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In footnotes or endnotes please cite AIP interviews like this:
Interview of Yuri Galperin by David Stern on 2001 August 3,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,
For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.
Interview topics discussed include: family background; early education; undergraduate studies in astronomy at Moscow State University where he worked with Joseph Shklovsky and with Valerian Krassovsky; aurora research at Laparska Station; Sputnik project; IKI (Space Research Institute), Moskow; observation of Project Starfish in 1962; Galperin's seven satellites of Cosmos 3, 5, 26, 348 and Aureole 1, 2, 3; cooperation with France for Intercosmos satellites; trip to Paris in May 1967; politics resulting in his placement as head of his department by Roald Zinurovich Sagdeev; interaction with Albert Abubakirovich (Alek) Galeev; NASA interest in IKI.
Okay, Yuri, tell me about yourself. Where were you born and when?
I was born in Moscow in 1932 on the 24th of September. My parents are from an intellectual circle. My father was a famous professor of English stylistics of English linguistics and he?
Finnish or English?
English. English. He actually created the — during the War I had better say. During the War at first.
The first war?
No, second war. Most of his friends are from the first days of war went to, how to call?
Yes, but not to front. But it was — I don’t know the English word for that when just people were not volunteering to go and actually not prepared. And most of Moscow intelligent people did that. Most of them were sent to west to the approaching German army. And most of them were killed in the first days because they were not armed, not prepared. And nearly not armed; just very weakly. Unfortunately for me, my father was in the regimen which was sent southward and after about ten days or two weeks of walking southward, and when it appeared that most of the Moscow intelligence having very heavy losses some ??? appeared and there was and order for those who have scientific degrees step forward, and nearly everybody stepped.
So they were returned and he was ordered to create faculty of interpreters in Moscow you will call now a university at that time, and Institute, of Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages, and he created this faculty. For some time he was the dean of two faculties, but then gradually he abandoned the first one, this faculty interpreters, and then after our pressure with my mother gradually abandoned to be the dean of the English faculty, and then he had cathedra English stylistics very long, nearly until the death. And he made the largest in the world English/Russian dictionaries, so in two volumes. So he has written many books and articles and had nearly a hundred little bit less than hundred Ph.D.s. Many of them, not many but some of them became doctors of science which is a rather high level in our country.
Did you learn English from him?
Actually he never taught me himself, but he found for me absolutely the best teachers. My English started after the war, so I think I was about 14, like that. But before the War I went to, it was called German group. That means that that was at several children, say four or five, it was the German born. We worked and spoke only German. But during the War I had forgotten and even now I practically do not know.
How did you feel when the Germans invaded the country?
Well, it was very significant. But I even remember the day because.
Yes 22nd June. Oh yes, all the first of this age. I was a child we were the one that dacha (dacha is a country house) with a lady who was my nurse and I looked from the second floor from balcony and have seen that something has happened which cannot be understood because people went out quickly from houses to speak to one another, ran in some other directions. So it was clear for a child— well I was not so small but I was a little bit less than 8 years old. But I remember that it was something very, very significant. And then we were sent with a family of a close friend of my father because my father was in this volunteering. My mother, myself, and my grandmother went to what was called evacuation. And so it was a train, and we were settled in Euro, very beautiful place. But that was a long story.
And that’s the way your father went to the army at that time?
He came back?
Yes. After this probably two weeks he came back and created this.
But how long did you stay in the U house?
Oh we stayed till the— it was another long story. Because it was on the 31st of December we got— he organized that and we went to the train with my mother.
31st of December, 1942. It was the middle of the War but he organized it with return here, but we return here with the signatory medical train who went for wounded people it was absolutely empty but we certainly had something with us but we decided that because the situation is very improbable we put all our belongings to the great cast and sent it. It never came so I lost my collection of stamps and many other good things. But we had with us only a small case with only very necessary things, and the idea was that if that would be necessary we will just throw it and go with out. But because we were with this train we did not know what will happen. Actually when we entered that with some difficulties it appeared that it was absolutely empty, only the personals, so if we want or would like we would have two wagons.
How did you food?
Well, we had in this case a little bit of food. Each of that is a long story. I don’t know whether we will finish anyhow. But it is a wonderful story. You know certainly we had some food with us, very few. And after several days it was finished. Only later I understood that my mother didn’t eat for several days feeding me from that. But then it was understood but each wagon was a military train for the head person, and obviously he transmitted this information that we ate nothing to the chief. And he came to us extremely angry and said to my mother something that, “I will throw you out if you will not come.” She was frightened because actually in our rights were very poor—it was a military train—empty, but any way military. And she took me to him and he put us in his large wagon. But he was a doctor obviously, he was a chief of this medical train, chief doctor, and he made a course of chicken bouillon and so on and so on, now and after I— At first my mother was frightened, but gradually she understood that it was a spectacle to convenience her to eat and to me, and so on. And he said that every day and so on.
How many days did the train go?
It took eleven days to come to Moscow. And when we came at last to Moscow, it was dark. It was just beginning of January and we went out from this train and was greeted.
No lights of course?
Not lights. Moscow was absolutely dark because it was a quite significant stage of the war. Yes. And we had to escape from that, but it was guarded. And we managed to do it but it is a long story about how we did it. And but so we managed to go out and we were I was very astonished to see the completely different Moscow of the War because I left it summer while it was winter next year, very significant changes. But next day my father taking with greatest value of that time was vodka cognac. So he took with him large of vodka cognac and went to this train to this doctor. And he told me later that the doctor told him that while I understand it that you are a great professor, but you are extremely naïve. And opened some pillow of the on his in his coupe. It was not a bottle, but it was some bellon [?] of pure alcohol, and said you know I have what ever I want so you are very naive to take all that to me. So they drank I don’t know how much together. So that was how I came to Moscow.
When did you first get interested in science?
To some extent I cannot trace that, but because my father was a scientist and many of his friends were, some of them just outstanding personalities. So to some extent it was quite natural. But I was interested in many, many things.
At first languages also because and father wanted me to be also and linguist. But it was much later certainly it was somewhere when I was about 16 or 17 years old, and I took theses, Ph.D. theses, from his table and read it from the beginning to the end. I decided that it’s not for me.
Its not fun languages?
Now this was under study. Where you a member of the Pyrenes [?]?
Surely. It was absolutely inevitable a person who will not be; I don’t know what will happen or?
Do you hear anything about the purges? Did you lose anybody in the family sent to Siberia?
Yes. Not to Siberia. My grandfather from mother’s side was very famous lawyer on criminal code, and I very weakly remember him. They all certainly defended me from being to radical, and so very few was told me. But once much later my mother told me that some where in the middle 30s he told her we are the last—there will be no more jurisdictions in this country. And he was rather top level. You know Lenin also was a lawyer.
So when in somewhere about 1920 I think, as far as I know, there was a need to make a new criminal court for the country, and Lenin had written some small letters to top lawyers, and such a letter was my grandfather received. But some day, if I know exactly it was about 1938, he was arrested and shot either the same evening or next morning. Because much later my uncle returning from the front from the War asked about the day of his father’s death, and he was given this date in it appeared that it was the next day. This first letter disappeared; they have taken it, because it was in the frame.
In the frame on the wall?
In the frame. So I don’t know where, but a very easily seen place. But another letter exists.
Do you have it?
It is not me but the children of my uncle where Lenin said something very short like thanks for sending me books and something like that.
Did you know when it disappeared? Did you know that he was arrested?
It was planned for me, but I knew that, but they tried to make me—
To shield you?
Do you have other brothers and sisters?
No. I am the only.
Did you go off with any other children? Cousins or relatives?
It was not a habit. I have two cousins and some other relatives, but the choice was just as friends.
So you essentially did whatever you where told. When the Poland was invaded by Hitler for instance, when the country was divided, when there was a war in Finland, did you know these things?
Surely. Because my father-n-law was— well, the parents of my future wife.
You knew them at that time already?
Yes. And my parents where close friends, so especially our mothers. So we were our families were connected. And I know that he was in the War with Finland; later he was in the second war. But he was a writer and he was a military correspondent of one of our top newspapers, and my mother-n-law was military correspondent of another, of Somulska Pravda [spoken in Russian]. Yes so they were married.
Is it Natasha?
So you knew Natasha when you were young?
Actually very little. Very little when I say so she objects because we just met on some— well, we had no Christmas because we were?
No, no, no not because Jewish; it was not absolutely insignificant at that time. Just not religious, but there was a pine tree.
Pine tree? Yes, yes, yes, Christmas tree.
A new year’s tree?
A new year’s tree, yes. Exactly a new year’s tree where children were collected and so actually we knew one another. And later after the War we were more and more close and friends, but only friends only. Later we will discuss that.
Was there anything Jewish in your house? Did you have Jewish becloud?
Does your family have anybody who was actively Jewish?
No. My grandparents from my father’s side, they were my not my— my grandmother was a village girl where my grandfather before the Revolution he was a small business man, but very low level, and not quite educated. And so they spoke Yiddish. But for me it was never anything significant. I never knew, and even up to now.
It didn’t interest you?
No. We were somewhat opposed to any national?
?identification. And there were stories about that when there was a child. I even knew the child, but later it was repeated by my own son. When he came from the yard from playing and said something negative about Jews, and his mother says, “But just think, I am also Jewish and your father is Jewish.” And he said, “And our cat is also Jewish?” So it could be used as and anecdote, but I even knew this that boy in our yard. He was the son of a well know writer.
The one that told your son that he was Jewish?
No, but later my own son.
That was somebody else?
No, no, that was somebody else when I was a child. I think it was just before the War because some way anti-Semitic flows from Germany propagated and it was a country at that time. But we never were interested in that.
What were you good in at school? What were the subjects that you were good in?
Well, I cannot just— In every thing. I had gold medal. I had top marks always. But it was not something interesting. But well actually I was interested, if you want, certainly I very much liked literature. For example, I found in father’s library, which was very large, Hamlet and Othello, with very significant commentaries. There was original text with commentaries for on every page. And I read it and my father was angry with me. He said even English men read little bit adapted to the contemporary.
You read it in English?
I read it not only in English, but in original form.
How old are you?
I was about 14 years old I think. And he said it is not reasonable; you’ll better know that in more contemporary English so that you will feel better. And I said no, and I read it this way. And I made later reports our class seminar about Shakespeare which lasted four hours. So my friends.
And they let you talk?
Yes. My friends were very, very good. And actually we had absolutely fantastic teacher in literature. She was Korean. But well she was born in Russia, but she was absolutely outstanding personality in everything. So actually she created me mostly, I must say. And also I was interested in astronomy and I had very good books for that. And that actually developed more and more in so that I entered the astronomy department in the University.
So when you graduated you entered the Astronomy Department?
Did you have to serve in the military?
Well, during the University, yes. We had to after second course in summer we had two months, and then after fourth I think another two months, and that’s all. And we got to the title of something suelitton [?] or something like that.
Yes. But you didn’t have to serve the years in the army?
When was that?
Universities were free from that; some other institutes but not those.
So tell me about high school. Do you learn calculus in high school?
In high school I was in many mathematical faculties, so astronomy at that time was in mathematical faculties. So everything except function theory was for astronomers as well as for mathematics.
So you learned it?
We learned much more than that.
Yes. All mathematics.
Three dimensional vectors?
Oh, it is the first?it falls the first course. It’s a start.
Okay. But can you knew vectors, two dimensional vectors?
Well, they will never use them, so I am not adapted, but I passed it, the examinations. Mathematics at Moscow University was always?
Do you remember when that atomic bomb was used?
Our a dean, if you want, our deal with Cosmo Gorroff [?].
Oh. Not at the high school? No?
At the University.
No, I am saying?
Wait, wait, wait, we have no concept of high school. We had just you enter the first class when supposedly you cannot read and write, well, most of them.
And out of twelfth class what did you have?
Twelfth, no, no. There was only ten classes. After ten classes we go to the University.
Okay. What did you have after ten classes? You knew English?
You knew German?
Well, German no. German I quite forgotten.
You knew algebra?
Algebra certainly, yes.
A differential and integral?
Not integral. Differentials we understood but had no training.
Okay. E to the X you knew.
Okay. How about physics? You knew electricity?
Physics was in our— just it happened for us. Physics was always difficult because we several times the teachers were changed. But there is a standard course so.
Did you have to take and exam at the end?
And you did fine?
Yes, I had gold medals.
You had choices in what you are??
But my gold medal is— The main point in this is the? (how to translate it). This essay that had to be written during the exam. And there was three choices. And I chose the Russian classic literature. There was a stage of in the 19th century, the second half of the 19th century, there was a stage when none-aristocratic people began to emerge. And there was several very highest level writers, so they were all different. But I tried to describe what was common for them, and actually I like them all and have read them all and remembered by heart very much. So it was rather a peculiar essay. Well but mostly the gold medal was decided on this essay. And here— At that time I didn’t understand it quite. But the teacher, I said that she created me mostly. Her name was Kim, a typical Korean name, but her native language was Russian. She was born in Russia. Later I only know that she had an enormous fight for, I was given the highest mark for that, and that probably was, most probably it was because I was Jewish.
But you had the Jewish name. Apart from that you were not Jewish. Did you mark any Jewish holidays?
No. No any such identity.
Just the name?
Well, in Russia if you know in passports, it is written— the nationality is written nationality it means a national identities written. So, and the joke is that many people object to remove it, especially for small nations such as Tarians [?].
Many others. But it was always a mark. There was and anecdote that in the camket that was standard question list.
Well, in the Soviet Union when you?
When you get the passport?
Well, if you submit for some work or you would have to fill some questioner. And the fifth point was nationality. And the standard anecdote was “nationality—yes.” And that meant that the person is Jewish.
Okay. When you went to the University did you live at home?
Yes. I was Muscovites.
So you didn’t go to a dormitory?
Dormitories were always very filled. So to get it was sometimes a problem even for not Muscovites. That for Muscovites it was impossible, even if I would like.
Right. And you went four years at the university?
Five. Starting astronomy?
Yes. The first two courses are just standard at that time because at that time the astronomy department was in the mathematical faculty traditionally as before. Later it was moved to physical faculty. Which was not a very good decision, in fact, because physical faculty at that time was extremely reactionary. But mathematical faculty at that time was very high level and as the deans of this faculty fought quite significantly, so a quite significant amount of Jews, Jewish professors was there. They saved all. Nobody was expelled as far as I know and there during the worst years, actually it was like 1948. Before my entering we had the?
What year did you enter?
1950. Golibiff, we had a dean who was technical general, the highest level intellectual of Russian intelligence. And so it was never seen that he’s general because he was just a wonderful lecturer personality. But when it happened (and it was what I was told later because I was not in the University at that time), it appeared everybody understood that he was indeed general because he fought it enormously and nobody was expelled.
And he stayed also? He was not expelled?
No. People say that God thanked him because he was 70, and people loved him enormously, and that was a celebration in the faculty.
In what year?
I don’t remember, I think it was 1951 or 1952.
And there were always jokes, anecdotes and some were spectacles jokes and so on, on him, mostly about him. And he was very pleased. Everybody was very happy. And he came home, sat in his chair, and five minutes later his wife came and it was a wonderful smile—he was dead.
Well, you shouldn’t tell me the story. I will be 70 later in this year. Do you remember when the atomic bomb was dropped in the War on Japan?
Yes, we certainly were informed. There was a very significant propaganda about that and.
What did the propaganda say?
