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Evgeny Velikhov (2010).

Evgeny Pavlovich Velikhov (born on February 2, 1935; in Russian: Евгений Велихов) is a physicist and scientific leader in the Russian Federation.[1] His scientific interests include plasma physics, lasers, controlled nuclear fusion, power engineering and magnetohydrodynamics (high-power pulsed MHD generators). He is the author of over 1500 scientific publications and a number of inventions and discoveries.

He currently holds the post of president of the Kurchatov Institute (named after Igor Kurchatov) and first Secretary (head) of the Public Chamber of Russia. He is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and has been the vice-president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.


Evgeny Velikhov graduated from the Department of Physics at M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) in 1958, where he specialized in theoretical physics. From 1958 until 1961, he studied at graduate school. After completing his graduate work, he began work as a junior researcher at the Institute of Atomic Energy, the precursor institution to the Russian Research Centre (RRC) "Kurchatov Institute". He spent most of his scientific career rising through the ranks of this famous federal scientific agency.

His early work regarding fluid and plasma instabilities led to the discovery of the magnetorotational instability in 1959[2] and the electrothermal instability in 1962.[3]

In 1964, he defended his thesis before receiving his Doctor of Science degree in physics and mathematics.

In 1968, he obtained the rank of Professor of atomic physics, plasma physics and microelectronics at the Physics Department of Moscow State University. In 1973, he became the head of the Department until 1988. In 1971, he became a member of the Communist Party.

From 1971 to 1978, he was the director of the Magnetic Laboratory (later known as the TRINITY State Scientific Center), a branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1956, and subdivision of Kurchatov Institute since 1961, at Troitsk, Moscow Oblast. In 1972, he founded an energy and space plasma research department at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT, more known as "Phystech"), with a base in this branch of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (KIAE).

In 1975, he established another new department at Phystech in order to study the problems of physics and energy, for which he received the honor of chair of plasma energy. The next year, he was appointed as the first dean of the Faculty of Physics For Energy (FPFE), a R&D department of fusion energy specialized in plasma and high pressure physics, quantum optics, laser and space technologies. Ten years later, in 1986, he was promoted as the scientific director of FPFE.

In 1988, he was named director of Kurchatov Institute and chairman of the international programme (Russia, USA, European Union and Japan) for the creation of the thermonuclear experimental tokamak ITER, and has been its president from 1992 until the present. In 2009 he was elected Chair of the ITER Council, the governing body of ITER.

He is also president of the joint stock company Rosshelf (Russian offshore development company to develop seafloor-based oil and gas production complex), Gazprom's subsidiary; and co-chairman of Relcom board of directors.

Evgeny Velikhov currently resides in Moscow.


Evgeny Velikhov is well known in the world scientific and engineering community for his diverse activities, for which he has received several honors and awards, among which:

  • Correspondent of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1968); Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1974); Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1978–1991) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (1991–1996).
  • Academician-secretary of the Office of information technologies and computer engineering and automatics division of Russian Academy of Sciences (since 1983).
  • Hero of Socialist Labour (1985); USSR State Prize laureate (1977); winner of the Lenin Prize (1984); the MD Millionshchikov Prize of USSR Academy of Sciences (1986); the State Prize of the Russian Federation (2003); the "Global Energy Prize" (2006); as well as the American Physical Society Szilárd's Prize and the World Scientist Federation "Science and Peace" Prize.
  • Three Orders of Lenin
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 1st (2015), 2nd (2005), 3rd (2000) and 4th (2010) class
  • Order of Courage
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour
  • Honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.
  • Honorary member of Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, Saint Petersburg.
  • Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana; at William Howard Taft University, California, USA; and at the University of London, UK.
  • Honorary Citizen of Rino, USA; and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
  • Order of Merit 3rd Class (Ukraine, April 26, 2011) - for his significant personal contribution to overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, the implementation of international humanitarian programs, many years of fruitful public activity


  1. "E. P. Velikhov link at Kurchatov Institute". Archived from the original on March 15, 2008. 
  2. Velikhov, E. P. (1959). "Stability of an Ideally Conducting Liquid Flowing Between Cylinders Rotating in a Magnetic Field". pp. 1398–1404. 
  3. E.P. Velikhov (1962). "Hall instability of current-carrying slightly-ionized plasmas". 

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