Zhores Alferov

Zhores Alferov
Alferov in 2012
Born Zhores Ivanovich Alferov
(1930-03-15) 15 March 1930
Vitebsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet (until 1991) / Russian (since 1991)
Alma mater Saint Petersburg State Electrotechnical University "LETI" (old name V. I. Ulyanov Electrotechnical Institute "LETI")
Known for Heterotransistors
Spouse(s) Tamara Darskaya (m. 1967)
Awards Global Energy Prize (2005)
Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology (2001)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2000)
Demidov Prize (1999)
Ioffe Prize (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1996)
USSR State Prize (1984)
Lenin Prize (1972)
Stuart Ballantine Medal (1971)
Order of Lenin (1986)
Scientific career
Fields Applied physics
Institutions Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute

Zhores Ivanovich Alferov (Russian: Жоре́с Ива́нович Алфёров, [ʐɐˈrʲɛs ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ ɐɫˈfʲɵrəf]; Belarusian: Жарэс Іва́навіч Алфёраў; born 15 March 1930) is a Soviet and Russian physicist and academic who contributed significantly to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics. He is the inventor of the heterotransistor and the winner of 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is also a Russian politician and has been a member of the lower house of the Russian parliament the State Duma, since 1995.

Birth and education

Alferov was born in Vitebsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union, to a Belarusian father, Ivan Karpovich Alferov, a factory manager, and a Jewish mother, Anna Vladimirovna Rosenblum.[1][2] Zhores was named after French socialist Jean Jaurès while his older brother was named Marx after Karl Marx.[1] In 1947 he completed high school 42 in Minsk and started Belarusian Polytechnic Academy. In 1952, he graduated from V. I. Ulyanov (Lenin) Electrotechnical Institute in Leningrad. Since 1953 he has worked in the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences. From the Institute, he earned several scientific degrees: a Candidate of Sciences in Technology in 1961 and a Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics in 1970. He has been director of the Institute from 1987 to 2003. He was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1972, and a full member in 1979. From 1989, he has been Vice-President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and President of its Saint Petersburg Scientific Center. Since 1995 he is a member of the State Duma on the list of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2000 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Herbert Kroemer, "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and optoelectronics".

Alferov invented the heterotransistor. This coped with much higher frequencies than its predecessors, and apparently revolutionised the mobile phone and satellite communications. Alferov and Kroemer independently applied this technology to firing laser lights. This, in turn, revolutionised semiconductor design in a host of areas, including LEDs, barcodes readers and CDs.

Hermann Grimmeiss, of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards Nobel prizes, said: "Without Alferov, it would not be possible to transfer all the information from satellites down to the Earth or to have so many telephone lines between cities."[3]

Research area

Since 1962, he has been working in the area of semiconductor heterostructures. His contributions to physics and technology of semiconductor heterostructures, especially investigations of injection properties, development of lasers, solar cells, LED's, and epitaxy processes have led to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics.

He has an almost messianic conception of heterostructures, writing: "Many scientists have contributed to this remarkable progress, which not only determines in large measure the future prospects of solid state physics but in a certain sense affects the future of human society as well."[4]

Political activity

Alferov was elected to the Russian Parliament, the State Duma in 1995 as a deputy for the political party Our Home is Russia, generally considered to be supportive of the policies of President Boris Yeltsin. In 1999 he was elected again, this time on the list of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. He was re-elected in 2003 and again in 2007, when he was placed second on the party's federal electoral list behind Gennady Zyuganov and ahead of Nikolai Kharitonov, even though he is not a member of the party.[5] He was one of the signers of the Open letter to the President Vladimir V. Putin from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences against clericalisation of Russia.