Well, ,just three little things, but even now they will seem insulting. And that it is immoral, that it is imperialistic, and that actually that the victory was very close without that, and that was only to show that the power and not just to limit the losses.
They said that at that time?
Now, did you understand it was something new in physics? Something new scientifically different?
Well, there were many discussions at that time I was 45 years old. I was not too much interested in physics I was interested many other things. But what I remember and especially my parents and parents-in-law later discussed between them was just a story that, well, some party and everybody were excited. There was one astronomer there, and they asked him, “Please, explain now?”
What is it?
“?as to what is chain reaction?” And he explained that one atom is in neutral and the other atoms and so on. And one lady asks, “And then was all the world will be destroyed?” And he said, “Why all the world? Only Earth.”
That’s and astronomer.
Yes. And his name was Ester Pollege. A very good astronomer in meteoric physics.
Now you finished in five years. Tell me a little bit more about your studies.
There are too many.
Were there any critical moments when you discovered something? When you found something? When you found a friendship which lasted? When you discovered a professor who turned you on, or didn’t?
Well, friendship—you know, we joke that we have is this civilization of friends. For us friendship is something of utmost importance. So I still keep friends from school, not very tight, some of them passed away. But friends from the university were still connect one another. Our other friends which are not friends of my wife became our friends. And so it’s all mixed.
Anything at that university in your studies, any awakening, any interesting things?
It was always enormously interesting and creative. Even on the second course we had there the creative works to make and I, particularly everybody had something, had to measure something for Ph.D. of another person, and it was very significant measurements which involved ultraviolet source. And so I burnt my eyes.
Which means you got headaches?
For some time it was difficult for me to read for a long time and so on, but it gradually disappeared.
What did you do in the summers? Did your family have a ducha [?] or somewhere?
Did you go there?
Well, my own family had no ducha, but every summer when I was at school it was a bunk some place, some house or half a house, or in the country side, there were some not just village but just a row of such.
Did they rent it?
And they rent it? Yes. And it was a common procedure but a couple of times I was taken to Crimea or Kokasis [?] to.
To astronomy— to observatories?
No, no, no; it was during school time.
It was during school time. During time of universities there were different things one was absolutely wonderful when we went to help at Kokasis.
So we worked.
What season of the year?
No, no; it was summer.
It was summer, and there was a group of such and people like myself who were very enthusiastic and looked in that village life very much astonished. Certainly it was a chosen and good Kokasis. But we at least understood something.
What did you understand?
We understood that it was a kind of slavery. I formulate it now as I understand it now. At that time I think the understanding was much weaker, but still there was something that they are not free as we are.
Do you remember when Stalin died?
Oh, yes, yes.
Tell me about it.
You know I was well not only naive but I was very persuaded by communistic ideas, as most of us, because taken by just written by just face value there was just Christianic ideas and most of the people who believed in that just took it quite naively, and I was among them.
To what, Christianity?
Communistic ideas I mean. That people are equal, must help one another, that to exploit one another is immoral, and that everything must belong to everybody in equal parts. Only later certainly we understood much more, that it is only sayings, but at that time we were naive enough and we actually thought that most of us, and I am also, that some crooks, some immoral people, obviously have much higher in physics I would say mobility to go up. But it is temporary in that and gradually it will work out it self so actually the ideas are right. So Stalin was considered, and my parents certainly shielded me from much more knowledge. I know only later I understood for example that for a long time (it was about in late 1940s) that some beck [?] stayed in our corridor near the entrance door, and it was a rather narrow corridor, and I took my bicycle out and back and it was not very convenient for me. And I asked my mother about that could you take us somewhere else? She said, “No, let it stay,” and so on. Only later I understood that if my father would be arrested—it was a thing to take with him. So they understood much more, obviously, but I was in just childhood. So when Stalin died, I was on the second course, and we had a wonderful group. Very many talented boys and girls. We were very creative and discussed everything and made our own journal for? ?for Ticksey. As I came to Tocksey and?
Northern Siberia? Yes.
It’s not northern Siberia; it is in the edge of Arctic Ocean. On of the most important stations for ??? ???atomotry and ionosphere and so on. So I came there in winter and for some scientific work, and people there certainly are isolated. So they asked me whether I can make a course or make some lectures for them to educate. So I said, ‘How much you will sustain?” Because I was only two or three days there. “Well,” they said, “how much you will sustain? We will sustain anything.” I said that you are too brave, because there you must only stop me. And so there was a 10 hour course; certainly there was dinner in between and something else and so on. And they have written into like you a tape recorder but later in some way was disappeared or destroyed, I don’t know. But it was a not a bad?
Course in physics? Space physics?
In space physics and in space geophysics and so on. So I said, “Give me one hour of preparation. And then prepare yourself.” So I can speak too much?
No, you are fine. I can listen and if you see my notes from Moscow. But you can talk now about Schakowsky if you want. Okay, go ahead.
Okay. I think from where to start about my teacher Schakowsky. It was if some ??? ??? Schakowsky.
When did you first [inaudible]? What did you do after the University?
Oh, it is another long story. Well, I better tell you about Schakowsky first. Okay?
He was absolutely outstanding personality and everything. So his background from very— He was not from some intellectual circles, but he was so much talented. And he thought where to go to be a painter or to study physics. So for some reason, partly because his brother was also a painter and became a rather famous sculptor in our country, he went to physics. So it was before the War. Then he had eyes with the optress [?] was 16.
Very strong glasses.
Enormously strong. So when much later when I brought him my first significant result, a spectrum with hydrogen emission in aurora, and gave him a magnifying lens, he said, “Yuri you are naïve my eyes are much stronger than any lens that you can give me.” So that’s because he wasn’t at the army and he evacuated also, and in his wagon there was some strange boy which also had some illness and because of that was not in the army. And that was a long way, and not a very fast train because it was just with people evacuated, and he asked him because it was all from?
Not only from Moscow, but?
How long do you think?
Excuse me, I don’t remember exactly, but it can be seen more precisely. But he was very young; I think he was about 20 or maybe less. And this boy who was even younger than he asked him whether you have anything to read. Because it was somewhat connected with physical institute, Libertief [?] Institute, whether his had anything to read in physics. He had with him a very difficult book by Bittin Geickler, you know, probably a book which is written only for professionals. It’s very, very, tightly written. I never could make it. But he had it with him and he gave it. And the next day or after next day he returned and said that it was a very good book, thank you very much. Schakowsky was very much astonished. This was so Saharath [?].
I read the story.
You read the story.
I just distinctly remember reading it.
Oh, yes. Okay. So we were students and we participated, even from the first and second course, we participated in seminars because some of our lectures were in the small observatory of Moscow.
He was a student with you?
No, no, no. By the time when we entered, he already finished the University.
Yes. You are not telling how you finished University or you got to know Schakowsky.
We got first we knew him when we were I think I was in second course like that on seminars, and seminars were taken place in so-called Stanberg Institute [?] that is a small observatory in not far from center of Moscow, certainly unusable now because of contamination but at that time there was still.
Well, the city lights and so on, so you cannot have and observatory within there.
Oh, you mean the sky in there?
Yes. The sky is?
I know the institute.
You know? Okay. And there was regular seminars, and on that seminars we also participated just looked at that, and we were fascinated with him because he was he had just published the first book Solar Corona, which was revolutionary at that time. And I remember like how one person from a Kiev observatory, his name was Yakauffkin [?] just cried, “Corona is cold! Corona is cold!” just hysterically. Because that was a burst at that time because— This book I am sure is classical now because it is mostly right. What is very interesting is that he always was very critical to his own results, and he has written that he makes the theory of solar corona out of focus so that it looks as very smooth, as very homogeneous, which is certainly wrong. Because if you look at during the eclipse you see that there is much structure and much more interesting things, but they are unattainable with this theory. So it influenced us very significantly. But also what influenced us his manner, because he was wonderful argue-menter. I don’t know whether it is okay in English.
Debater. Because he was very witty; he always introduced some jokes. And it was even dangerous for his opponents to argue with him because the result was— especially student audience, just laughed out loudly at his jokes and so on. And he had very interesting feeling of what is important. So actually he has results in very different directions.
At that time he was interested in the Sun?
At first, yes. But then he abandoned that.
When did he go to register, I mean?
It was his first. He started— Well, excuse me, I cannot be precise or better. There are a couple of books now written by his pupils.
Of his life?
Not about his life but more or less about his achievements. Well, it can be said it is about his scientific life. He was personality in many other aspects, for example, he has written these stories which are just literature, and he was very keen with that. And he had very strong enemies; that is interesting. But he made them himself. And actually we some way, I would not say participated but at least were supporters and fans for some of them.
No, no. For him, but?
Yes, against them. And most of his revelations in time appeared right. One of our topic at emissions at that time it was absolutely fantastic. He stopped his mission to England to return for voting to prevent Schakowsky being elected to the Academy.
Who was that?
Well, that’s rumors, so I better?
Because I cannot state that he came indeed for that course, but.
But he did vote? Did Schakowsky get into the Academy?
He was elected, with great difficulties, corresponding member.
When was that?
Excuse me my dating can be imprecise, so better to consult the documents. But he never was elected to the emission world certainly his level was about the top in the country and.
Now, you studied astronomy?
So in the second year you heard him talk. What about the third and fourth and fifth year? You must have taken more courses. Do you take courses from him?
We have different system from American. We have a fixed— I cannot take or not take courses. There were actually some possibility because there are so-called facultative courses which were rare, and actually was just a kind of some additional lectures which we sometimes would have taken. But normally all these courses were fixed.
Did he give any of them?
Yes, yes. He lectured us theoretical astrophysics. And there was the main course and some other things.
Do you remember his lectures?
Well, I would say now after 50 years, no. Nearly 50 years. But the spirit was most important at that time. How do you, I can tell for example, the following story. When there was and exam to write of this theoretical astrophysics, before that a couple of weeks before he told us please note that you can take with you to the exam whatever books you want, what ever notebooks, whatever you want. My only requirement that you not disturb one another. If you want to speak to one another just go out from their cell and discuss there, so that there will be silence in the cell. Because for me he said it will not be difficult to understand in five minutes whether you have just got this information for the first time or you really understand it; because when you will work as astronomers, you will have even Lenin library for your disposal, so the problem is with this situation can you understand anything or not? This shows his manner. You know?
And his resistance to us because for him only it was very important that we are creative, that we discuss, that we have ideas, we argue, not that we have just repeat something.
Did you study with friends?
With friends? Later, outside the lectures? Did you go over the books with friends?
Well, surely, yes. The University we—especially astronomers but others also, but astronomers were always very tight. We are even now very close friends within this group despite that we have people from our group which are different institutes. One is academician and Director of our main astronomy observatory, Yuri Pareski [?].
Another is Director of the Space Center, Cardashov [?]. They are both academicians. There are other bright people, very bright. Bromberg for example, you know Bromberg?
No but I know Cardashov.
Bromberg is in St. Petersburg. He is realistic celestial mechanics. He is one of the top specialists. We have very bright people, extremely.
All in your class.
In our class, yes. But this Bromberg, from fourth course if I remember well, was differentiated from two cathedrals [?]. So for Bromberg, for example with celestial mechanics he was not astrophysicist, as we were.
But we were and are rather close. Not very often meet one another.
Now you graduated from the University when?
Do you have computers by that time?
No sir. We even had arreformeters [?] which you had to hand crank?
Hand crank calculus?
Yes. And I didn’t not like celestial mechanics enormously because there was a great amount of work to calculate the orbits, in the way as ??? ??? ??? it. So you know— And we were young students, so we played so say there are a hundred was put to the arreformeter, and two persons competing who will get it to zero first. It was just very?
You have to tell it a hundred times?
Not very good for the machine.
They were strong machines. They were German very good machines. By the end of my course the German electric machines.
Rein Mattel [?], these ones, appeared and it was a great progress, great progress. So students would not always allowed to work with them because it was a precious thing.
When you graduated, you got a diploma of course and everything?
Cum laude some like that?
Yes, so-called red diploma. But actually I had one mark again of celestial mechanics to Professor DeBuschin. Professor DeBuschin was one of (probably you know this name? No?). He was one of the top specialists in celestial mechanics in our country. But he was a classical astronomer, so for him all these formulas were something scient [?], so he could just not understand it we cannot adjust astrophysicists with— we did not have the respect of the long formulas and so he supposed that we must either derive them or know them by heart. So for our physical way of education, like of Schakowsky that only understanding is important; everything else can be made as secondary. For example, Schakowsky said that all his results were received on the counting ruler, right?
How do you call it?
Slide ruler because he said up till now nature doesn’t allow us to understand it with the precision better that 1%. And it is quite enough with this ruler. And factors and all integrals can be taken as the theorem of average.
And the factor of order of unity, Ph.D.s will find later.
Yes but celestial mechanics is different.
Yes surely, it is astrophysicist.
Okay. So you graduated?
We had great amount of fantastic lecturers. some of them just even historically known. One of them for example, who was Professor Alaxea Petrovich Minikoff. Books are written about him as a teacher. On his introductory lectures, every year people came from everywhere so the audience was filled. And he was he finished both the school of our top theatre called the Hudoristany [?] Charter Theatre.
Yes, yes, at the same time and Moscow University. And for example his joke for first course introductionary lecture, he always asked if there was and old building of the University at the center of Moscow? And always asked that his first lecture was we will be at the same auditorium, and it was a large auditorium. And he came very proud, just stony face students, and his first phrase if I remember well was, “You probably know that we had great people in theoretical mechanics: Drukowski [?] and Cheplegan [?].
Drukowski was more theoretical. And he said, “When in this audience, Drukowski gave me lectures and Cheplegan made with me seminars,” as he changed voices and explained it was revolution. I was the only student. [laughs] You know he was and actor?
Well, they can be very good lecturers.
Oh, many of his jokes are now written in books and so on, because he was ingenuous how to explain. And he told us in almost quantity of tales about the history of science, about how mechanics was created, about different people, and usually some people said, “Please, tell us a new tale.” And he said, “But I need to teach you all these theorems. Just wait a little I will finish them and then we will start,” and then he did it. And I would say to creation it had the most important influence. Because not what he taught us about— he actually was a specialist in a very peculiar kind of mechanics. Mechanics, not a roll, but the thinnest thing, just like, like that.
Yes string but the thinnest.
Okay? It is in English, okay. So mechanics of that for example he told us that when?
Filament, yes. When in machines it goes with a velocity which is nearly super sonic, you can cut metal with that.
I don’t know?
Well, now I couldn’t understand. But he taught us stories, you not he posed as problems to solve. So for example, when the car starts, when it does this way that means that her backside goes a little bit downward.
Describe the forces. And so on, you know? So it was.
While the wheels turn one way and the car wants to turn the other way forward?
Well, I am sure you can pass this exam. But for him you know this way of teaching was unique. So in all that, these personalities made us. There were others. I can just speak and speak about that. So we were extremely fortunate with teachers.
You said that now you are finished at the university and you started talking about Schakowsky, Joseph Schakowsky. Continue.
Well, there is very many things in which could be told about him. His influence was so much that many people even the just were astonished why we were so devoted to him. He had quite significant difficulties, and in fact sometimes even created them with his somewhat cannot accept chiefs, in particular of the Stalberg  Astronomical Institute. Which were sometimes very good, sometimes marginal, sometimes different. But he someway was internally against any other influence. And so in Soviet time it was not very typical and certainly he was always with some difficulty sometimes quite significant.
What is his difficulties express himself in?
