Yulii Borisovich Khariton

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Yulii Borisovich Khariton
Yulii Borisovich Khariton 1924.jpg
Yulii Borisovich Khariton, 1924
Born February 27, 1904
Saint Petersburg
Died December 18, 1996(1996-12-18) (aged 92)
Citizenship Soviet Union/Russia
Nationality Russian
Fields Physics
Institutions Institute of Chemical Physics
Alma mater Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, Soviet Union
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Doctoral advisor Ernest Rutherford
Other academic advisors Abram Ioffe
Known for Soviet atomic bomb project
Notable awards Hero of Socialist Labor
Order of Lenin
Lomonosov Gold Medal (1982)
File:Rus Stamp GSS-Hariton.jpg
Khariton on a Russian stamp issued on the 100th anniversary of his birth

Yulii Borisovich Khariton (Russian: Ю́лий Бори́сович Харито́н, February 27, 1904 – December 18, 1996) was a Russian physicist working in the field of nuclear power. He was the chief designer of the Soviet atomic bomb, and worked in the Soviet nuclear program for many years.


Yulii Khariton was born in Saint Petersburg to journalist Boris Osipovich Khariton and actress Mirra Yakovlevna Burovskaya, a Jewish family.[1] His father worked for the newspaper Rech, the main organ of the Constitutional Democratic Party. In 1922, by Lenin's decree, the elder Khariton was expelled from Soviet Russia on one of the so-called Philosophers' ships, subsequently working for an emigrant newspaper in Latvia. After the annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union, Boris Khariton was arrested by the NKVD and died in the Gulag.[2] Yulii's mother, Mira Burovskaya, was also an emigre and in the 1930s joined the Zionist immigration to the British colony of Palestine.

Yulii was forbidden to contact his parents after he had started classified work.[3] Khariton studied at the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute (1920–1925) under Abram Ioffe and then at the University of Cambridge (1926–1928) under Ernest Rutherford, where he received a doctor's degree. From 1931 to 1946 he was head of the Explosion Laboratory at the Institute of Chemical Physics. In 1935 he received his doctorate in physical and mathematical sciences. During this period, Yulii Khariton and Yakov Zel'dovich conducted experiments regarding chain reactions of uranium. He was elected as a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1946, and as a full member in 1953.

He received the following honours:

He also received a Lenin Prize (09.07.1956), three Stalin Prizes (29.10.1949, 12.06.1951, 21.12.1953), a Gold Medal of I.V.Kurchatov in 1974 and a Great Gold Medal of M.V.Lomonosov in 1982.

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