Zhores I. Alferov, 1930-2019

In Memoriam: Zhores I. Alferov, 1930-2019

March 01, 2019

Zhores I. Alferov, Nobel Laureate and OSA Fellow, has passed away at the age of 88.  Alferov shared one-half of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics with Herbert Kroemer "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and opto-electronics." The other half of the prize was presented to Jack S. Kilby.  Alferov’s prize winning work centered on the development of the heterostructure semiconductor, which would become the foundation for the modern era of computers and information technology. His breakthrough research would lead to development of heterostructure lasers and heterotransistors resulting in innovations such as LED screens, solar cells, and the fiber-optic technology of cellphones.

Alferov was born in Vitebsk, Russia, in 1930, and his father, Ivan, was a member of the Bolsheviks. Alferov studied Physics at Department of Electronics of V. I. Ulyanov (Lenin) Electrotechnical Institute in Leningrad. In 1953, he joined the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute, and it was there he earned a candidate of sciences in technology degree in 1961 and a doctor of sciences in physics and mathematics in 1970. Alferov spent his career at the Ioffe Institute, ultimately becoming its director in 1987. He would also serve the Russian scientific community by leading the Leningrad-St. Petersburg branch of the Academy of Sciences. Alferov joined the Duma in 1995 and served as a Communist deputy. 

Alferov received numerous accolades for his research and commitment to science, such as the Lenin Prize (1972) and the Ballantine Medal from The Franklin Institute (1971). Alferov was a member of the CLEO Science and Innovations Committee from 1995-1997. In 2000, OSA recognized Alferov with the Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award for his original investigations of heterostructure injection lasers and cw room temperature semiconductor lasers. His contributions were again recognized in 2001, when he was elected an OSA Fellow.

Alferov is survived by his wife and three children. He will be dearly missed by his family and colleagues.

OSA and the scientific community mourns the loss of Zhores I. Alferov.

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