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In Memory of Vsevolod Gantmakher

(08.10.1935 – 05.03.2015)

Gantmakher's photo

Vsevolod F. Gantmakher is a distinguished Russian scientist and a great authority in the field of low-temperature solid state physics. He initiated several novel research areas in Russia and created one of the most successful science schools. His pro-active attitude, open-mindedness, high responsibility and personal charm attracted the attention of many far beyond his native country.

Vsevolod Gantmakher was born in Moscow into the family of the well-known mathematician and professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) F.R. Gantmakher. Vsevolod Gantmakher received higher education at MIPT (1954-1959). As a second-year student, like all the students in his group, he started his research work at the Institute of Physical Problems (IPP). His supervisor was the prominent experimental physicist Yurii V. Sharvin. The work under the supervision of Yu.V.Sharvin and A.I.Shal'nikov who was at that time head of the laboratory where Vsevolod Gantmakher was doing his graduate and then his Ph.D. work, had a great influence on formation of his scientific style.

Having received his Ph.D. in 1964, V. Gantmakher continued work at the Institute of Solid State Physics (ISSP) of the USSR Academy of Sciences, which had been founded a year before. For the next three years, he worked on his D.Sc. thesis at IPP. It was at that time that he discovered a new way of measuring the parameters of degenerate fermion gas (the radio-frequency dimensional effect, also known as the Gantmakher effect) and the possibility of electromagnetic wave penetration into metals in a magnetic field by a chain of orbits (the Gantmakher-Kaner effect registered later as a discovery). At the same time he began teaching at MIPT where in 1971 he was appointed Professor.

In the first years after the foundation of ISSP, Vsevolod Gantmakher participated most actively in establishing the principles of research work laid out in the ISSP Charter. Then for nearly half a century his opinion was decisive in many disputable or controversial situations. For many years, as an outstanding personality and highest scientific authority, V.Gantmakher made a remarkable contribution to creating a friendly atmosphere and a creative approach to the research work at ISSP. In this sense, V.Gantmakher should rightfully be thought of as one of the founders of today's ISSP.

V.Gantmakher received his Doctor of Science degree in 1967, and since 1968 he carried out his entire research work in Chernogolovka, at the Laboratory of Low Temperature Physics, ISSP. It was not just moving to a new place to continue his previous research: for the first two or three years, V.Gantmakher actively sought for possible new areas of research for himself and his colleagues.

In 1974 he founded the Laboratory of Electron Kinetics that received part of the newly erected Magnetic building at ISSP. At that time V.Gantmakher's range of scientific interests was surprisingly broad, from superconductivity to nonlinear properties of normal metals, quantum phenomena in transport properties of semiconductors, and the problems of localization in disordered media. In later years, he demonstrated experimentally the possibility of Cooper pair localization in amorphous superconductors and occurrence of related superconductor-insulator quantum phase transition.

V.Gantmakher's teaching activities deserve special attention. From the foundation of the Department of Solid State Physics (SSP) at MIPT in 1964 and up to 1989 he was Deputy Head and since 2008 Head of the Department. The most important achievement of V.Gantmakher was organizing two original lecture courses embracing a wide range of problems in the physics of electron systems from normal metals to mesoscopic structures. V.Gantmakher constantly renewed his lecture courses and the laboratory workshop, and attracted young specialists to the work at the SSP Department. V.Gantmakher was known for his individual style of scientific tutorship, insistence on highest standards and fairness, which enabled him to reveal the abilities of students and disciples and teach them to find efficient approaches to solving scientific problems.

It is no wonder that V F Gantmakher's numerous disciples achieved success in science and other spheres and now work both in Russia and abroad. Among them there are at least a dozen D.Sc.'s researchers and the Nobel Prize Winners Andrey Geim and Konstantin Novoselov.

For many years V F Gantmakher headed the low-temperature physics seminar at ISSP. His broad mental outlook, inquisitive mind and the ability to smooth over contradictions created a unique atmosphere of the seminar which became known far beyond ISSP.

V F Gantmakher's successful research work was widely acknowledged by his colleagues and the scientific community. Already for his studies in the field of radio-frequency dimensional effects he was awarded the Lenin Komsomol Prize in 1968. In 2009, he received the P.L. Kapitza Gold Medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), and in 2011 he was elected Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His books "Carrier Scattering in Metals and Semiconductors" (co-authored with I B Levinson) and "Electrons in Disordered Media" were translated into English and became largely popular.

V.Gantmakher made a significant contribution to organization of Russian science. He was one of those who pioneered establishment of the grant system in Russia, and for years, from 1990 to 2011, was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Pis'ma v ZhETF (JETP Letters). As Editor-in-Chief, he had to reorganize the work of the editorial office completely and get rid of the long-standing traditions of dilatory style of work; he made the publication process among the fastest in the world. It is a great achievement of V.Gantmakher that Pis'ma v ZhETF managed to keep the position of one of the leading physical journals in this country and in the world.

The brilliant achievements of Vsevolod Gantmakher in science, teaching and manaegement are inseparable from his outstanding personal qualities, namely, wisdom, goodwill, honesty, great sense of humor and optimism. V.Gantmakher lived a surprisingly bright and happy life with family and friends, with all who knew him as students or colleagues. The bright memory of the prominent Scientist, Teacher and Man Vsevolod F. Gantmakher will remain with us forever.

By the materials Physics-Uspekhi, Volume 58 (2015), Issue 4

V. Gantmakher's Publications


142432, Chernogolovka, Moscow district, Russia