Nikolai Basov (December 14, 1922, Usman, Tambov Province – July 1, 2001) – Soviet physicist, Nobel Prize winner in Physics (1964). Double Hero of Socialist Labor (1969, 1982).
Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet Union Council in 9-11 convocations from Moscow. Chairman of the Board of All-Union Znanie Society (1978-1990).
Н. G. Basov was born in the town of Usman (now a town in the Lipetsk region). His father was Gennady Fedorovich Basov, his mother Zinaida Andreevna Molchanova. Russian. In 1927 the family moved from Usmani to Voronezh. A member of the Komsomol from 1936 to1950. In 1941 Basov finished secondary school in Voronezh, was called up for military service and sent to the Kuibyshev Medical Academy. In 1943 he qualified as a paramedic and was sent to the army, serving on the 1st Ukrainian front.
After the war, Basov entered MIFI and received his degree in 1950. From 1948 he worked as a laboratory assistant at the Lebedev Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he continued his work after receiving his diploma under M.A. Leontovich and A.M. Prokhorov. In 1953, Basov defended his Ph.D. thesis and in 1956, his doctoral thesis.
In 1958-1972, Basov was deputy director of FIAN, and from 1973 to 1989, he was director of this institute. Here, in 1963, he organized the Laboratory of Quantum Radiophysics, which he headed until his death. In 1962 Basov was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and in 1966 – academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, later he was elected a member of the Presidium of the Academy (member of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences from 1967 to 1990, RAS from 1991).
Basov was the editor-in-chief of journals “Nauka”, “Quantum”, “Quantum Electronics”, “Nature”, in 1978-1990 he was the chairman of the All-Union Enlightenment Society “Znanie”, he was succeeded on this post by K. V. Frolov.
Basov’s works are devoted to quantum electronics and its applications. Together with A. M. Prokhorov, he established the principle of amplification and generation of electromagnetic radiation by quantum systems, which allowed in 1954 to create the first quantum generator (maser) on a beam of ammonia molecules. The following year, a three-level inverse population level scheme was proposed, which found wide application in masers and lasers. These works (as well as the research of the American physicist C. Townes) formed the basis of a new direction in physics – quantum electronics. N. G. Basov and A. M. Prokhorov were awarded the Lenin Prize in 1959 for the development of a new principle of generation and amplification of radio waves (creation of molecular generators and amplifiers), and in 1964, together with C. H. Townes, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for “fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics, which led to the creation of generators and amplifiers on the laser-maser principle”.
Together with Y. M. Popov and B. M. Vul. M. Popov, Basov proposed the idea of creating various types of semiconductor lasers: the first injection laser was created in 1962, then lasers excited by an electron beam, and in 1964 – semiconductor lasers with optical pumping. Basov also conducted research on high-power gas and chemical lasers, under his leadership fluorine-hydrogen and iodine lasers were created, followed by the excimer laser.
A number of Basov’s works are devoted to the issues of propagation and interaction of powerful laser pulses with matter. He owned the idea of using lasers for controlled thermonuclear fusion (1961), he proposed methods of laser heating of plasma, analyzed the processes of stimulation of chemical reactions by laser radiation.
Basov developed the physical basis for the creation of quantum frequency standards, put forward ideas for new applications of lasers in optoelectronics (such as the creation of optical logic elements), and initiated many studies on nonlinear optics.