Well, sometimes as jokes, sometimes as just revealing some unpleasant situations.
Was it forbidden to travel? Was it forbidden to have students? Did he get out of projects?
No. Well we had no concept of projects at that time. So he did what he wanted. But concerning trips abroad and conferences, he was a long time very much limited, and then only when some people came to our country. Well, he was very well known. So gradually it became more and more he came abroad. He has described it himself in his books, and which I highly recommend because they are just very interesting. But speaking about us I would say our psychology was very significantly influenced by his approach to all this—to freedom?
Who of the people that followed him was closest to Schakowsky’s style?
Well, it is difficult to say because the station changed it was a time of very great changes in our country and everything. So?
Was Cardashov a student?
Yes, Cardashov was a— Well, we are from same student group and Cardashov was his closest pupil and probably the most talented of his pupils. But he is himself and outstanding personality. In our student group for example, Cardashov always was official unofficial leader because his personality was also very strong, and quite different from Schakowsky. But?
We had a concept in our student group we were very close friends all, and we had a concept of Cardashov’s ideas that meant that his ideas were always not only very original but somewhat improbable. Well, if you want I can tell a story?
We decided— Well, better another one. January I think of the first course or maybe second most probably first course, there was a birthday of one of the girls in our group. And we decided to do something specific, and we did several things. First of all, we made a scenario, quite significant work and secret from others, some group.
Scenario means what?
Scenario means how to perform that. And according to that, we collected money. Nobody asked for what. It was not much money but still quite significant for students. And we ordered a full astrological analysis of her future and so on. One person who we knew who was astronomer by profession, but who knew this aspects quite significantly. So there was a very significant?
That astronomer made that horoscope?
Well, he was at that time I think post graduate, but he was just interested with astrology is.
And he created the horoscope?
Well, it was great secret, but we knew that.
And he created the horoscope at a very high level not just as people on the street do. At that time you had to compute orbits by these our arreformeters, and it was fantastically difficult. Yes, he made quite professional— he had to calculate on these our arreformeters the orbits of planets and so on and so on. So it was a really great job and done quite professionally. So that was one part. Another part it was supposed that this horoscope will be read by some, well actor or astrologist, and that was a part.
And who was it?
I don’t remember. Either it was myself or it was Leifgengulous [?], another person from our?
Did you dress up for it?
Oh yes. The problem is not just to dress the problem was that Cardashov suggested that this well wizard who will read it or somewhat— Probably that I didn’t read it, but just to present it because it was read through radio set from highly distorted bandwidth. So it was looked like something else. But his idea in particular was that this wizard must present it in a way that everybody would feel that they are taken several centuries back. To do that, he had— His parents were oppressed during standard times, if I remember well his father died.
Died in prison.
I don’t know where but probably yes. And his mother was not allowed to live in Moscow, so he had no place to live in Moscow. And he rented a part of a small room in the first part closer to window was a family, and this family gave him a very small space and he had a large— well I don’t know English word for that, it is a large, large box for old clothes.
Well, its like, chest.
Trunk? Okay let it be trunk. So he slept on that.
In the trunk?
On the trunk. On the trunk he put some pillows. But by that time I don’t remember, it seems that this family got some other place to live so he received all this time this small room. So his idea was that we take this trunk, transport it to the edge of Moscow at that time where his girl lived, put it on the fifth or seventh floor. I don’t remember where she lived. And there was very narrow stair case without any elevator and so on. So in this trunk was the wizard which was myself will be transported.
But only in the seventh floor you get it?
Yes. To take this trunk we put it on hands up because?
Like a coffin?
Like a coffin exactly. But it was another form; it was much lighter. So we not much money, so for us to find a trunk to transport it to there was quite significant task. We found, we transported it, we put it there. And for slaves which were nicked from the belt and there put more or less black, put this trunk in their in the chamber. And I was there, but in the gown of my mother she gave me. But our main point was that people must feel that they are taken backwards in the centuries. So the simplest idea which we took all was that we have nauftelin [?]. You know what is nauftelin?
Yes. It smells.
Yes it smells like something old. So inside of this trunk there was plenty of nauftelin. I was put there, and it was opened I stood up took all well as much as I could this nauftelin and threw it out. So there obviously some people will think that they were taken back. But the main result was that the table with good things which was prepared of food with it always a homemade sweets, all was covered with this nauftelin. And later one of the difficulty was that in the trash can it could not be all put because there was not enough place. [laughter]
What did the girl say?
Well, nobody remembers because the spectacle was only the beginning and so there was all this wonderful horoscope read through distorted system with some voice which was ugly and such like that and so on. So I tell it because to me it is somewhere type of Cardashov’s idea. It was absolutely nontrivial; nobody ever before or after can do that and even suggest it. It was bright and we were very happy all, and after say nearly 50 years we all remember that so.
Where is Cardashov now?
He is a director of an astral space center. He was for a long time on the and from the very beginning there at Schakowsky’s department of IKY [?]. But then they separated from Eke and now they are more or less independent but will—
Yes, on the seventh floor of our building. But they belong to Liberty Institute as a more or less separate or more or less attached body, and doing very good science.
Okay. Going back to the end of the university; what did you do after that? You needed work.
Well, you know, in some radio receivers you have some switched to tuning stations where you can enlarge. So this the same as my story, because the story how I was taken to the Academy was also very interesting.
By that time Schakowsky was had part-time work in the Geophysical Institute of the Academy of Science in the Department led by Valedian Krausofsky [???], professor, a very bright personality. I will speak about him later. And they certainly understood and what I didn’t understood completely but they certainly understood that with my Jewish nationality it would not be easy to put me into the Academy. I already made the diploma work.
Academy means and Institute of the Academy?
Yes that means the Institute of the Academy.
What year was it that you finished?
1955. It was obvious that while our Dean was Kalmagoroff Notaless [?] of the mathematical faculty—I mean Faculty of Mechanics and mathematics of Moscow University. And he changed quite significantly the initial planning of the Ministry to distribute us. At that time what was more or less obligatory to go where you are distributed to work. Kalmagoroff change it at least twice to make it better and better. Better means at first it was suggested that more that 70% of our course will go to teaching to schools, which was considered the worst at that time.
Anywhere. No, anywhere. You could be sent anywhere where there is a need and you even can be sued if you don’t go there if you don’t have enough arguments. To avoid some people went to villages. Kalmagoroff with scandals in the Ministry gradually reversed it so that quite a few of our students went for the teaching, but most went to some industries, some institutes and so on. Many of them are still prominent figures. But despite that, to get a place in the Institute of the Academy was obviously was considered as the highest. And it was nearly impossible for me.
[Inaudible] in Moscow?
Of Academy? No, no, no. For example, Bromberg, he was in the Institute of the Academy in Leningrad at that time. But in most of the strong centers there was some Institute of the Academy, but of various different strength and possibilities.
So my two teachers— By that time I already had made my diploma work about sodium twilight, sodium emission at twilight where I applied Chundra Sitcar’s [?] X and Y functions which he devised for optical depth of father [?] of unity, which is very difficult and irradiative transfer evacuation solution. So I found that, applied that, and explained why the ratio of two competence of the doublet is not— two is astrolater [?] strength had to be four.
Because of absorption?
Self-absorption. Well. So I already did something, but it was not too much. And they devised a specific idea how to overcome this difficulties. They called me for a secret conversation and said that we invented something—
They are the teachers?
Yes, they are both of my teachers. One was Schakowsky. Another was Krausofsky, Valedian Krausofsky.
He also taught at the University?
No, no, no. But I worked in the diploma work with the institute this Institute with his department. And they called me there in the cabinet and said that we devised some way, but it is rather dangerous and can fail, and then it would be great scandal. But this was only way we seeing. So the ways was the following. We had and still have in Moscow some specific way which is difficult to explain to foreigners which do not know what it is. In Russian it is “propeska”. That means that in our passport it is stamped with the place where I am living, and in fact some allocation of this working place is I would not say my property but I am allocated to that. To change it would have to be very difficult and there were many different ways how to stop it. ?is this allocation.
Domicile. And as a Muscovite I had Moscow propeska, which was great advantage in many other things. But the physical institute of the Academy of science had several stations which were created in particularly in the Arctic, and these stations were temporary, and so there were no propeska there so I could not pretend that I have this place for living. It could count only as a temporary expedition place. But it was not known.
Can we go there?
Well, if you want. So they had expeditions.
Temporary stations which actually had no of this propeska. That is I could not, even working there, pretend that I get some right to live there not being or not working there.
Just as a expedition type. So but it was not known obviously outside, and their plan was the following. That they sent the requirement for me to work in and Arctic station, which certainly had to be very sound very impressive. A station in Arctic for mathematical faculty was something unprecedented. And then if I express my desire that indeed that I want to work there I have some experience and a diploma and so on, and so on. And then if I indeed directed there I really go there, but I retain my Moscow propeska.
That means that when I return from there, I was just a member of the Institute and that is all.
You go there as a member of the Institute, and the station belongs to?
The station belongs to the Institute. So actually with that I became a member of the Institute. I indeed worked and go to work in Arctic for a couple of years.
Until beginning of 1958. Because many things has changed that time. So I prolong this story because it is wonderful. It characterizes not myself; it characterizes my teachers. So they devised this requirement which had some significant organization to do. It arrives to the Commission who distributes, so when the Commission sees that they are very much astonished. They ask me, and Kalmagordoff [?], this great Andreko Magordoff [?], calls me and said— Well, I had sort of I was rather good student—except celestial mechanics I was always good. And he asked me please explain to me what it is? Well, I tell him I already made some work, I am interested in outer orbital physics, and this is something fascinating. He looks at me I am sure that he understood nearly everything or probably even more that I can imagine, and he said, “Is it really that you go there?” And I said yes, surely, and I like it. He seemed not very well convinced, I would say.
In English that phrase is, “He smelled a rat.”
Yes, that was my deduction, looking at him. We all understood who Kalmagordoff is, so I was trembling not just because it was a very serious point in my life but because I understood probably partly who he is. And he said, “Well, if you really are motivated to go there?” I said certainly yes. Okay then I sign he said, and he signed that. and it worked very well. So I went to Arctic. It was Laparska [?], a rather famous station near Mormons. In fact 40 kilometers from Mormons. This was a rural station. At first we had to build it more because it was in a very initial stage. And I made my first spectroscopic work in Aurora there about.
What did you do in the summer?
Summer? In summer we had quite significant vacations, but I worked in the Institute.
Now in the summer you cannot see that or?
No, no. Well we had to build much there, so it was some part I was there some part I was in Moscow then returned there again. But after the first— By that time there were also only about five or six spectra with hydrogen emission. And it was supposed that protons from Solar Crepuscular Streams are just the course of aurora. If it would be this way, then Aurora had to be rather often and we know that it was hydrogen aurora. Not less often than a normal typical aurora. But in reality this rarity of this spectra posed the problem they were to spectra by main hole some spectra by Vedra from Norway with him Angarckly.
Were they Doppler shifted?
Yes, the are Doppler shifted.
Well, Mainehold made a very significant experiment because he photographed aurora above that is along that magnetic field in perpendicular. And he showed that while the spectrum hydrogen emission, HL actually, which went along the magnetic field was Doppler shifted quite significantly to the velocity of about 1500 kilometers at maximum with the tail. The photograph across the magnetic field was not shifted. It was widened but not shifted so it was obvious that they go along. So it was obvious that they are from external origin, and that was fundamental piece of science at that time. At the same time this rarity posed a problem, because if it is something peculiar that means that aurora a normal aurora has another origin. So during the first— I had very good equipment and I had some skill already and during my first winter I brought after to the Institute, if I remember well 17 cases of that.
It was much more than existed, but at the same time it was obvious that it was a deep minimum of solar activity. So there much discussion at that time, some of these discussions were very vivid, and I can tell you that when I passed my Ph.D. which was in ‘57, one of my results was that while this is somewhat related with solar crepuscular streams, the disbursing of velocities shows that something happens between the solar crepuscular streams and ionosphere because such a distribution of velocities is impossible to be carried from the sun. And Edward Mostal [?], one of our top specialists at that time on solar crepuscular streams, a very good astronomer, he was my opponent as we call it. A member of a jury if you want. In English form it is different.
I have the same.
He said that if before this thesis I thought I understand something; then after I must say that I understand nothing. Then he understood that if our audience can take it differently, he said, “But it is wonderful! It is very serious results.” Well, by that time my thesis was somewhere (I don’t remember exactly), but it was either October or November of ‘57. That means that just before Sputnik was launched, and immediately we small group of people who knew something about upper atmosphere of the Earth became enormously important. While my friends astronomers before just laughed at me they said, “Well, you apparently have some brain why could you study such an uninteresting thing as aurora?”
And you answer was because I got a job with the Institute?
No, my answer was because it is really interesting. I was absolutely fascinated with aurora. That’s another story.
When did you first see that war? The first time in your life?
The first time I am sure was in this Laparska Station when I came there. But this was a very active year. And so in Moscow when the Sputnik was launched many people go out and there was not so much electricity at that time and they just looked for the Sputnik and were astonished because several times they were very significant aurora above Moscow, and they said, “Ohh, indeed it exists and so on.” And I was very fascinated. And immediately after that while our importance became just enormous because you know I was just, I would not say a child, but in 1957 I was 25 years old. And I was asked to consult while the different bodies in— I was invited to army headquarters to make a lecture to the?
Up near Mormons or down in—?
No, no, no, in Moscow, at the real headquarters. No in Mormons that was another because army was very much interested and we made lectures not only for army, for public for radio, there were many journalists.
Yes, yes certainly not before. Before there was something because it was international geophysical year, and it was also something. But what started after Sputnik was just incomparable.
Did you know before Sputnik went up that there would be??
No. Actually my chief, Krausofsky, participated from the very beginning in creating of this program. I don’t know whether you know that, but at the beginning of 1957, the Sputnik was launched in October 4, but it was in the beginning in the our most respectful journal [name in Russian]. That means Achievements of Physical Sciences, was all the program of our future research was published as a series of papers. Nobody paid attention to that probably, but you can see there the paper by Krausofsky. But that was not for the first satellite. The first satellite was only the “beep, beep,” with two frequencies.
That was for Sputnik 3, right?
This program was for Sputnik 3. And you probably know that Grengaus was working at that time, a very classified establishment, made just himself with his group a made this amplifier, devised antennas and so on, so that he touched— was the last person who touched the first satellite. But I didn’t know that, and it was a great secret. But just after that when I came to new year, Krausofsky called me and said that by that time I made a very good— it was?and I know that it was the best in the world for many years afterwards. That the spectrometer with grating for aurora physics. It was a very large grating and was very good resolution.
Did it have ??? ??? or some or just grating?
No, it was only grating. But it was a very large grating with 2,000 lines per—
Was ??? ??? grating?
I did grating; it was specially devised for me in Leningrad at the—
?Goonse [?]. It was an optical establishment, the best we had in the country, and it was made because of international geophysical year.
But I was the leading person and devised all that, not just the optics, which is not professional for me, but how to operate, what was the method for scanning. Many original things were implied there. There were only two exenplyers [?] made. And it was just, just ready, so I came I thought that I would take it. And Krausofsky called me and said that I must inform you that I am engaged in work with a satellite instrument, so you can choose either you proceed with your spectrometer and then I will ask somebody else, and it was actually evident whom he will ask—he will ask Weisberg.
Yes. But he didn’t say that. Or you take this, but then you cut all your relation to this spectrometer I will give it to somebody else again.
