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Elevter Andronikashvili


Elevter Andronikashvili is one of the founders of modern physics in Georgia. He established the Georgian school of experimental physics that was recognized in the whole world.

Elevter Andronikashvili was born on December 25, 1910 in Sankt Petersburg in the family of famous lawyer Luarsab Nikoloz Andronikashvili. In 1920 his family moved to Moscow, but after an year the family settled in Tbilisi. Here, Elevter and his brother Irakli studied in Russian school. The children grew up in intellectual and emotional atmosphere. Politics, literature, art – this is the sphere of spiritual interests of the family of Luarsab Andronikashvili, the professor of The Tbilisi University. In this period their family used to spend the summer holidays in Kakheti, in native village of Ojio, which Elevter loved to the end of his life. As he said, Kakheti was the scale, according to which he measured the beauty of our and foreign countries.

In 1935, the brothers moved to Petersburg to live. In 1928 Elevter Andronikashvili entered the physical- mechanical faculty of the Petersburg Polytechnic Institute. His lecturers were the famous scientists, who later became his friends: I. Frenkel, L. Loitsianski, M.Bronshtain, L. Landaw. He underwent the practice in laboratories of the Physical-Technical Institute, headed by the following scientists: A. Ioffe (the founder of the Physical-Technical Institute), G.Kurdiumov, V. Frederiks.

Abram Ioffe , the director of the Physical-Technical Institute considered that it was necessary to found and to strengthen the new scientific centers in the USSR. On the basis of his institute the new institutes were creating continuously. Some of them were separated from the Physical-Technical Institute when Andronikashvili was a student undergoing practical training. This gave him possibility to see how to design buildings, how to train personnel, to distribute the staff and subject-matters among the old a new institutes. This played a great role in his future activities. For Andronikashvili, the physical-technical institute became an etalon of organizing the scientific activities.

After graduation, he works as an engineer at Aero-Hydrodynamic Central Institute (Moscow), in the department of testing the aviation materials. Being the only physicist of the Institute his obligation was to make consultations on absolutely different subjects this fact greatly widened his horizon, enriched his knowledge and developed his ability to go deep to the heart of the problems.

Andronikashvili, from the very beginning was also interested in the problems of applied character, collaborated with different laboratories, made contacts with physiologists, chemists, engineers, doctors, as this was necessary for solving a specific problem.

In the end of 1934, Andronikashvili started to work at Tbilisi State University holding a position of associated professor, conducted the lectures for students and post-graduate students of physical faculty and carried out an intensive scientific work – headed the laboratory of X-ray structure analysis. His enthusiasm admired the young scientists and students, but the friendly attitude to them did not prevent him from being exacting. Already in this period Andronikashvili had the valuable asset for a scientist – lack of fear of novelty.

In January, 1940, he started to work at Moscow Institute of Physical Problems under the guidance of Peter Kapitsa. He chose the subject from low-temperature physics, this is superconductivity.

From the very beginning of Great Patriotic War in 1941, the research institutes of the USSR Academy of Sciences were evacuated from Moscow. First, Andronikashvili moved to Kazan together with Kapitsa Institute, but then returned to Tbilisi where he worked intensively in the sphere of biophysics.

In January 1, 1945, by invitation of Academician Kapitsa, Andronikashvili returned to the Institute of Physical Problems as a doctoral student. He works with enthusiasm on the problems of liquid helium superfluidity . In this period he had close relations with well-known physicists: L Landau, A. Migdal, V. Peshkov, A. Shalnikov. The creative relation with Landau determined greatly the style of relation with other physicists, especially with theorists, the work without whom he could not imagine in future.

Andronikashvili stayed at Kapitsz institute three and halve years and finished his doctoral thesis "Hydrodynamics of Superfluidity", which he defended successfully on June 30, 1948 at the meeting of scientific council of the Institute of Physical Problems.

The works of Andronikashvili in the sphere of low-temperature physics are recognized as classical. In 1952 the author of these works was awarded the State Prize. The main results of the thesis are included in textbooks and monographs published both in our country and abroad.

In 1948, by the request of NikolozMuskhelishvili, the President of Georgian Academy of Sciences and by Niko Ketskhoveli, the rector of the Tbilisi State University, Andronikashvili returned to Georgia and since then his extensive activities have started. His obligations were to arrange the special laboratories of Physical-Technical faculty of Tbilisi University, to organize a new department of experimental physics, to work out new methods of teaching. Under his guidance and by his co-authorship an original textbook is written for laboratory works in general physics. The training of young scientists is started.

In Autumn, 1950,Andronikashvili was elected a Corresponding Member of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. In 1951, he became a head of the newly founded institute of physics, Georgian Academy of Sciences. Since this period, the progressive ideas of Andronikashvili in science and in organizational ability, his foresight, great enthusiasm and energy, the ability to direct the personnel, a rich intuition of a physicist have been clearly revealed.

