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Oral History Interview — Dr. Vladimir Tolok


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Interview with Dr. Vladimir Tolok
By Vladimir Voitsenya
At Kharkov State University, Kharkov, Ukraine
September 1995

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Vladimir Tolok; September 1995

ABSTRACT: Tolok discusses the beginning of plasma and fusion research in Kharkov; the roles of I. V. Kurchatov and K. D. Sinel'nikov; annual conferences of the Plasma Division. Research topics mentioned include the discovery of an ion-cyclotron resonance, interaction of plasma blobs with each other and with a magnetic fields, the building of installations of Zeta type, turbulent heating, interaction of electron beams with plasma, plasma electronics, radio-frequency heating, and ion-ion hybrid resonance. Also describes the visit of Kurchatov to Kharkov in 1960 (seen as the real starting point of fusion research); his proposition to build the stellarator type machine of much larger size that the C model that was under construction at that time in Princeton; Tolok's work with Kurchatov; the state of the stellarator program in Kharkov after the death of Kurchatov; the decision to build the machine of the C model size named Uragan (instead of Ukraine); the alteration of the C model into the first USA tokamak; first results from Uragan; electromagnetic traps in Kharkov; the history of Lavrent'ev in Soviet fusion research. Describes the role of Sinel'nikov in the development of science in Kharkov, particularly in plasma physics; selection of scientists for Plasma Division; international cooperation; the organization of Plasma Physics Laboratory in Kharkov University; number of Doctors of Sciences in the Plasma Division; project "Karlik" (Dwarf) by E. S. Borovik; Oleg A. Lavrent'ev's Jupiter program; some details about death of Kurchatov and again about his role in science organization; the shift from stellarators to torsatrons in Kharkov; development of diagnostics of plasma and the role of A. A. Kalmykov; technical use of plasma; the need to solve different technological tasks in connection with construction of new large scale machines; titanium pumps; finding out the increasing the hardness of thin films containing the molybdenum or titanium and deposited in the atmosphere with impurities of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon; use of nonequilibrium plasma for the production of materials that do not exist in nature; the "Bulat" license (the only licence that was sold to the United States not only by the Institute but by the Ministry to which the Institute beloged); the history of inculcating of "Bulat" license in some large Kharkov plants with local cooperation, then cooperation throughout Ukraine; the possibility of creating multifunctional coatings: corrosion resistant, high temperature resistant, wear resistant diamond-like, decorative etc (there are several telephone calls on this cassette); the advantage of "Bulat" technology as compared to magnetron or galvanic technologies; the effect of stray magnetic fields and plasma radiations on the health of fusion devices staff members; the current status of the Laboratory headed by Tolok at Kharkov University and the prospects for plasma technologies.