And this was a Sputnik 3 experiment?
Yes. So just.
What experiment was this?
No, oh, I said yes I will certainly will do space. He said, “Just think because you invested much in this spectrometer said not no any word, not any desire to be involved. Okay,” he said. And it was actually first experiment with low energy particles. Krausofsky worked during the War and actually before and a little bit after making electron optical amplifiers. He worked in industry and he started it with your philosophy.
Tell a little about Krausofsky.
Krausofsky was one of the most interesting and influential personalities I have met in my life. He was a son of a priest. Because of that, it was forbidden to him to enter university. He worked; he was very much devoted to physics. Without any education. He was born in the small city not far from Moscow but far enough that there was no easy connection. And so he did everything himself.
The name of the city?
I beg your pardon.
I think it was Satolff, but it I could be wrong; I don’t want to make the wrong information. He himself tried to study, but certainly there were neither books nor teachers, nothing. He worked for sometime as and assistant to some, well, faked medicine he told it to me and some others who said that his healing syphilis. Syphilis, is that okay?
Okay. The procedure was the following. The victim was put on the metal table with wires around, and then from roomkorf [?] coil the high voltage was put to him in different places, mostly were close to genitals. Well, it was villagers, you know?
It was impressive, I’m sure.
But people like it because this healing was significant. It was not something like tablets or something else. I don’t know what real effect was, but there was great success. In the part of Krausofsky he was young and suddenly was to make this high voltage supply working. So later, still without education, he came to the Yolflier [?] Institute which was just cradle for all our physics in our country and some ???.
Yes. But how could he? If it was impossible for him to enter university, would he come to an institute?
No, he certainly was like just a lowest level technician. Because he just tried to find some way to go there, and at the same time he worked or at the same time or at some sequence I don’t know exactly, he worked at the factory, it was electronic factory with the name Switlana [?]. Switlana was the daughter of Stalin.
Is that all in Moscow?
No, no it was always in Leningrad at that time. And Yolflier institute and Switlana. So he gradually begin to grasp some physics, but he still could not enter university. So he passed the exams which were called exterent [?]. That means without just going to lectures but just coming to pass exams. So his high education was because of that not just regular, but he was extremely talented with great intuition. He worked in this Switlana and became chief of the department.
What does Switlana make?
Well, it was what I know that he made there this electron optical transducers.
And they were used.
Because it was Swit?
No, no, no. Switlana was just the name of daughter of?
Yes, but it was chosen probably because [inaudible].
Oh, I don't know, because they made photo multipliers, what I know also. But something connected with electronics. I would better say electronics. At that time high tech. and there are many stories about that period told by him. But probably I will tell one story.
What year was it about?
This was I think ‘30s.
When was he born?
Oh he was born at the beginning of the century, first years, I don’t remember exactly.
I see. Before the Revolution?
Yes, before. I think he was of the age of comparable to my father. My father was born in 1905, so it was about that. But he became quite significant personality, and that’s my next story, which probably you are tired though already. But this story I think is a part of our history so I must tell it. Not many people know about it. These electron optical amplifiers were certainly used as infrared, how do you put it?
Sniper scopes, yes. But not only sniper scopes but for tanks and for all that they were aimed to.
And it was known the Germans do that, and so they during the War that was their main task, and he was rather successful with that.
While the Germans were all in Leningrad?
No, no, no, they had siege around but never had taken it.
Right, but he was inside?
No. Such industries we were evacuated from St. Petersburg because it was for all army. At first he was, but then he was taken as a very important specialist.
During the preparation of the Stalingrad assault, they in great secret several new technologies were introduced. And his— these devices for aiming were installed in tanks and all these main constructors and people who would be needed for any consultation with new equipment were collected near the cabinet of Stalin during this time, and as he told me the door to the cabinet was open.
No, no. Cabinet is the office.
Yes. And they were outside, but the door was opened, so they heard what is going on. And they just waited and waited because if they will be needed they’re at hand. And it was obvious for everybody that this is a critical point in our history. So that’s what he told me more or less inparentize [?] that obviously nothing could be seen through these devices. Those were his words. Very barely said. He was very critical; never self-content, you know? He was always very critical to everything. And as they have heard from this that some top military person, probably Marshall or something like that, told Stalin the following— or at least he told me that I don’t know what was exactly told or what was restored afterwards. But that you probably know that it’s about near a quite significant amount of vodka was given to these people of tanks before the attack.
No I didn’t know that.
Yes but everybody were?
Because in Russia it was winter, it was rather cold. But it’s just for bravery. But more important that it’s a fact. So and everybody understood the importance of the moment. And so at some moment they began to move. It was our great fortune that there was a very bad weather and German aviation didn’t fly, so San Paulis [?] did not understand that its an attack. He thought that when he heard some shooting that one of his divisions struck another in darkness. Their reconnaissance was absolutely incapable because it was a great amount of people, great amount of weaponry collected, and great secret.
Oh, so the tanks came out in the dark? Was he inside?
Yes in the dark, and they had each a projector covered with what we call marblete glass. This is a filter which transparent for only for infrared but otherwise black for eyes. So they moved, and the distance between tanks was rather short, about tens of meters—like that, not more. So it is not sufficient because for without road and they begin to strike one another.
Our tanks. So, but they were brave. The stop tank took something metal, struck to this filter. There was a strong projector is normal light, and saw it was a great amount of tanks and just a river of light, and they move this way. But this device was a burden because they had to look at it. So they took device and throw out. And Stalin ordered and they were of very high level of classifications, these devices. He said to collect all of them. You can imagine that when a division of tanks is going at such a moment to collect them was certainly of primary importance. But that was his story to me. And actually he had another quite significant, even more significant contribution to the war. It was described several times to my understanding always not correctly. When our army was near order, the other side was enormously strongly fortified enormously because it was understood that—
That was Germany?
It was Germany; it was obvious that if it will come to that it means a critical point. So they had very significant artillery there, and they had certainly these infrared.
The Germans, yes. And of rather good quality, and every point had to be covered. So this story is several times described in our history, but what I will tell deviates from that a little bit. So Krausofsky proposed that and that was studied and made, again in great secret, projectors for anti-aircraft were collected at the front. And it was clear, some signs were specially made, that attack will soon follow before, and it was right.
Russian attack. So it was obvious that sometimes they rush to do it in the collection of troops and so on. And it was indeed made, and certainly it could not escape attention of German reconnaissance not only because it was German territory, because it was a high amount and it was a river to cross. And certainly there all this equipment was directed and at some moment all these projectors was fired, and they destroyed these infrared.
Oh, because the infrared can’t take the light?
Because it was enormous light. They were highly— this is like photo multiplier. If you put a strong light it will poof and that’s all. And just at this moment attack started, indeed.
Yes, in deep night. So it is considered that at least 10,000 lives were saved. Certainly they should, and certainly there was a great artillery.
But they blinded the infrared?
They blinded. At first they could not understand what is going on because that was something absolutely unexpected and doesn’t work and so on. Some moments were saved. So he had many other achievements. I can speak about it for long time.
After the War what did he do?
For some time he still worked and I don’t remember at which establishment just making this for the Electro optical amplifiers we call it. But then he made another very strange thing. While they were highly classified he made them differently in such a way in secret in such a way that there were not of the four of these classified equipment but just different. Took them to Crimea, came to the Director of our astronomical observatory—very bright personality academician, Schine [?], one of our top astronomers—and asked him to make and experiment to try to look in infrared to the center of galaxy. And they did it and here later received a Stalin prize for these results. But it was a scandal in fact because when these authorities understood that this infrared equipment is used openly and published that it was a scandal. But he certainly wanted to somewhat leave this industry and go to science, as he wanted from the very beginning, but then he found this way.
So he came to Stanberg?
No, no, no. He came to the Geophysical Institute.
Also in Moscow?
Also in Moscow. And photographed, again for the first time, the infrared spectrum of the night sky in what is called manel bens [?], but he photographed it. They are called manel. I don’t remember exactly who was the first, but at least he it was independent simultaneously.
No, no, no, this is manel bens. This is bens of an— That’s a good point. Entoplus [?] molecule is some infrared system. The strongest in aurora. In?
In night glow?
In night glow. In O8, in hydroxyl. It is very strong in aurora also. And he studied that and several other things in this spectroscopy. He always was very keen not to sign papers of his collaborators and pupils. So I had several scandals with him. When he gave me his two satellites because the beginning of their so-called Cosmos program.
Cosmos 3 and 5?
Yes, Cosmos 3 and 5 was his. Actually Koraloff was asked to make four small satellites. They were 300 kilograms each and it was in Russia considered small. It was considered that he will make four different. Well, he made two pairs, one pair without solar panels, another with solar panels for Krausofsky, and without for Grengaus because he was afraid of solar panels because they will disturb the environment of the satellite therefore thermal plasma. He was right, in fact. They do disturb. And there was not metalized surfaces. We now make these demetalized surfaces but at that time no.
Because they were charged up?.
Yes because of charge. But he wanted to make this ??? ??? characteristics. But one of these, the first, Cosmos 1 was just without any scientific equipment to test the separation. While I am on these first two, one was unsuccessful; another was called Cosmos 2. I don’t remember which was first or which was the second. And next was our Cosmos 3 and then in less than a month was Cosmos 5. In-between there was some satellite which I don’t know which was certainly not scientific.
What year was that? That was late ‘62?
1962. It was April-May 1962 for us.
And well with that he gave it to me.
What with instruments?
Instruments were mostly there something of his electron optical amplifiers, because we wanted to measure photoelectrons and low energy electrons, and for that we used post-auxiliary acceleration. At first it was 5 kilovolts in Cosmos 3 and it was 11 kilovolts in Cosmos 5.
Well, postal, not post. Its inside, it depends how—
But the original electrons were few electron volts?
Yes. They were few electron volts and there are some steps, but there was acceleration and the foil with luminescence screen. So changing—
In the photo multiplier?
In the photo multiplier and changing the acceleration voltage.
Were there grids in front which could select different energies of??
No, no, no, energy was not selected; it was just a tube, only acceleration and?
No, before the acceleration. The original ones.
No, no, no.
Was it the photoelectrons were all the same?
Yes, yes all the same. But then you accelerate them to fourth step.
So you don’t know the energy of the photoelectrons?
No. Just look. Look here. Four steps of acceleration. One kilovolt, I don’t remember. Three kilovolt, five, eleven. Depending on the spectrum inside. You can evaluate.
The spectrum outside?
For incoming of the incoming spectrum you could evaluate, and for the highest acceleration actually photoelectron dominated. But with that we met the Starfish, and that was another story.
Before you come to Starfish, tell how Krausofsky— he taught at the university also?
No, no, no.
No. How did Krausofsky and Schakowsky get together?
This I don’t know, but I am sure do not know exactly. But Schakowsky also worked much with the Crimean observatory, they were very good friends with Schine. And I am sure that they became acquainted there. And Schakowsky also worked with Eirglow, with hydroxyl emission and so on. So they had some common interests and became friends.
When did Krausofsky die?
Oh, I’m bad; somewhere in ‘80s.
Somebody told me that there was a biography of Krausofsky, an autobiography, journal or something? Ever heard about it?
No. I have one ex-colleague, Chumney, who tries to do something, and he certainly found something and collected and I am sure published. But some way I do not know. But the adopted daughter Krausofsky, daughter of his wife from her first marriage, Krausofsky have written his memoirs.
Well, that’s what I heard too.
Yes but she took them, and up till now nobody has seen them.
That’s what somebody told me. So we are back with Explorer 1, Explorer 3, and Sputniks 3. 1958, you are in the Arctic. What happened?
Hmm. Well, first of all, from this new year of 1958 I became to be involved with this instrument with calibration. But also I went also to the Arctic to finish my things, and some for sometime I still went there.
But did you hear about the Van Allen and Explorer 1?
Oh surely—we were we had full information about that. But we were calibrating the instrument, then it was taken to Kasmadron [?] for launch. And then I had and engineer, very bright personality. He was a fleet officer before absolutely brave, very beautiful, and very sympathetic. He was sent but to the Kasmadron. But I must tell you once a strange story. Well taking me to this direction, before I had no clearance or the lowest, which was not nothing. But for to work for with satellites I had to have a very high clearance. At that time it was I would not say the highest, but quite significant. So some I signed some documents, filed some documents and all that. Well, it went and nothing. So, well, obviously it was not very quick. One, two, three months comes, nothing. No response. So Krausofsky begin to be bothered. He said if they will not give you, you will not work. Because I was very young and still I had to ask questions.
Were you married?
At that time yes. I married to 1956. I had to ask quite significant people to come to me because I could not go there, and so it was rather strange. I was not some higher personality. But anyway, it appeared that probably they will not give me this clearance. So by director of the institute there was some?
Not push; this could not be pushed because it was high KGB levels. But to verify whether it’s okay with me or not. And the answer came. Well it was a KA, but just wait. We have nobodies to sign it because just at that time Berea was dismissed, and so they had no person to sign these documents. [laughs] Okay, so we worked very hard and we tried to understand what is all the information.
What do you make of the radiation belt? It must have excited you. Does it have a connection to the aurora?
I feel that you didn’t read this what I have sent to you in 1959, because one of our first papers of 1959 (or ’58—it was published in 1959; actually it was written in 1958), the origin of radiation belts. Everything is written there. and I would say that I am still proud of that. So I will not retell it because everything is here.
We’re as at Sputnik 3.
Yes. Sputnik 3 was quite a significant achievement because in the way how it was devised and the way how the science was discussed and what results were. There were some quite significant results. There were also results that were completely wrong. For example there were measurements with a the debrading [?] capacitors of the electric field at the surface, but it was considered by the authors of the experiment that they will measure electric field in space. So that was obvious what they really measured, they measured linear sheath, and that was and enormous electric field and everybody laughed. But what is interesting is that some begin to laugh long before the launching, so they said that it is impossible to— that its absolutely unqualified. But then Keldisch for example and probably some others said, well, there is another opinion. We know nothing, let them be. And so it was installed, and well, the result was obvious looking from now.
Tell us about your results.
Our results—we had very significant fighting. I mean because certainly I was and assistant, but the fighting was between Krausofsky and Schakowsky from one side and Verdnoff and his group from another. This is all described in this paper. Not probably to be clear after my explanations the emotional part, but scientific part was that Verdnoff and his collogues were really wonderful specialists in the cosmic rays, and in that field they were well known and obviously very famous. At the same time as Verdnoff many years later accepted himself, they absolutely did not understand anything about geophysics.
But didn’t Verdnoff predict, or explain that neutron orbital effect?
Yes I will come to that. They supposed and— that was not supposed it was presented in many discussions, which were very vivid that low energies he said are just secondary of the cosmic rays, so there is no need to study them because by studying the primary cosmic rays everything else can be deduced. The argument of Krausofsky was that if we switch off the mirroring, then all your radiation belts will fall down in several seconds and all the energy will be gone. Well, a magnetic storm lasts for many days so you can just even you can evaluate the ratio of energies involved. And he was certainly absolutely right. And in fact we won this war, but it was a victory of peer [?] because Verdnoff was director of the very strong Institute of Nuclear Physics of Moscow University, first. Second he has very significant support of many physicists who just knew this field of science very well and certainly understood that these are very good specialists. Well, geophysics was not in that field. At that time plasma physics was nearly not known and all what we could say was not based on some significant physical background and physical?
No, no, no, I would not say. I mean that there were no many specialists who would support us among in physical circles. Well, quite opposite was with Verdnoff. So in reality Verdnoff governed all the distribution of treasuries on each satellite project. Treasuries obviously are weight, telemetry, and power. So his typical attitude was that 70% goes to us he said, and others you can share. So you can see that in all our first projects the distribution of all these treasuries looking at the description of operators. So there was always very significant quantity of consolation detectors, Geiger counters, nothing more; sometimes ionization chambers, but nothing more. While to install anything significant for low energy particles was nearly improbable. So we worked with very simple apparatus, and this apparatus consisted of two tubes. These were what is called full ionization instrument. That is the photo-multiplier before that is luminous screen covered with some foils. So having different instruments with different foils it was impossible to evaluate in fact something of range, but that was all we had. We had two detectors like that. They can be seen on the Sputnik 3 near its nose just perpendicular to the main axis. And they were another part of that.
It was no post-acceleration?
No, no, no, at that time no. It was much later in Sputnik. It was the Cosmos 3 and 5. And there were plasma traps by Grengaus. Keldisch nominated Krausofsky to be an official, or (how to say) the scientific guidance for Grengaus because Grengaus first of all he was engineer by education, and secondly he had was very good with things like electronics, telemetry, antennas—radio equipment that was perfect, while in geophysics he just could not experience. So even myself once preparing for some very important report to Keldisch, actually it was a small seminar at the office of Keldisch where I was the only Ph.D., others were either professors or academicians and member correspondence of academy. But my two teachers Krausofsky and Schakowsky took me there, so I was the youngest and the smallest in degree there. And to prepare Grengaus for that, Krausofsky asked me to make a course of lectures to Grengaus. Grengaus was actually very angry with me because for him it was rather strange—he is so great and I am so small and much younger, how could I teach him? Some because by personality here. But we were actually in very good relations at that time. And he spent very much time in the laboratory of Krausofsky, and we discussed all that and so on. We even— they were proposed— the name was Sputnik without Verdnoff. It was something absolutely new in comparison with what was before.
No, no, no, it was proposed was high altitude with the name plasma. It never was realized because at last moment Grengaus decided that he would better join some project of Verdnoff then to go to this not very sure experience, and since that our relations deteriorated highly.
What is the background of Grengaus?
I don’t remember exactly again, but he finished Polytechnical Institute as and engineer and not in Moscow I think and worked in.
It was radio engineer wasn’t it?
Yes, radio engineer. But not only was he very talented, but was great in petros [?], I would say. So he worked in a very classified establishment which made telemetry and common glides for our rockets, so you can imagine that was really classified. And for their great chief of this establishment, science was insulting. He said these people do science that meant that they, well?
Not only waste but something much worse than that. I will not name him but in our country he is well known. And in that establishment it was very difficult for him because he was forbidden even to sign the papers by his name because then this great secret will somewhat appear that they are connected with space.
Yes, yes. And his first papers there was a problem and for one paper Keldisch himself— Krausofsky even didn’t want to sign papers which we made together, you know?
I know. He wanted you to get the credit?
Yes. But that was I don’t remember exactly, but probably it was before some visit to Washington to NASA, just emerging NASA. Oh no, there was no NASA at that time I think. It was a visit to the American Academy of Science, and there were very few results and Grengaus had very good results, so they had to be published according to our laws at that time; nothing could be exposed abroad before it was published inside. So they had to be published, but Grengaus could not sign it, and they together, mostly Keldisch, insisted that Krausofsky sign it because his scientific consultant and guide. Krausofsky was furious I remember that very well and this paper exists you can see it in our Escusian Le Sputnik [?]—that’s a journal which was published, not regularly. But so Krausofsky— and then you can easily see that these are results of Grengaus because it was an order, you know? Now it is very strange to say, but at that time— But later Grengaus just repeated word by word this text with his own name, but it occurred much later because Krausofsky and Schakowsky newly at that time came to Keldisch and said that it is awful that such a talented personality cannot really do science, so please take some measures to move him into the Academy of Sciences. Keldisch agreed, and called by telephone the minister which was above that establishment, whom he certainly knew.
Which was some radio industry?
Yes something like that. No, but Ministry was on radio industry or I don’t know exactly but it was a very, very serious Ministry. He said well don’t take me by neck—give me some time.
The minister said this?
Yes, I will answer you. In two weeks a department of 70 people with great amount of equipment, with great amount of paper to be written, was moved to another institute to the Radio Technical Institute, which belongs to the Academy, a very high level institute.
Just for one man?
No, no; all of these laboratory.
Laboratory or department I don’t remember what they have, but there were plenty of people. I remember when they were 70, but not at the time when they were inside this establishment. Which I never entered. It was absolutely impossible. I even did not know where it was. Okay, how could it be in two weeks? The answer was very interesting, and I told about it when there was celebration of Grengaus 70, after his death. Tamara Briolse convinced me that I speak and I told this story. I said that this is unique case in our country with Grengaus that he was twice Lenin prized. Because by law only once a person in his life can be praised, and he was twice. Why? Because he was and it was absolutely inevitable that he would be in the list for Sputnik 1.
No doubts. And he was in this list. But this call of Keldisch came two weeks before the deadline of submitting this list for Lenin prize. But a person who had— as this list was submitted by this Ministry and so on and so on. So if he drops from this Ministry he cannot be in this list. So he was read out and somebody else was replaced, and that is because all this was done in such a fantastically short period. Because by that time he must be not the member of this Ministry. Is that clear?
No. Who was the ones who got the prized for Sputnik 1?
Well, there was at least at maximum, if I remember well twelve persons could be there.
And that was from the Academy?
No, no, no, there was nobody from Academy. Because Sputnik 1 has not no science at all. They were all from industry. They were from rocketry, they were from telemetry, from whatever. And certainly people from this establishment where Grengaus worked.
And Grengaus was one of them?
And Grengaus was one of them. And this was submitted by this Ministry, or together in a Ministry of Rocketry, and this one I don’t know. But anyway the list was not more that twelve people. So if Grengaus is read out, then somebody else can be placed there. And then in the interests of this unknown to me person, Grengaus all this organizational thing which now normally will take many, many months of writing papers to move from one Ministry to another with all the equipment?
So Grengaus was not on the list that got a Lenin prize?
No, no. At that time he was a— For me he actually— if he would not change he will be on the, he was on that list, and if he would not change the job, then?
He would have got the prize?
?he would have got the prize. So everything, he deserves that. He was on this list he had to get it.
But he didn’t get [inaudible] ?
But he didn’t— No, he didn’t get it all at that time. But later he got Lenin prize for Sputnik 3. So actually he has, he had Lenin prize officially, fully, yes. But that preceding one, to me he changed—
[Inaudible; overlapping speakers]
Yes. That he changed doesn’t mean that he didn’t deserve that—he certainly deserved it.
Okay, now I understand.
Yes. So you can imagine that we really were in very good relations and so on. For example, Tamara Briolse whom I am sure you know.
I don’t. I have heard of her.
Oh the most beautiful girl on the physical faculty at that time. And I recommended her to Grengaus and so on. So we were at that time we were in very good relations. But then he somewhat changed his mind and became very great and our relations changed.
Now tell me about Keldisch. Keldisch is a name I hear all the time as being the godfather of a lot of space research.
Well, Keldisch was extremely talented mathematician, one of the strongest in our country. He was from the school, as far as I know, of Zakawlsky [?], Cheplegan. There was a bunch of a academicians who actually made all our theoretical aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. And because of that he became academician, and then became the president of the Academy.
Oh, don’t ask me. I am very bad with dates that may be wrong. But he appeared to be a very strong personality, He worked in some also classified establishment which made rockets and so on. but he certainly was making some theory in mathematics and so on. But he appeared to be a very strong personality. So also because of all this rise with Sputnik and so on, his importance became unprecedented for our academy.
Was he in touch with Collier?
Surely, how could it be?
When did that contact start?
Oh, you ask me questions which are difficult for me. But Krausofsky once told me that he participated in the meeting in the first meeting when in, as far as I remember it was about 1955 when very small amount of people, among which was Keldisch certainly but probably Koraloff, but not surely, ho just discussed that there will be a possibility to make a Sputnik. And so what are the most important scientific problems and so on. And again another story and joke. On this small meeting, participated the Chief of Staff in the Academy for supply of instruments, of all finances and all that. His name was Bill Gapoloff. He was not academician, but he was clever. People say that he was much cleverer then at least many academicians. And you can judge that from that what I will tell you now. After the meeting they are rising up and all that Gapoloff said, but my English is insufficient to translate properly because he said it in specially folkloric way.
Say it in Russian first.
[saying phrase in Russian] That means that something you suggest can be dangerous. It is like to chase the bull with a red thing. Thinking about United States, obviously. So at that time it was fantastic; I am sure it is fantastic even now. Okay, so that probably but I am not sure Koraloff— I would not say that I knew him. Krausofsky knew him very well. But the joke is that my parents knew him very well, but they certainly did not know who he is, because his second wife before was a student of my father and they were their guests and so on. But only later they understood all that.
Now back to Keldisch.
Keldisch had a very serious influence on all, but just returning to this report of Grengaus in this small seminar which was in the small office of Keldisch in his Institute, because he was of the same time the Director of the Institute, Mathematical Institute. And there was this seminar, and after Grengaus made his report, really not very well, about his results on the moon ???, and he said something about but about potential, about photoelectrons.
The rate of this?
The spin modulation?
No, no, no. Actually a very significant problem was what measures his trap? His trap at that time they were very poor theory by an American well known scientist at that time. Well, my memory becomes worse. I remember the paper. And the paper certainly was wrong. And to understand that, because he had potentials up to say 15 volts, so to understand why the signal changes you need to know something around. And Schakowsky asked his pupils Corrde and Morose, and there is a paper later published by them about it, please show that you are qualified astrophysicists. Make me theory in two weeks what is the potential of a piece of iron in space. And they did it. They consulted me about what is known for the magnetosphere and so on. And then they devised all this theory. And from that theory it was clear that the photoelectrons make most of the potential. And because of that the potential is factor of energy of photoelectrons.
What did Grengaus say it was? What did he measure?
Well, this I will not answer.
But it was clear that the potential of a satellite is low. And because of that the changes in these currents are changes in the surrounding plasma. And when the satellite goes outside the magnetosphere, then you can someway looking at that evaluate the temperature— I mean energy like that. So all this is published so you can look at this paper. Grengaus was very reluctant to that, and insisted that he would sign this paper also. Well it had some reason because anyway that they analyzed his data. And I even remember as Schakowsky asked me, “Yuri, I ask you to sign this paper also.” I said, “No, I only consulted. I didn’t do this work. I was very busy at that time.” He said, “Well, but I ask you. Bit would be much more convenient.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “You see, your name also starts with ‘G’ but then goes ‘A’, so you will be the first author and not Grengaus.” Because he did nothing, he said. Well, another point in this story.
Did you sign it?
Certainly no. It came as Grengaus, Courtmoras [?], and Schakowsky. And it’s a rather famous paper.
But it’s [inaudible]?
At the suggestion of Schakowsky.
Yes. And they published. Because of all this tension they published a detailed paper independently in and astronomical journal. I can give you citation; I have all the work. And the point is that in working with Lenaire [?] for this book, and apparently all the history was told, when described something of that to Joseph, he said, “I have never have heard from Grengaus about this paper. Please give me.” So he never mentioned that paper by Corrode and Morose. Well but anyway, on this seminar he made it rather poorly. And you asked me about Keldisch and that’s why I tell all that. Keldisch had his own system of let us say algebraic notions. So people who knew him could easily decode what he said. So what he said was (I heard it in my own ears). He said, “You know, I am still a mathematician. and frankly I understood nothing. Could you explain to me please what is a photoelectron?” That decoding this meant that the report was awful. [laughs]
Okay. What did Keldisch do afterwards? Keldisch I understand was a good influence.
You know in general it was very good because the influence of science during his time was enormous, and he kept it, and he made some special measures that the opinion of Academy. That means of some commission of academicians became a tradition to be asked. So for that system it was something strange, because either before or after that was— Well, Academy can have their opinion, but we know what to do. So it’s only and opinion. Well, during Keldisch time it was different. It was not less significant than the other Ministry. And there was specific kind of democracy so that if some ministries doesn’t agree, they must be well somewhat consulted and convinced or just modified, so it was quite significant in the Bureaucratic way of dealing with.
But if Keldisch said it’s at a poor level, then the scientists themselves would be disturbed?
Hmm, excuse me I didn’t understand.
If Keldisch criticized the paper or admission.
Admission? Well, I would not say— Except in such seminars, I have not deled with him personally. So the way how the decisions were taken I certainly don’t know, but I know some consequences of that.
When did he die?
Well, David, I am very poor with dates.
Okay. Okay. Who replaced him?
If I remember well, it was Nis Meyanoff [?]. Nis Meyanoff was a chemist, very bright chemists, vigitarian [?], which you can at that time it was absolutely fantastic. And the best thing which I would like to tell about him the story which I am sure everybody in our country must remember. Hurschoff [?]— party all the time tried to introduce some specific figures in the Academy sometimes they were really scientists and sometimes no, but to the voting in the Academy more or less controlled, because it was the only system which was with voting with elections and so on. And they wanted to introduce a person with the name Trapese Nikhoff, who was the Chief of the Department in the central committee Department of Science (probably then not the exact name, but who dealt with science). Absolutely party figure with out any— he supported in particularly Semco and was known enough. And the voting and there were measures there were decisions of party part of academicians, how they must vote, and then bump, elections and he was not elected. And Hurschoff was furious, and called Nis Meyanoff to his office and said, “We will dissolve at your academy.” And this Vigitarian said, “Academy was found by Peter, and you are not of the level to dissolve it.”
Let’s go back then to 1959 and 1960, you were.
I will repeat it in Russian to the extent I know.
[speaking in Russian]
I was told that it can in parenthesis.
Before we go on, you said you got married in 1956?
Tell about it.
About my marriage?
I hear that Natasha will be angry with me. I don’t know what?
I tell you what my wife says if I tell about girlfriends I had. She says I don’t care. I got him.
No, the problem is not in girlfriends, but I think?
What was her name then?
Of your first wife?
No, she is my first and last wife.
So you must tell about it.
No, no. Surely I think what story can be.
You graduated from the university?
Did she study at the university?
Yes. She studied in the university on the biological faculty. And we were very close friends, and sometimes I even invited her with me to my group parties and so on. But we were only friends. We had not just tried to help one another in our love affairs. But at some stage it became clear that if I will not marry her then there will be not much sense in anything else. So, well, our parents were friends. I’ll just think what story to tell you. Well, all of them are rather personal. But we are of the same background, very close in our opinions and with our friends and so.
You don’t have to tell details. If you want you can.
Well, frankly, I always— Well, one story which you didn’t read but Schakowsky describes that story. The story was that her actual father divorced her mother when she was about 4 years old. He was a diplomat and worked in our embassy in Paris. We were born in ’32, so it was about ’36. And our ambassador in Paris was one of our brightest figures, Surritz [?], very famous. And this was before the War and it was more and more clear that the War is approaching. Surritz was called to Moscow, so it was about ’37, shot as many bright figures, and it appeared that either immediately or after some other similar situation and Natasha’s father, his name was Eivenoff [?]. And all this story is described by Aaron Brodke [?]. Do you know Aronberg?
Yes, a writer. He was his friend. Aronberg was in France also and they were close friends. And later in his memoirs, people, years, and life, Aronberg described this story which I tell you. So he became the main figure in the embassy, despite that he had not a title of ambassador but that he was some secretary. But others would just disappear. And as any other ambassador, he sent reports of what is going on in this country to his own country. He was very anti-German, more and more, seeing what is going on. And just by that time, we had the Romans with Rubentroph [?]. And so obviously he understood all that, but kept writing in the same way. He was sure that anyway he will be shot when he will return, but, well, other things obvious. But he was not called for a long time. The first wave of this killings pasted. And somewhere at about 1939, he called to Moscow and he thought that he will die rather quickly. But not. He was put in some sanitarium guarded, so obviously he was arrested. But as time went and went then he was jailed more seriously, but still not killed. And time passed, and he was judged two weeks after 22nd of June.
Two weeks after. But they even did not change the accusation and accusation was quite negative opinion or feeling against Germany. They just copied what was before. They absolutely didn’t care about how it looked that two weeks were of war. So he was jailed with this accusation. He returned some where after 1956, I think, but lived not much, because certainly he was ruined out. So Natasha I called her an honorable Jew because his actual name was Bevenoff [?], and he was at high level family, high level before the Revolution. When she became 16 she was very fond with her step-father. He was outstanding personality, in fact. For example, he remembered all Russian poetry by heart—he remember by heart poets who names I never have heard, and I know something my self also. So he was outstanding in many aspects. And my mother-in-law called him Marxist idealist. I don’t know whether you catch the joke because Marxist had to be materialist not idealist. But he was very idealistic.
I though capitalists were materialists.
No. Well, that’s a new story. Well, that’s the story about her father. The next story is that we’re at the first, the beginning of our cooperation with France was after Degorovos visited Russia, was shown rocket launchings, and ordered his people to make the corporation. Some delegation came, we discussed something, and there was first delegation to France. It happened that from scientists there were only two, Schakowsky and myself. It was very strange.
That was your first trip abroad?
No, no, it was not my first trip abroad. I already had been at Caspaire and Italy and something else. Well, first my trip was to China in 1959. It was 1967, before the student revolution. Just Paris like described by Hemmingway, a feast [?] which is always with you, so fantastic. And we were two— Well, everybody certainly among science knew Schakowsky, but some even knew me. And with French manners they considered that these are two scientists and will others are our consultants or aides for it. Well in reality, they were the top of our rocketry from very top engineers, Bob Backen [?]. You know about Bob Backen, yes?
Well, you must know because he constructed all of our far side probes, these lunar hode [?] and Venus and Mars and so on. But Bob Backen was member of the delegation. Well, there were top people.
I will have to talk to you again. Today we won’t finish everything.
I wonder ever if we finish if proceed this way ever. Because and it was wonderful in Paris. I forgot where?
About Degall [?] and ??? thinking that you were—
The events— Schakowsky and myself are sitting in two?
Start again. Shaffer?
Yuri Shaffer was also one of my friends, and I’m very proud of that. He was absolutely an outstanding personality. First of all, in about?I don’t remember exactly, but either in 1955 or in 1956 he launched the first rockets that we had that they were Fau II [?] armed. It was called differently because it was our development of Fau, and the rocket from Cumpustenyard reached about?
Was it V2?
V2, yes. V2 German rockets. But they were modified, and I don’t know to what extent—other people know better, and it is all described in literature. My mechanical engineer participated in these launches and he told me also something about it. So in about 1955 or 1956 he launched from Cumpustenyard—this is ‘L’ about 2.2—he launched his instruments for measuring cosmic rays to altitude of 500 kilometers. I already said that probably before that if such and experiment would be done in the United States it will reach radiation belts. But for our country the magnetic field is stronger and so the lower boundary of trapped radiation lies at higher altitude, so they did not reach it. But he created, built, and led the— in Russian it is Ickfeeah [sp?], Institute of Cosmical Physics and Ironamy of the Equchian [?] branch of the Siberian part of academy in Yecutz [?]. It was located in and old church which was had a very solid fundament for measurement, and for various measurements it was very important that on this ground which has permafrost various fundament is extremely solid, and that was the reason for using this building. Then he built another very good building and now this Institute is located there in one of the best locations for scientific institute in Siberia.
[Inaudible] during the War?
In the War he was pilot fighter. He was for me it was very interesting to see. He was absolutely brave—no fear at all—and everybody understood that he will reach any point he needs despite any weather conditions. So he had installed several stations, and in particular Atixie [?] was mainly equipped by him, and there was several stations in Siberia with which I worked much and we collaborated very closely. But besides that, he was just and outstanding personality—a pure scientist with real curiosity. So some people—
And after Sputnik?
He made several space experiments. Mostly he launched ionization chambers to measure high energy cosmic rays. But he was very not as narrow minded as many cosmic ray physics, but he even named his institute Cosmo Physics and Ironamy. He understood and was very enthusiastic with studies of ironamy in the equchia because the equchia lies on the meridian which is the farthest from the magnetic pole. So the difference between geographic and invarioton [?] geomagnetic latitude is the highest there. So that led to very significant consequences. For example, in winter while the wind systems for example are different the night was much deeper at high latitudes than for other meridians, regions. And conjugate ionosphere was also dark while in many other places, for example above United States, the in winter conjugate ionosphere is solid. So there were some differences that interested him very much. He was very wide-minded and supported theory. He was an experimenter, but he worked very much to install serious theory in his Institute and was very well cooperated with other institutes of the country.
When did he die?
I am very bad with dates, but it was about I think seven to ten years ago.
Okay. Now lets go back to IKY.
IKY celebrated 35 years in 1999, which means that it was founded in 1964?
Well, formally you are right. I had some fighting about this date and I failed. Well there are some papers which certainly are dated this way, but bureaucracy worked slowly, and there were some personalities whom I will not name who were very much against of creation of IKY because it was clear that it will change the distribution of powers. And because of that the real creation of IKY when some real people appeared and to some real place was 1967, and mine was among a couple of first laboratories which were introduced. We were moved from our parent institutes just as already working groups with IKY.
You worked at atmospheric?
Yes. I was before in the Institute of the Physics over the atmosphere, whose director was Academician Alexander Orbohoff [?]. That’s Kalmagoroff and Orbohoff law, you know, of two-thirds? So it was a wonderful institute and it is, and very bright people and very good mood.
Did you have any people who were students of Landau?
Yes, surely. Well, my close friend Alexander Gudivich was a pupil of also Landau and Ginsburg, and Schakowsky to some extent can be considered is a pupil of Landau. Not fully, but to some extent. I try to remember who else.
I was told by Stanischlof Beginski that it was a custom for young seotichians [?] to come to Landau and he would test them, and if they passed the test he would give them a problem. Which he did, Beginski, once; he didn’t come back. But other people came back again and again and it was a matter of like getting a degree beyond the doctoral: “How many problems of Landau did you solve?” Did you have any of this? Did you know any of that?
Well, I have heard about it much, but some more details for that because I know some people who passed that.
Sagdiate [?] was the last one.
Yes. How many did you do?
This I don’t know, but several others of my good friends, terraticians [?] did it.
Can you even give some names?
Well, obviously Godavations Alaschenski. Well, I’m afraid that I will be wrong. My memory is not the best all my life, not just now. But the details were a little bit more. I would better tell what I know about it.
Yes, talk about it.
It was announced by Landau that anybody from country, absolutely irrespective of his or her education—it could be a school boy or whatever, can come to him. Well, with some arrangements certainly, and he will ask him. What he will ask him, first of all, all volumes of his course of Landau English and from any point to derive, to derive and discuss with him and so on. So to my knowledge less than a hundred people passed that. And it was very serious. You in principle could come again, but I am not sure that more than two did twice. So I must say that everybody from that who passed became our top theorists. And well when I say everybody, I haven’t checked that myself, but each time when I see a really top level theorists in our country of that age certainly, and if he passed that and were sure that it is something.
Did anybody else do something like that?
I never heard about anybody else. And the tales are were that Landau was lying on the sofa during the exam, and commented and asked just in absolutely informal way, sometimes joking. It looked not quite like a serious exam, but in reality it was probably the most serious ever.
Okay. Tell me what happened in 1964 then? When IKY was founded?
Frankly I even don’t know. I am sure some paper was signed at some top levels which I have never seen and never know about that.
You were there in 1967?
I came in the— We were moved in May 1967, and at that time there were no any real place for the Institute, so we were put in a basement of a rather old building. The basement was quickly repaired so that we can enter that. We had already experiment, and it was not very easy for us to move all of our equipment there and so on. But we managed. During that time, the while the accounting office consularium [?] and these couple of laboratories were pressed in this basement, but we were very happy.
What was the rest of the building?
The rest was just living building—just living apartments. It was and old building at?oh, I forgot. The Nischneah Mosloffka [?], the lower Mosloffka. Mosloff is oil bottom batter, batter. So it was in the near the stadium Genamo [?], a very old and not very convenient building. The result of that was I would not say tragic, but it was say tragic for me, for my lab, because during we had to launch the satellite which later became Cosmos 348. We already had— it was a second in the pair because we already launched the Cosmos 241.
That’s certainty 200?
No, no, before. A year before we launched in ’68. In December of 1968 we launched. Because first time we still were located in the Institute of Physics at Massphere [?] while this basement was still built. But to then we moved there, and we were preparing the second in the pair. And because we had much experience to work with that new Prepretausch [?] factory of rockets and satellites which now can be said because it is another country, no secrets, but before it was very high level secret where it is.
Now it is in?
In Ukrainian and Gemperitausch [?]. It’s a wonderful and very serious establishment with which I cooperated for 30 years and hope to proceed with that, with many bright people there. So they believed us, and so they we agreed that they will come to the institute to our lab to make acceptance of these instruments. We worked very hard because it had to be launched in December, and all of the tests had to be in Prepretausch before. So we worked very hard to prepare our scientific equipment before our November holidays. And so we did it. All this equipment was laying on tables in the lab covered with some covers and so on. And we went to for rest for the holidays. But holidays ended, I was delayed at home, and my colleague, now unfortunately also late.
What’s his name?
Her name was Antennae Bolonova [?]. She calls me with some strange voice, said, “Yuri, there is no laboratory more.” And I said, “What are you talking about?” She said, “This is only water here.” During the holidays the water pressure increased and one very big tube with a jamiter [?], we were told about a meter exploded, and even cars were in water just swimming in water. This water, while at the beginning it certainly was rather clean, but coming to us it was certainly not the case, it flew through windows and filled our basement with all our apparatus.
Higher than the tables?
Oh, well the basement was below the ground. Even now it is difficult to remember there. So by the time I arrived the firemen pumped out the water to the level of the floor of the basement, but when I raised and instrument dirty water flew from it. So you can imagine our situation. So another problem was that by that time already there was some small space for the other part of the Institute near our contemporary building, these glass boxes, and yes, so there was already the time has passed so the Institute enlarged and it was very strongly packed in this glass cubes, and there was obviously no place for us to be placed there.
The building itself was not there?
No, the building was just being built at that time.
That was 1969?
Yes, it was 1969. So mostly I fought with my director, which frankly did not know what to do with me. But I said well I have two projects, one is the satellite another is the interferometer to be?
Yes. ?to be put on the one of our manned station which was later made. So I said, “Just make a decision. You can read out both or any one, or remain two. Just choose and I will obey.” But I cannot.
No, no, no; it was in IKY. The director was Academician Petrolff, Georcory Ivanovich Petroff, very bright gauze and fluid and ergonomic terratitian, very intellectual and intelligent personality. But I would not say that he was a strong director; he was too intelligent for that task in my opinion. So there was vice directors and so on, and I said, “Well, just make and order and I will obey, but you must choose.” They said, “Well this is chanteuse, you cannot you must understand that.”
What is chanteuse?
Chanteuse, it’s a French word which is used in Russian also that means that you force— you present some danger or some fear for a person if he doesn’t do what you want because you say otherwise there will be features so and so, which are dangerous.
So you are threatening him or he is threatening you?
They said that I am threatening. I am sure I wasn’t. I said, “Well, this is a real situation, but somebody must make decision. Obviously you as directors and vice directors must take this decision what to do.” Well they said after all they liberated to us a small room. All of them were small, so this was—
In the glass?
In the glass cube where we— And that was one part. Another part I came to Nepropetraus to.
What did they say? Build both?
No, I don’t remember exactly what they said. They probably said build both but in this space because there is no other. And I accepted that obviously, and we did both in fact. But then I came to Nepropetraus and there was and outstanding personality chief of the department, a lady, Ena Semilnavat Egdelivia [?]. She was probably one of the cleverest people I ever have met during my life. She was engineer, but she was a personality first of all. But she was very talented.
How was she a personality?
Well, I will tell a story about her a little bit later. But now I came there and she said, “Well, you must not worry. We fully understand that it is a disaster. We will write a paper that certainly your obligations are waived.” I said, “No, please, don’t waive this. We will rebuild it.” She said, “I don’t see it as feasible.” I said, “No, I promise.” We had— she knew me well enough, she said, “Well—”
Was it the plasma spectrometer? What was the instrument?
There was a set of instruments, particle spectrometers mostly, some plasma detectors, and so on. It’s all published so I can just indicate the paper where our apparatus was described. So it was published in both Cosmic Research and Geometrics, something was also in Geometrics and Ironamy. And I said, “We’ll rebuild it. We need three months.” She said, “It’s not a problem for me to shift it. Just don’t say it to anybody at all—say that everything is okay, and not to make any scandal to move it three months. It only depends on me under internal planning, so don’t worry.” And we began to revive or rebuild the instruments.
Actually we made them better because we already tested them, knew all the deficiencies and made it them quite significantly better. But it was clear that in about two months that we will not make it in three. So I came there again and said, “Well, we did so and so. Please give us nearly twice as more.” She said, “You are absolutely sure that you will do it?” I said, “You can come and see we really are doing that, and we will absolutely my honor on that.” She said okay. Then I plan it for the summer instead of launching in December. But here you must not deceive me because not it will be critical. So we did it. But when we passed the tests in the Neopropetroski some of our boxes where just with wires from one connector to another; there was nothing inside except wires because they still had to be tested by the abrasion and so on, so real apparatus was partly not present during the test. Everybody knew that, and nobody said a word and so my gratitude. Even now for them, while this was 1970 and 30 years have passed, I would like to thank those people—they believed in me, and they risked actually.
When was it launched?
It was launched in June, if I remember well, 13 of June, 1970. And when we had telemetry.
Wasn’t it in 1968? Was it December 1968?
No, no, no.
When was the flood?
The flood was in November 1969.
Preceding of the satellite with which we started the inter-cosmo cooperation, was launched in December 1968. And it was very significant for start inter-cosmos—
When did the inter-cosmos start?
It was not inter-cosmos because on my— well, too soft character. Because the inter-cosmos program was already started. At least on paper the satellites are being planned and drawn by paper, and instruments were being built. And then I came— I had actually the satellite which had to be from national program, so I proposed, but I was proposed because of the Northern Cosmodrome place was not ready at that time. The proposed to me to launch it from Cumpustenyard at the inclination 49 degrees. I refused; I said that it will just spoil this experiment because we will not reach orbital zone. So we waited for some time, but then my chiefs became to be nervous. They said that you will loose the satellite because it will be just given to somebody else—you do not do it and so you are staying right away.
