HISTORICAL EVIDENCE OF RESEARCH IN PLASMA PHYSICS IN UKRAINE
Dobrov Institute for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies of the NAS of Ukraine
Nauka naukozn. 2021, 1(111): 107-120
Section: Science and technology history
Abstract: The article is devoted to the research achievements of L.L. Pasichnyk, a talented experimental physicist. Its topicality stems from the need to restore the historical justice with respect to unjustly ignored novel research, and to inform younger generations of researchers some traditions in organization of а successful research team.
The postwar decades were a unique period in the development of plasma physics in Kyiv, to which an impulse was given by the Second Geneva Conference on Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy held in 1958, which helped in breaking the curtain of secrecy between researchers seeking for ways to heat and maintain plasma. A great many new ideas on ways to master the controlled nuclear synthesis, articulated in it, led to the creation of specialized “Laboratory No 4” in the Physics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the UkrSSR, where a young team headed by L.L. Pasichnyk worked (before they were transferred to the Institute for Nuclear Research newly created in 1970).
L.L. Pasichnyk proposed a new method for direct measurement of the velocity with which charged particles of gas discharge plasma are transferred across the magnetic field, branded by him as the phase method, which enabled to address the issue on whether independent diffusion of electrons and ions could ever be possible. Through applying the phase method to direct measurements of the diffusion of electrons and ions of plasma in the magnetic field, Pasichnyk and his disciples could experimentally confirm the hypothesis that ambipolarity of plasma diffusion can actually be disturbed in electrically conductive cameras, with ions transferred across the magnetic field essentially quicker than electrons. The validity of the above hypothesis had been questioned by a number of authors publishing in the international scientific editions. Establishing this fact along with successful explorations of the impact of alternating electric fields on the movement of electrons in a neutral gas had great importance for understanding the physics of processes involved in the transfer of charged particles in plasma and the effects of plasma instability for it, i. e. the core issue in the solution of the problem of plasma maintenance by the magnetic field.
Apart from the tribute to the outstanding physicist, the article demonstrates that the Ukrainian physicists’ performance matched international standards, allowing them to address the problems that were in focus of the international scientific community. Also, information about organizational specifics of the L.L. Pasichnuk’s research team and ways to foster genuinely creative atmosphere in it is given.
Keywords: diffusion of plasma in magnetic field, controlled thermonuclear synthesis, phase method, direct measurements of non-ambipolar diffusion.
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