In 1955 Andronikashvili was elected a academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

Andronikashvili’s scientific activities in solid state physics have been started. While being in doctorate, he worked in low-temperature physics, but after he returned to Georgia he had to work in cosmic-ray physics, as this was within the interests of Georgian physicists. So, he formed a group working in this sphere, which lately became famous. After establishing a cryogenic laboratory in Tbilisi, he returned to low-temperature physics. He formed the world famous school of Georgian physicists as well in this sphere. He supervised the process of building the atomic reactor and some activities connected with the atomic technology at almost one and the same time. After building the atomic reactor, he again returned to solid state physics, in particular to the research of the significant problems of solid state physics by using the reactor radiation. He devoted more and more time to biophysics, becoming lately the center of his attention and one more a well-known group established by him still works in this sphere.

The basis of such versatility and variety is the firm belief of Andronikashvili: a role of nation in modern society is determined by its contribution into the development of culture, science and technology. Thus, the Georgian physicists as well should try to cover widely the scientific problems that the modern mankind faces, to develop fundamental investigations and at the same time to help to develop the other spheres of science, technology and economics in Georgia.

Andronikashvili is the author and coauthor of about 200 scientific works. Of course, we cannot describe each of them here. We just limit ourselves to shortly list the main results.

In master's thesis (1935) Andronikashvili considered the phase transition mechanism on the basis of thermodynamics and statistics – formation of initial signs of solid phase in melted metals. "The thesis played the leading role in my future activities" says Andronikashvili, and indeed, such ideas determined the subject-matter and the content of Andronikashvili’s future works, not only in solid state physics, but also in physics of superfluidity (signs of vortices), in biophysics (phase transformations in biopolymer molecules) and even to his attitude to the problem of tumor.

His conception according to which the point defects of crystal lattice formed as a result of radiation are condensed in dislocation loops is now adopted by other scientists as well.

Andronikashvili's ability - to see the common feature in absolutely different spheres of science, brought him to the research in biophysics. His experience and ideas he lately concentrated on it and developed it in solid state low-temperature physics and nuclear physics.

In 1945-46, Andronikashvili ascertained by elegant experiment the paradoxical statement of Landau’s theory of superfluidity: liquid helium can simultaneously make two motions not depending on each other. "Andronikashvili’s experiment" is always mentioned in all monographs or surveys devoted to superfluid helium. He studied the temperature dependence of density and viscosity of the normal component of helium. He discovered that in contrast to Landau’s assumption the superfluid component of helium takes part in rotation of vessel and normal component. This experiment made basis for a great cycle of works written by Andronikashvii and his followers, in which the explanation of Onsager- Fainman that the superfluid helium rotation is caused by vortices has been proved; many characteristic properties of these quantum vortices has been established, in particular, the anisotropy of elastic and viscous properties of rotating liquid helium caused by location of vortices along the rotating axis.

Andronikashvili together with his followers was the first who studied the transverse pulses of interacting products caused by the particles of cosmic rays. This gave them the possibility to raise a question about the probability of existence of internal structure of elemental particles. These fundamental results were included in several editions of encyclopedic and monographic character.

Under the leadership of Andronikashvili at the reactor of the Institute the In-Ga radiation contour – strong source of gamma rays was created for the first time in the world. He headed as well the development of cold loops of the reactor, in which the low-temperature samples were irradiated. This initiated the development of a new trend – the low-temperature radiation materialscience, in which the Institute of Physics played the leading role in the USSR. For this reason, ElevterAndronikashvili was assigned to the post of the chairman of scientific council of solid state radiation physics at the Academy of Sciences, USSR.

Already in 1961, Andronikashvili and his followers on the basis of the conception developed by them discovered the formation of dislocations in alkali haloid crystals as a result of neutron irradiation. As a result of irradiation of mechanically stressed crystals, it became possible to increase the strength and the plasticity of crystal simultaneously, that seems to be mutually exclusive.

By the method based on the measurement of gamma radiation radiated by the material after its neutron irradiation, the change of distribution and concentration of microelements in human organism in case of tumor was proved, being caused by some pathological phenomena, in particular, by zinc.

By initiative and leadership of Andronikashvili, the most precision calorimeters were created at the Institute of Physics, giving the possibility to implement the thermodynamic approach to bio-macromolecular physics. The conformational transitions of the molecules of proteins and nucleic acids, considered as phase transitions, were studied, the appropriate diagrams of state were plotted, the especial role of so-called bound water in the structure of bio-macromolecules and in the vitality was established, the significant difference of thermal properties of protein in helix and coil states at low temperature was discovered.

In 1978, for the cycle of works in molecular biology Andronikashvili was awarded the State Prize of the USSR.

ElevterAndroikashvili, the academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences, the honored scientist, twice laureate of State Prize, the director of the Institute of Physics, Georgian Academy of Science died in Tbilisi in September 8, 1989 at the age of 78. He is buried in Didube pantheon for writers and statesmen.

Now, Iv.Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, the Institute of Physics is named after its founder ElevterAndronikashvili.

The source: from the collection "About Physicists"
A. Ishkhneli, I. Mamaladze – Elevter Andronikashvili (Biography).
Edited by TSU, 1980.