Russian Nobel Prize winner for physics, Zhores Alferov dies at 88

Russian scientist who won 2000 Nobel prize in physics and a member of Russia’s parliament Zhores Alferov has died at the age of 88 in St Petersburg.

Alferov shared the nearly one million dollar award, which recognised his research inventions revolutionized in mobile phones and helped to develop LEDs, barcode readers, and CDs work in the 1970s in information technology, which paved the way for computers, CD players and mobile telephones, with two US scientists, Herbert Kroemer and Jack Kilby.

He contributed significantly to the creation of modern heterostructure physics and electronics including inventing the heterotransistor – an interface that occurs between two layers or of dissimilar crystalline semiconductors.

A staunch believer in communism, Alferov was born in 1930 in Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union.He was a member of the party faction in the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

Alferov was named after a French socialist, Jean Jaurès, while his older brother was named Marx after Karl Marx, a German philosopher and socialist revolutionary.

His work won him many scientific awards and he was an honorary member of research institutions including the American National Academy of Sciences. He was the first Russian to win a Nobel Prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev won the peace prize in 1990.

Alferov’s invention was of enormous practical significance compared to other laureates, who tended to focus on theoretical research. Hermann Grimmeiss of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards Nobel prizes, said in 2008 that, without Alferov, “it would not be possible to transfer all the information from satellites down to the Earth or to have so many telephone lines between cities.”

At the time of the prize, he was director of the A.F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St Petersburg but later became chairman of the Russian Academy of Science’s nanotechnology committee.

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