- Iosif Shklovsky
Iosif Samuilovich Shklovsky ("Ио́сиф Самуи́лович Шкло́вский") (
Glukhov, Ukraine, July 1 1916– Moscow, March 3 1985) was a Soviet astronomerand astrophysicist. His last name is sometimes given as Shklovskii or Shklovskij, and his first name is sometimes given as Josif or Josef. He is remembered for work in theoretical astrophysicsand other topics.
He won the
Lenin Prizein 1960 and the Bruce Medalin 1972. Asteroid 2849 Shklovskijis named in his honor. He was a Corresponding Member of Soviet Academy of Sciencesbeginning in 1966.
Shklovsky was born in
Glukhov, a city in the Ukrainian part of the Russian Empire. After graduating from the seven-year secondary school, he worked as a foreman on building Baikal Amur Mainline. In 1933 Shklovsky entered the Physico-Mathematical Faculty of the Moscow State University. There he studied until 1938, when he took a Postgraduate Course at the Astrophysics Department of the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute and remained working in the Institute until the end of his life.
He specialized in theoretical
astrophysicsand radio astronomy, as well as the Sun's corona, supernovae, and cosmic rays and their origins. He showed, in 1946, that the radio-wave radiation from the Sun emanates from the ionized layers of its corona, and he developed a mathematical method for discriminating between thermal and nonthermal radio waves in the Milky Way. He is noted especially for his suggestion that the radiation from the Crab Nebulais due to synchrotron radiation, in which unusually energetic electrons twist through magnetic fields at speeds close to that of light. Shklovsky proposed that cosmic rays from supernova explosions within 300 light years of the sun could have been responsible for some of the mass extinctions of life on earth.
In 1959 Shklovsky examined the orbital motion of Mars's inner satellite Phobos. He concluded that its orbit was decaying, and noted that if this decay was attributed to friction with the Martian atmosphere, then the satellite must have an exceptionally low density. In this context he voiced a suggestion that Phobos might be hollow, and possibly of artificial origin. This interpretation has since been refuted by more detailed study, but the apparent suggestion of extraterrestrial involvement caught the public imagination, though there is some disagreement as to how seriously Shklovsky intended the idea to be taken.
His memoir, "Five Billion Vodka Bottles to the Moon: Tales of a Soviet Scientist," was published posthumously in 1991 by W.W. Norton & Co.
*I.S. Shklovsky: "Cosmic Radio Waves", Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1960
*I.S. Shklovsky: "Вселенная, жизнь, разум" (English:"Universe, Life, Intelligence"), Moscow, USSR Academy of Sciences Publisher, 1962
**Revised and extended English translation of this book, coauthored with
Carl Sagan, was first published in 1966, under the name "Intelligent Life in the Universe", one of the latest reissues was published in 1998 by Emerson-Adams Press (ISBN 1-892803-02-X)
*I.S. Shklovsky: "Physics of the Solar Corona", Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK, 1965
*I.S. Shklovskii, "Supernovae", New York: Wiley, 1968
*I.S. Shklovsky: "Stars: Their Birth, Life, Death",San Francisco, 1978, ISBN 0-7167-0024-7
*I.S. Shklovsky: "Five Billion Vodka Bottles to the Moon: Tales of a Soviet Scientist", W.W. Norton & Company, 1991.
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