submarine. With the help of that man the country also learned, how to organize large state projects, how to attract the intellectual potential for those purposes, and how to bring fundamental research to practice."
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov stressed out in his speech: "The nuclear parity of potentials between great superpowers has been established in the world, owing to Igor Kurchatov's works. This allowed to keep the world away from the global nuclear catastrophe."
Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov, regretfully stated that some people still believe that the first A-bomb was created in the Soviet Union owing to the activity of the intelligence service: "They say that Kurchatov only had to copy it and that was all he had to do. This is absolutely not true. The British scientists, who participated in the American A-bomb project, returned to England in 1946. They knew more than Soviet intelligence officers did. Yet, England created its first A-bomb only in 1952, while Igor Kurchatov did that in 1949. Igor Kurchatov's works are an example of high level of civic consciousness."
Unfortunately, this high level of civic consciousness is not high at all nowadays. This is the reason why Russian gifted scientists either leave abroad or start working for the West, living in Russia. Academician Igor Kurchatov was awarded with the title of the Hero of Social Labor three times, he was a four-time State Prize laureate. In 1959 he was decorated by the Global Council of the World for his contribution in the strengthening of peace and friendship between the nations. Zhores Alferov, the vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: "There are very few people like Igor Kurchatov in the world."
The people, who were employed at Laboratory 2 of the Soviet Academy of Science, worked 18 or even 20 hours every day, without a day off. Igor Kurchatov would sleep at his desk, then he would take a cold shower and then -- back to work again.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov