28 July, 2016
Today (July 28th) would be the 112th birthday of Nobel prize winning Russian scientist Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov.
Cherenkov was born into a peasant family in the small village of Novaya Chigla, on the central belt of the European part of Russia. Despite this difficult upbringing, he still managed to go to university and graduate from the Physico-Mathematical Faculty of Voronezh State University in 1928.
His big discovery, for which he received the Nobel prize, came in 1934. Cherenkov noticed effects on blue light from a bottle of water subjected to bombardment by radioactive particles. Cherenkov radiation, linked to this effect, is named after him. His work proved to be highly important in the field of nuclear physics and also in cosmology, in particular, when investigating cosmic rays.
Outside of science, Cherenkov married Marya Putintseva in 1930. She was the daughter of A.M. Putintsev, a Professor of Russian Literature. Together they had two children: a son, Aleksei, and a daughter, Elena. He was also a lifelong member of the Russian Communist party, later receiving the “Hero of socialist labour” honorary title of the USSR in 1984.
Cherenkov has also been remembered in modern sci-fi films too. Creators of star trek named one of their characters “Pavel Chekov” as a reference to Cherenkov.
Cherenkov died on 6th January 1990 in Moscow, aged 85. He is buried at Novdevichy cemetery along with other important Russian Scientists, Poets, Authors, and Politicians.
Lawrence Toye, currently studying at Liden & Denz Moscow.