So I had to do something, and I invented at that time there was and official start of conversations and something like that of the Inter-Cosmos, and they said well let me do it in the frame of Inter-Cosmos. I will teach our colleagues from other countries what to do; they will do ground experiments, geophysical experiments with my neutometers [?], ionize zones, and other things like that, and we will together retrieve the data and analyze. This idea was very well accepted by everybody because it was obvious that our colleagues— It was all classified, much of the information was classified, so they really, being geophysicists, they did not know a satellite technology did not understand many of the things well just only from books and for them it was really quite important. I must say that most of this group became leaders in their own countries later, so it worked very well, and they certainly became my friends and still.
Did you ever have a problem with a separation between the people building satellites and the people building instruments?
Well, let me finish about it. So that was the first launched in 1968. And I had the second one, supposedly a spare unit, and that was this flooding with that and it was shifted from 1969 to the summer of 1970. When it was finally launched and everything worked very well, and with Russian traditions we certainly took much vodka, and one of my colleagues Uralisakoff already after some dosage of that, cried, “Let us (this is our information agency), let us announce openly that flooded satellite is working perfectly.”
Well, so, that’s about this flooding. What did you??
The other question was there was a separation in Russia always; some people built satellite in Neopropetroski, some people built instruments in Moscow. Was there ever a problem from that separation that one didn’t know what the other one did?
You know, this problems appear not even with Neopropetroski, they appeared quite significantly between scientists and engineers in Moscow, in Karoloff’s establishment, other our space establishment. They are, to my understanding, quite natural to some level, because the habits are different and always some person—it could be GALPERIN but I could be anybody else—comes at a moment which is obviously late and says, “Well, please take into account I have a very good idea. We will change this and that,” and they say, “We already did that, and you want to throw it and starts from the beginning because you have ideas. Could you not have your ideas a month ago?” and so on. So these difficulties occur everywhere. I don’t know how it goes in United States but I am sure the same way because just psychology and habits are different.
Well, I must say that it significantly, to my observations, it significantly depends on the level of these engineers. So I already mentioned in the Ena Semilnavat Egdelivia. But well, she was better than many of my chiefs I must say, in that she tried to understand why do I want to change something, whether it would really be feasible, whether it would really lead to something, and if she could she did it; if not she said and we all believed that because it was obvious that if she could she would make it real. I always was very fortunate because I worked with absolutely wonder engineers in all space firms with which I was connected.
Who was Boris Rashenbach [?] ?
Rashenbach? Oh, he died recently. He was one of our most outstanding personalities. He was vice chief, deputy?
Number two with Koraloff. And to be number two with Koraloff was you needed to be genius also. So you can just name there— not necessarily number two but his deputy directors, all of them were absolutely outstanding.
What did Rashenbach do that’s memorable?
Frankly I never—
He left after Koraloff? Koraloff died what in 1967?
Yes but he was the assistant to the extent I understand it with Koraloff was that all every of his deputies were responsible to some direction. And Rashenbach was also, but frankly I don’t remember on which one. It probably was something like telemetry and all radial links, and but I am not quite sure. It is all now described in literature so please don’t please be critical with my memory—my memory in that is not well enough.
Tell me that about Skorwegian [?].
I have written in that piece of paper about Skorwegian. Skorwegian, I knew him.
What did he come for?
If I remember well, he originated somewhere in middle Asia, and he came as a post-graduate at the Institute of Geophysics where I started.
Was his ethnic Russian?
Yes he was ethnic Russian. He was very talented, but at the same time he was very— well, very professional bureaucrat, but at the highest level.
Where was he before ???
He became an aide to Keldisch because there was some at that time classified commission for the exploration of outer space, something like that, and he was its secretary. But he had in his hands all the real deals with all of us working with science.
So you mean he decided who got funding?
Not only funding.
For example, I come there and say well I need three connectors, gold plated. “Please show your drawings.” I show my drawings, show this and that, so his assistant told me, “Well, these two I agree must be gold plated because they go to telemetry, but the third one I will give you only silver plated because it is a technological.” I said, “Well, but there are contact potential differences I needed.” “No,” she said, “It is impossible because?
That actually happened?
That actual story, the name of this lady was Mullenofskia.
Its after Sputnik or before?
No, no, no, it was after the first Sputnik. I entered the field in December of 1957, that means after Sputnik 2 before the Sputnik 3. That was typical that if we do not agree, then it goes to him and he decided everything from connectors to financing to some other who will go to what conference and so on and so on. His power was enormous because he represented Keldisch and was the direct link to Keldisch.
When people do this, you usually find it doesn’t work very well because they have too much to do and you have to wait to get to that?
Principally you are right; but at that time it was very close club very few people and that was rather effective. And not always we would agree and sometimes we even made some spectacles together with Krausofsky against Skorwegian because Skorwegian sometimes wanted from me that I will do this and that and so on. And before coming to him we planned in detail with Krausofsky our battle. I remember a case when Skorwegian ask me that you must write something, I don’t remember exactly, and do something which we were not agreed, and because many people from my student course worked in this institute, it was Institute of Keldisch, at some moment I went like to the toilet to some room to the telephone, called Krausofsky that he wants this and that, and returned. And I said, “Well, you understand that I have a chief. So if he agrees I can do that but I cannot?”
You said this to Skorwegian?
To Skorwegian, yes.
And the chief is Krausofsky?
Yes. And he called Krausofsky and said, “Well, Yuri is quite agreed to do this and that,” and Krausofsky immediately begin to shout, “Oh, I always know that he’s now just applying to it, and its absolutely impossible. He must do this and that. I will give him a very serious punishment when he returns. Just give him to me the telephone.” Skorwegian said, “No, no. But he really can do that?” “No,” he said, “absolutely no.”
And that’s what you wanted?
Surely it was planned as a spectacle. And Skorwegian was disappointed, and said, “Well, but it’s a pity because I am sure you need to do that.” I said, “Well?” That’s one spectacle which I remember. But there were many of different, to avoid something because there was a very significant disagreement in what needs to be measured, what is more important what is less important, between the group of Krausofsky to which I belonged and Schakowsky from one side and group of Verdenoff from another side. They considered that cosmic rays and high energy particles are most important while all these low energies are secondary and will not play a significant roll and all—
Low energy is below a hundred KV?
Low energies are— Well, there was notes on them at a fixed margin. But obviously energies which is much, much lower than energies of cosmic ray particles. All they these particles where considered secondary, and the standard argument from Krausofsky which gradually became clear to everybody that he said on some open meeting that, “Well, your cosmic rays and your radiation belts, if we will switch off the mirror force, then the Aurora will last several seconds at most, while magnetic storms goes for a week. So you must understand what energy sources you have.” So obviously we won this battle, but it was victory of peer because all the first stage of our space research was dominated by these great amount of particle detectors of high energies with the decemetry, and it was because of that we lost a great amount of discoveries. Well, it’s a history.
Now Skorwegian’s came to IKY?
Yes. Skorwegian became— It was obvious that he cannot be a director because he had a title of doctor of science and he worked something with seismology if I remember well in his post-graduate.
How did he keep up his scientific knowledge, or did he?
He was very talented, he understands very much. He had a group, a rather interesting group. For example, they predicted the existence of cusps in 1966-‘67. I’m old because they had theoretical development that there are regions where due to the divergence of magnetic field, magnetic sheath plasma will freely penetrate into the lower levels. And because I was very reluctant to accept just by psychology anything of their results, myself I lost this discovery also because—
This was ??? ?
Yes. I had these measurements so I could do that but I didn’t; I just didn’t look at that because I was sure they are wrong.
So he came to IKY as what?
He came to IKY as Vice Director under the directorship of Petroff, and there was another Vice Director, Hoderif Uly Constantinovich [?]. Hoderif—an extremely bright engineer who worked with space equipment on some classified establishment with telemetry with all the electronics. So they had from the very beginning a rather difficult relations between them too, and gradually Petroff became on the side of Hoderif, so there was very difficult.
Skorwegian was in charge of the scientific part? What was his purpose?
Yes, principally Skorwegian was in charge of the scientific part while Hoderif was in charge for the technical part. At the same time, sometimes they were mixed, obviously.
Did Skorwegian still insist that when contacts had to be gold plated they had to be approved by him?
No, no, no, it was possible only in that early stage when there were only one or two projects being made at the moment and the total quantity of people involved was probably about 30.
And by that time how many people were they? In 1970, how many people were in IKY?
Excuse me, I don’t know, but I think it was certainly several hundred. It quickly raised to more than one thousand, about 1200, like that.
Okay. If Skorwegian left when? He was Vice Director until when?
You all the time you ask me for dates. Except the dates of my satellites I don’t remember anything exactly. So the situation with Skorwegian became more and more tough, but when Sagdeef [?] became a Director he was still the Vice Director. But Sagdeef was of much stronger character than Petroff, and it soon became more and more difficult for Skorwegian and at some moment he was displaced from the position of vice director and it lasted not too long.
Did he leave IKY or did he take an offer there?
No, no, he was formally with IKY, but he became ill so he spent much time not just at home and then he died.
Now Skorwegian, what do you think about his achievements? What did he do that had his name on it?
One thing I said they predicted, it’s not written in literature where ever I have seen, but they really predicted their cusps as they are in the form that we have now where the external plasma, plasma of the magneto sheath, can penetrate till and atmospheric depth altitudes. But it’s difficult for me to say what else would be ascribed to him from scientific part. But he lead all that. He was very talented. He understood very much, he had fantastic memory. He remembered— I didn’t remember my conversations with him a couple of years before, but he remembered them all and I was at just a boy.
Has there been anything published about him? Any articles or books?
Well, I am afraid that what I have written in this book 35 years was the only thing written about him so far. I haven’t seen anything else.
Any legacy of Petroff? Was there anything that had Petroff’s name on it?
Well, Petroff became a academician working in a classified establishment which made our rocketry.
Afterwards? After IKY?
And he was not only very famous but one of the quite outstanding personalities in calculational gas and fluid dynamics. In IKY he was very good, very pleasant and intelligent personality, and he had a very good laboratory with the people of with he worked before. One of them is Ladimere Branoff [?], you probably know him. He was himself one of our top physicists in the fluid dynamics and gas dynamics. So they certainly discussed?they always considered him as their chief, but I would not remember anything which would be his own achievement, but mainly because I am from another part of science.
Let me go back to things which you know your know in your own career. Let’s go back to Cosmos 3 and Cosmos 5. You said that you observed Starfish?
Tell me. What instruments were on Cosmos 3 and 5?
On Cosmos 3 and 5, there were a set of detectors which were rather simple detectors at that time that was what is called?
It’s called full ionization detector. That means that it is scintillating [?] a screen with photo multiplier covered with very thin foil, and acceleration of this foil was under the positive potential. Potential varied from rather small amount to in the highest 11 kilovolts, so that even low energy electrons, like photoelectrons of several tons of electron volts, were accelerated until the energy allowed them to penetrate this foil, and so this light was registered. So it was analogy—
Did you have a deflection which got ??? ?
No. No deflection. At that stage it was not possible.
How do you tell electrons from protons?
It could not be discriminated. Protons were discriminated just by foil because their stopping power is much higher, and certainly they could not be mutilated by this such amount of acceleration. So actually only electrons were measured. But certainly they were very crude, and there were several traps, I would say, the modulation traps of various forms of shielding by magnetic field by some separation, so that spectra were measured by just amplifiers and through current.
What was their perigee and apogee?
Perigee was 220, if I remember well; apogee for the Cosmos 3 was about 720. For the Cosmos 5 it was 1650, about that.
So it didn’t live very long if goes to 220?
Yes, exactly. The Cosmos 3 lived nearly a year; Cosmos 5 a little bit more. But they both have had memory, which was very important. Memory was for 200 minutes, and this memory was switched on by the end switch. That means that when the memory was discharged and it come to the end, and new sound started—a new sounds of recording.
So you always got the last 100 minutes?
No it was not last. It was since the last discharge of memory. So it limited very significant our ability to measure were we want, because the sounds was only from our territory. Yet not only from our territory we had only several points because others were— there exists many others, but they were not allowed for us. But this was extremely significant. By that time Americans did not have memory on board except—
No, no, no, no. Only one satellite English cosmic ray satellite (I forgot its name) had a memory, but as they measured cosmic rays. They had overloading. They had very high sensitivity, and when the Starfish occurred it was all overloaded and died very soon, this satellite. While ours worked all the time, but Cosmos 3 lost its memory before Starfish while Cosmos 5 had it till the end. So it worked until the beginning of 1963.
So you saw Starfish?
What did you make of it?
Well, it’s a long story, as every story of mine is very long. It was absolutely unprecedented. I was called—
Well, after our launch, and we certainly planned for geophysical measurements of photoelectrons and so on. For us it was very important to see what we will have in aurora, but the inclination was 49. It was launched from Cumpustenyard. And because of that we only had very weak only sometimes above United States and below Australia we reached the diffused auroral zone, and sometimes a little bit more, but it was rather quite time. So in fact— Well, photoelectrons at that time it was quite an interesting topic. We did quite pioneering work with conjugate fluxes of photoelectrons and so on, but it lasted not long. Since about the beginning of the summer it was announced that there will be a thermal nuclear explosion.
You knew that?
Yes, it was announced by radio by all the way— it was not some reconnaissance; it was widely described, probably not in detail. I was called to some chiefs, I don’t remember, at that time, and they said, “We ask you to use your satellite to measure the effects.” I said, “Excuse me, it is practically impossible because all the apparatus is made for low energy particles and nuclear radiations are much harder and they will not be measured. It would be immeasurable. All my efforts were made to remove their influence to separate low energies.” They said, “Well, we have nothing else, so we ask you to do what you can. And all help which is possible will be rendered, so please do what you can.” And from that moment I became the very— Well, I was less than 30 years old in 1929 and my power was just very strange, because I had reports from militaries and so on and so on. So we tried to devise a reasonable program because the explosion was shifted several times, and each time it was announced long before that it will be shifted because all this area had to be liberated from ships and planes, so it was quite official. But for us it meant each time that some rearranging of our planning because of in particular this very serious limitation of this switching on memory by discharging it.
And I remember the meeting when I was staying at blackboard, most probably it was in Army headquarters, the main headquarters, and a long table on which probably 20 or 30 generals and colonels all with great amount of decorations on them because it was not to far from the end of the War and all of them certainly were very serious militarists, while I was a boy of 29. And they asked me, “How do you suggest how the program of measurements must be organized? What you would like to measure?” Frankly I am still proud of what I said at that time because to my understanding it is right even from contemporary point of view. I said, “I think that there will be elephant [?] shock wave from the explosion which will violate the invariance of the radiation belt particles so they will precipitate very strongly. So I think the most important is to measure during the explosion itself.”
At ??? point.
No, no, no, where the satellite will be, but where ever it will be. Well obviously, I said not in parenthesize but the physical since of that. But I said that obviously it was announced that the explosion will take place at moment so and so, and I knew the orbit, and I said but unfortunately it is impossible because we cannot switch on the satellite to reach that. The would satellite would be in another hemisphere, I don’t remember where, but unattainable from our territory.
Did you have ships?
Let me tell. Then there were some other questions and I answered the other questions, and again I said, “Well, but unfortunately it is impossible because it’s unattainable.” When I said it, I don’t remember, second or third time, the presiding general said, “Young boy, please tell us what is needed and what is possible. We will decide ourselves.” That was absolutely wonderful. And they switched me on the satellite above England. I still do not know from what ship or submarine or whatever, but it was a fact. But I am not sure that it was exactly the moment when the Starfish occurred. It was certainly one of these— but probably yes; I didn’t check that, now I just forgot. So actually the satellite during the explosion satellite was above Korea then, more or less. The distance along a strike line would be 9,000 kilometers.
