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Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov , (born July 11, 1916, Atherton, Queensland, Australia—died January 8, 2002, Moscow , Russia), Soviet physicist who, with Nikolay G. Basov and Charles H. Townes , won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964 for fundamental research in quantum electronics that led to the development of the maser and laser .

Prokhorov’s father was involved in revolutionary activities that eventually forced the family to leave Russia . In 1911 they settled in Australia , where Prokhorov was born. Following the overthrow of the tsar (1917), the family returned to Russia in 1923. In 1951 Prokhorov received a doctorate from Leningrad State University and later joined the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, as a senior associate. In 1952 he and Basov jointly suggested the maser principle of amplifying and emitting parallel electromagnetic waves that are all in phase and all of the same wavelength. By the time they published their suggestion in 1954, Townes had built the first working maser.

In 1954 Prokhorov became head of the institute’s Oscillation Laboratory and later professor at Moscow M.V. Lomonosov State University. He wrote a number of fundamental works on the construction of infrared and visible-light lasers and on nonlinear optics. From 1969 to 1978 he served as editor in chief of the Bolshaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya ( Great Soviet Encyclopedia ). Prokhorov received the Lenin Prize (1959) and two Orders of Lenin as well as various medals.

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Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov and Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov of the P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow independently described the theory of maser operation. For their work all three shared the 1964 Nobel Prize for Physics.…
Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov.
Nikolay Gennadiyevich Basov
, Soviet physicist, one of the founders of quantum electronics, and a corecipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964, with Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov
Townes
Charles Hard Townes
maser
newsletter icon History at your fingertips Thank you for subscribing!Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox.More About Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Prokhorov2 references found in Britannica articlesAssorted Referencesinvention of maserIn laser: History In spectroscopy: Methods Feedback Corrections? Updates? Help us improve this article!Contact our editors with your feedback. Guardians of History Aleksandr Mikhaylovich ProkhorovQuick FactsbornJuly 11, 1916Atherton, Australia diedJanuary 8, 2002 (aged 85) Moscow , Russia subjects of study quantum electrodynamics awards and honors Nobel Prize (1964)Lenin Prize (1959)Edit ModeAleksandr Mikhaylovich ProkhorovSoviet physicistTips For Editing

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