Alferov is an atheist and expressed objections against religious education, however he is not against religion as such.[6]

Non-profit service

Alferov serves on the advisory council of CRDF Global.[7]


Russian and Soviet awards
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland:
    • 1st class (14 March 2005) - for outstanding contribution to the development of national science and active participation in legislative activities;
    • 2nd class (2000);
    • 3rd class (June 4, 1999) - for outstanding contribution to the development of national science and training of highly qualified personnel in connection with the 275th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
    • 4th class (March 15, 2010) - for services to the state contribution to the development of national science and many years of fruitful activity
  • Order of Lenin (1986)
  • Order of the October Revolution (1980)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1975)
  • Order of the Badge of Honour (1959)
  • State Prize of the Russian Federation (2001) in Science and Technology (August 5, 2002) for his work, "Fundamental studies of the formation and properties of heterostructures with quantum dots and the creation of lasers based on them"
  • Lenin Prize (1972) - for basic research in semiconductors and heterojunction development of new devices based on them
  • USSR State Prize (1984) - for developing isoperiodic heterostructures based on quaternary solid solutions of A3B5 semiconductor compounds
Foreign awards
  • Order of Francisc Skorina (Belarus, 17 May 2001) - for his great personal contribution to the development of physical science, the organization of the Belarusian-Russian scientific and technical cooperation, strengthening the friendship between the peoples of Belarus and Russia
  • Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, 5th class (Ukraine, 15 May 2003) - for personal contribution to the development of cooperation between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in the socio-economic and humanitarian spheres
  • Officer of the Legion of Honour (France)
Other awards
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (Sweden, 2000; with Herbert Kroemer and Jack Kilby) - for the development of semiconductor heterostructures for high-speed optoelectronics
  • Nick Holonyak Award (Optical Society of U.S., 2000)
  • EPS Europhysics Prize (European Physical Society, 1978) - for new works in the field of heterojunctions
  • AP Karpinsky Prize (Germany, 1989) - for his contributions to physics and technology of heterostructures
  • AF Ioffe award (RAN, 1996) - for work, "Photoelectric converters of solar radiation on the basis of heterostructures"
  • Demidov Prize (Scientific Demidov Foundation, Russia, 1999)
  • Kyoto Prize (Inamori Foundation, Japan, 2001) - for success in creating semiconductor lasers operating in continuous mode at room temperature - a pioneer step in optoelectronics
  • Vernadsky Award (NAS, 2001)
  • "Russian National Olympus". The title "living legend" (Russia, 2001)
  • International "Global Energy Prize" (Russia, 2005)
  • H. Welker Gold Medal (1987) - for pioneering work on the theory and technology of devices based on III-V compounds of groups
  • Stuart Ballantine Medal (Franklin Institute, USA, 1971) - for the theoretical and experimental studies of double-heterostructure laser, which were created by laser light sources of small size, operating in continuous mode at room temperature
  • Popov Gold Medal (Academy of Sciences, 1999)
  • SPIE Gold Medal (2002)
  • Award Symposium on GaAs (1987) - for pioneering work in semiconductor heterostructures based on III-V compounds and group development of diode lasers and photodiodes
  • Awarded "Golden Plate" (Academy of Achievement, USA, 2002)
  • XLIX Mendeleev Reader - 19 February 1993
  • Honorary Doctorate from Tampere University of Technology (2007)
  • Honorary Professor of the medal and MIPT (2008)
  • Honorary Member of the Moscow Society of Naturalists (2009)[8]
  • Honorary Doctor of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University (State Educational Institution of the Russian-Armenian (Slavic) University, Armenia, 2011)

See also


  1. 1 2 Алферов, Жорес. Lenta (in Russian). 24 December 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  2. Zhores Alferov - Facts
  3. Staff writers (10 October 2000). "Russian and Americans share hi-tech Nobel". BBC News. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  4. Lib.semi.ac.cn Archived July 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. (PDF)
  5. Communists, Patriots Name Their Leaders, Kommersant, 7 September 2007.
  6. "Prominent Russians: Zhores Alferov". RT.com. Retrieved 21 April 2012. In public life the scientist is a strong supporter of communism, an atheist strongly objecting to advancement of religious education in Russia, and proponent of science and knowledge as the means to see a better future.
  7. "Dr. Zhores I. Alferov". CRDF Global. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  8. Moscow Society of Naturalists official site (in Russian)
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