Igor Yanson Deceased at 73
September 28, 2011 (PO4). On July 25, 2011, Professor Igor Yanson has tragically passed away. Igor was born in Kharkov, Ukraine (USSR) on March 18, 1938. Although he never had a chance to meet his father, who fell victim to the Stalinist regime, due to his mother’s efforts he had graduated with honors from the specialized secondary music school and developed a keen interest in radio-electronics. Sharing these two passions throughout his life, in 1957 joined the Kharkov State University to study radio-electronics, and in 1958 the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) State Conservatory to study piano. Graduating cum laude from the former in 1961, he had pursued his passion for science at the Kharkov Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering, where he worked ever since. Being accustomed to finishing everything he started, in 1963 he also graduated cum laude from the conservatory as a performing pianist.
Upon choosing science as his true calling, already in 1964 he was the first to detect the radiation of the non-stationary Josephson effect in superconductors. For this discovery he received the Ukraine Youth Prize on science and technology in 1967. This work has been mentioned by Brian Josephson in his Nobel Prize lecture in 1973. From that moment and to his last day Igor Yanson remained an internationally renowned scientist, always at the frontier of experimental physics. In 1979 he published a seminal paper on DNA mass spectrometry, and in 1974 he had experimentally discovered a completely new and very powerful method in solid state physics – the Point Contact Spectroscopy (PCS). Together with his colleague Igor Kulik, who provided theoretical support, and others, he has perfected this method to its present state, where it has become an established tool, at hand in every laboratory, for the investigation of the electron-quasiparticle interactions in metals and other conductors at the nanoscale down to one-atom contacts.
For his work, and especially for PCS, he received the Ukraine State Prize in 1980, the EPS Europhysics prize in 1987, the Humboldt Research award in 1996, and the Lisa Meitner Prize in 2008. In 1979 he was elected a corresponding member, and in 1992 he became a full member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In his 50 years at the Institute for Low Temperature Physics in Kharkov he had gathered in his department a team of scientists with whom he co-authored five monographs and over two hundred and fifty scientific articles in most renowned journals. They will carry his work further.
Igor Yanson is survived by his wife, four children and five grandchildren, who inherited both his passion for music and for experimental science.
(Authored by Yanson department colleagues with Yanson family approval)