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Russian physicist and Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov dies at 88

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By Michael-Ross Fiorentino  with Reuters
Russian physicist and Nobel prize winner Zhores Alferov
Russian physicist and Nobel prize winner Zhores Alferov   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian scientist Zhores Alferov, who won the 2000 Nobel prize in physics, has died at the age of 88 in St Petersburg, the Russian Communist party has announced.

Alferov was the first Russian to become a Nobel laureate since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev won the peace prize in 1990 following the fall of the Berlin Wall.  

Alferov's Nobel award recognised his research in information technology in the 1970s and much of his work led to technology advancements in computers, CD players and mobile telephones. 

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.

The $1 million (€878 thousand) Nobel prize money was split with two US scientists, Herbert Kroemer and Jack Kilby.

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.

REUTERS/ Itar Tass
Nobel prize winner Zhores Alferov (R) gestures as he talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin October 12, 2000. Alferov was awarded the prize for his work on information technology.REUTERS/ Itar Tass

A staunch communist, Alferov was born in 1930 in Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union and was named after French socialist, Jean Jaurès. His brother Marx Alferov, who was killed during World War Two, was named after German socialist revolutionary Karl Marx.