Yes. And it was a middle of the Pacific—it’s long. My paper is published and we can check it. At the same time the line of horizon from the satellite it was about 1200 kilometers above Johnson Island while the explosion took place at about 400 kilometers. So what actually happened that this cloud expanded and obviously nothing could stop it to going above because the magnetic field decreased. So with some delayed (I don’t exactly remember English name for that), but there is a delayed radiation which is goes during after the fission and fusion.
Delayed radiation, okay. It is about three orders of magnitude lower and obviously only part of the material went.
Yes, time in minus 1.2 degree it drops, but probably not at the very first second. So actually it was much smaller—only part of the material delayed radiation. But I knew my satellite because I participated in building that and all the projects and so on. And I am sure there was some smoke from that because all my instruments were off scale. Fortunately we had one shielded Geiger counter, shielded by 3 millimeters of lead just to know when we are inside the belt and when we are outside. That also went off scale, and later when we calibrated this with radium source in the Verdenoff Institute (it was another story on how we did it) but it appeared that I was very fortunate because this Geiger counter, contrary to its usual behavior—when it over loaded the Geiger counter usually the discharge goes just constantly and you have no impulses at all, so it is just burning. But this Geiger counter, its name was STS 5, a typical Geiger counter for scientific and other research, it went through maximum, and then it still counted with lower and lower rate, so its counting curve, so called, when the counting rate versus intensity hit a maximum and then decreased but still counted. It was very strange.
We looked at the measurements, and together with my colleagues and friend Tichamen Mulachich [?], we came to the telemetry station near Moscow, looked at that. It was very strange because the counting rate was constant irrespective of coordinates of the satellite. The satellite moved, the counting rate didn’t change. It was absolutely impossible. But only later we understand after this calibration because that was on the other side of the maximum, so it counted overloaded. So this actually allowed me to restore the curve, to restore the counting rate, to restore the rate of our other instruments, which were counting something, the penetrating radiation, but still it was proportional.
Proportional to the intensity. So we restored all that. And we were given and order in fact, a month to evaluate the dosage on the manned orbit because cosmonauts had to be launched, and so for how long to wait. Evidently that radiation at lower altitudes decreased. We worked very hard during this months. I don’t remember that I ever slept that time; probably only by 15 minutes several times. And we did it well, evaluated. But during this month the radiation decreased. So when we made our report, which was very long and contained very serious information what actually happened, and it was had to be signed by a commission of 25 people of different specialties. It was highly classified; I was given and officer with a gun who so in the car not to protect me but to protect the document. I was not classified; the document was classified. And we went in this car from one establishment to another. Each time this document was taken to special people, they opened that asked the person who was in charge to sign, then packed it again and so on and so on. And once when they came this way to some military establishment which certainly was in some way connected with dosage and so on, and a very serious colonel came and looked at that and wanted to sign it immediately and I was disappointed. I said whether he will not read it, we worked so hard. He said, “How many signatures?” I said, “25.” “In that case,” he said, “I can even sign if it is mortal judgment for me.” Is that okay in English?
And sign not reading these documents.
Did Krausofsky sign it? Was he one of the people?
I don’t remember that. I think no, because.
Was there any scientists above you who signed it? Or was it all military?
There was not only military but there were engineers and so on. But I don’t remember probably it was only myself.
??? ? Skorwegian?
Well, I don’t remember. Could be, but I don’t remember. But I was in charge of— Krausofsky gave me these two satellites so I was full chief so it was my own responsibility.
How many people did you have there?
Well, it was not my lab at that time. At that time I was in laboratory of Krausofsky. I was just a senior scientists and head of group of all—
Maybe ten people?
No, no, much less; about 3, 4, 5.
Now did Cosmos 5 have a problem with the solar cells? The radiation killed a lot of satellites.
No, we had no problems with power. But I must tell you because of this limitation with the memory we worked not only not a full cycle but very limited cycle. So at that time there was not any problem with power, but partly because of that. But obviously all our other systems except scientific payload.
Did you have any damage?
Did do you continue measuring the radiation belt after that?
Surely, yes. It’s all published. We had later in 1964 a project which was just called Electron. There was a four satellite project, the first multi-satellite project I ever know for magnetosphere studies.
They were more eccentric right?
Yes, they were much more eccentric. Even Electron 1 and Electron 3 in which my instruments were installed were separated at about 7,000 kilometers, and then another stage.
And what was apogee?
7,000 was the apogee.
Yes. It was separated from the satellite backwards, and then there was additional thrust to the respectively the Electron 2 and Electron 4 which were went to about 60,000 kilometers. They were very good satellites, but unfortunately the equipment, we were allowed only small instrument over each one Electron 1 and Electron 3 and they were very limited other possibilities, so the instrument was rather simple, and it was just and example of the policy, because I don’t know.
Was it ??? instrument?
Surely yes, most of them. And as you know, there are nearly no scientific results of these four satellite project unfortunately. At least to my knowledge.
Now there were also Russian explosions above Noverose [?], India?
Did you observe any of them?
Well, I would prefer not to speak about it. Obviously I had.
Is it still classified?
Well, I don’t want to dwell on that. At that time it was highly classified, and now I don’t know. I will better tell you about this a joke story.
There was a very good book published in the United States. A thick book, Space Physics, something like that.
Yes. Legully [?] ?
No. I don’t remember. Excuse me. I have it. The translation was made by some group of people, and in this book there was a chapter devoted to explosions, high altitude explosions of the Soviet Union. The joke is that this chapter was classified and the book appeared in Russian without it, so that I still cannot understand from whom it was classified because you could buy this book abroad in principle, which was impossible for us. But that was the mood, and looking at who was the editor of the translation and so on, you can evaluate yourself who did it.
You can see it yourself.
What is the book by Bill Hess?
No, no, no.
Because Bill Hess has his grants.
No, no, no. Bill Hess’s book I know very well, and he consulted me in some historical questions. He wrote us letters for those who were involved some way with asking to send him copies of papers of whatever documents we will agree to send him, and he studied that very carefully. And I must say that to my knowledge it is the most objective description I have read, while some things are there with which I don’t agree, but it is in my point of view, while he tried obviously to take into account all the documents he had. So I value highly this book. But it was much later where the situation in our country liberated much more. Not too much, but much more in comparison with that period.
You know, in 1991 there was a shot from the sun which accelerated particles, on March 24. Are you familiar with this?
Kress Belt. Yes, yes.
Some people say there was something like that in 1962 or so, because Mackilvain published a graph which seemed to have a double inner belt. Did you see any of that?
Well, in fact we have seen something, and not only we but Verdenoff Institute having satellites with measurements of high energies. We never made significant thrusts to measure high energies. We had to choose anyway. But they always measured high energies and that very good level. And they several times have measured something like that.
Double belt? Double inner belt?
Not only double, but just narrow and energetic. The point was that it resembled very significantly the result of high altitude nuclear— no, atomic explosion, whatever, nuclear explosion okay? Not thermal nuclear but just nuclear explosion.
[inaudible] in that?
Well, that’s right. That’s right, but the capabilities of that measurements probably were allowed to state that there was something more than five mevee [?], and in some nuclear reactions you can get up to 12 mevee with very low intensity and so on. So there was some suspicion that either this is artificial hidden nuclear explosion or it was something else, but we were far from that. But if you read again what I have written, actually even in 1959 we have stated that nuclear explosion will do that, even nuclear explosions at an altitude of several tens of kilometers will produce through neutrons some artificial radiation belts. So it stays unsettled now.
So what did you do after Cosmos 5?
After Cosmos 5 we prepared another satellite, which I already told you.
First of all there was plasma, which was not realized at all. Then it was electron. Anyway we had some possibility there. But still the radiation was high enough from the remnants of the Starfish explosion. In fact our instrument was not— we had no money so we had to repeat more or less the instruments which we had spare units from the Cosmos, and actually it was rather a poor instrument which did not give us something significantly new. The results are published and they were presented in particular at Karparmardo Plata [?]. But I would not say that it was something.
Where was Weisberg at that time?
Weisberg was at the same laboratory as Krausofsky and myself.
Did you work together?
No. We didn’t work together because of some differences in character.
Meaning? Can you say more about it?
Well, I’ll better not. Well, you can look at his papers of that time and see what he did. But at that time I will better not to speak about it. One fact which could be said is that when we were transferred from the Institute of the Physics of the Atmosphere to IKY, the text of the— well the president of the Academy made a I would not say that it was an order, it was something like decree if you want, that to IKY from Institute of Physics Atmosphere are transferred laboratory off Yuri GALPERIN, in total the least ten persons, and Weisberg to group of Skorwegian.
So you separated?
We separated, and by that time I already described that our relations with Skorwegian, while he was intelligent and actually it was— Well, I still respect him even now but our relations were tough. So you can judge from that.
Weisberg was more interested in interplanetary?
Yes. Well, another interesting story which certainly would be would describe the situation better and more interesting. Krausofsky at first made much effort to devise the Department of Geophysics of IKY. It was supposed that he will become the chief of this Department, and he distributed laboratories to people whom he really know, so that’s why I had a laboratory there. It was called a rural laboratory. Estonian had a laboratory of mass spectrometry, and so and several other people. Dividing— giving that— at the last moment he said that he will not go to IKY. We said, “Well, then we also will not go.” He said, “No, you must go. I will stay here only with air glow [?] science because I am old and I want to do something quite, while you will fight and you will go to IKY because there is no such a place in the Institute of Physics of the atmosphere for such science. Well, so gradually we agreed, and making this heritage to us both to Weisberg and myself, he said, “You colleague (means Weisberg), will take everything which is outside the magnetic poles: interplanetary space, planets, whatever. You Yuri, you will take everything which is inside the magnetic poles. While there are two exceptions first is the magnetic poles itself. Second is the tail. They both are so much important that this, only that, you can do both.”
It’s like dividing the world?
Yes, but from a physical point of view it is absolutely wonderful. I must tell that all my life I stick to that, except only one exception when my colleague, unfortunately now late, Dr. Fiuna Schrewska [?] devised an absolutely wonderful low energy particle detector which we called spectrograph, because when a part of the spectrum is imaged at the same time. And we had a very interesting idea how to use it.
It separated masses also?
Did it have mass resolution?
No, no, no, its electrostatic detector, no mass resolution. But the idea was to send it to Mars and to make it a topography— excuse me, not a topography. Topology of the magnetic field of the Mars. That is that photoelectrons, their spectrum can be easily predicted obviously because you have solar radiation, you have atmospheric constituents, so it is easily predicted their origin. And this spectrum had to be, quite as in Earth ionosphere, there had to be a group of strong maxima of intensity in spectra of photoelectrons about 25 electron volts a certain group because strong radiation from the solar corona and respective constituents in the CO2 in the atmosphere. So if you see the photoelectrons with this maxima, or let us better say if you see the electron spectrum with this maxima it is obvious that these electrons came from that Martian ionosphere. While if there is a smooth spectrum there, that could be either do to energy diffusion, which was actually can be shown that rather weak, or it is just magnetic sheath or solar wind electrons without this spectral features. So having such a detector which will show that, when this exist and when it doesn’t, we could say which magnetic force line attaches the Martian ionosphere and which doesn’t.
If mass is magnetized?
Well, at that time it was considered that it is magnetized and orbit planned certainly penetrated to the points where the magnetic field was strong enough. It was much stronger than the— now it is known that the magnetic field is not large scale but in some irregular magnetization points. But anyway, at that time they were already registered there are some regions where the magnetic field certainly comes from Mars. And that would this experiment would immediately show what you said, that both ends are connected to Mars. But we were not selected by international selection committee introduced by Sagdeef partly because of a joke, because the people of the magnetosphere said but it is not a magnetospheric experiment. You deal with photoelectrons this— So people from the magnetospheric group told me that you deal with photoelectrons. Photoelectrons are an aeronomic [?] phenomenon, and this is connected with the composition of the atmosphere. So obviously they must be interested in your experiments so you must go to their group, but in that group, in their aeronomic group, they said, “Well, we have quite significant amount of aeronomic experiments. And you want to see what is topology of the magnetic field, which certainly belongs to magnetospheric interests.” So we failed. Certainly I did it just to please my very talented colleague, Fiuna Schrewska [?], who was keen to introduce this instrument with very interesting electron optives that she devised. I still think that this spectrometer has right to live. So we were not selected evidently, and I understood that— Well, I will stake on the Krausofsky’s division of space between Weisberg and myself. So I did. This was the only exception.
Now you said that you had seven satellites. You were the richest person in the world with seven satellites. Which satellites were they?
First of all, they were these Cosmos 3 and Cosmos 5, which the Krausofsky actually got them and gave them to me. But then he helped me quite significantly with Cosmos, which later became Cosmos 261 and 348. 48 was released after floating. I gave the wrong number—268, I said 241. It was wrong. And that was, 261 was the beginning our Inter-Cosmos program. There was a big announcement in our newspaper Provda [?] that a large international cooperation started and so on and so on. That was about this Cosmos 161. But you asked me, David, what number of Inter-Cosmos was that, and I deviated from answering you. By that time obviously there was some planning, already some drawings and so on of Inter-Cosmos 1, 2, 3. My good friends from Neperpetrosk [?] factory just prayed to me that I will not insist my power was very high—I started the program—that I will not insist that my satellite will be called Inter-Cosmos 1 because in that case all their drawings had to be changed, which would be an enormous task for them; it would lead to great humbug. And as they were my good friends I certainly agreed. But later it turned out that people who start Inter-Cosmos program from Inter-Cosmos 1, despite the fact that, for example, in the book of Katieo Saraheem [?] it is quite well described how we work together to start it with Cosmos 261. There was several other publications. But there are other people who were connected directly with Inter-Cosmos 1 who deliberately wanted to forget it.
That’s four satellites, and three more.
Yes. So then there was at that time was the start of our cooperation with France. Again it appeared that because I was accidentally, I still cannot understand how it happened, but I only have some hypothesis about it, but in the first delegation we started the Inter-Cosmos cooperation with France, there were top engineers including for example Bybakian [?], one of the greatest of our people who made the our lunar probes, Martian, Venutian probes, and so on. Formerly he was a Deputy Chief with Cardashov, but then separated and became a general constructor himself. Extremely bright, and one of our greatest figures in our rocketry.
Was that Depopitoff [?]?
No, no. It’s close to Moscow. It was so called Lovichkin [?] Association, or it changes names sometimes or it splits sometimes, but now it stays at the suburb in Moscow on the Leningrad Shoshe [?]. Many foreigners were there and tested their instruments and so on. So all of our far site probes were made by them. He was a member of delegation, for example. But their were only two scientists. One was Sklotski, another was myself. That was very strange—
It was the delegation with the French?
Yes. It was the delegation to France. It was, if I remember well, it was May ’67. Absolutely wonderful Paris spring, so we nearly didn’t sleep, at the most four hours a day after returning from Braitenye [?]. Braiteney was the coil space center at that time near Paris. Later it was moved to Toulouse. But at that time it was there, we were taken there by buses and by buses back. Immediately after a very short eating we went and walked through Paris all the nights, all the time we could. It was absolutely fantastic. But the joke was that from the French point of view, scientists are much more important than engineers. So for them it seemed that we too are, well, everybody certainly knew Sklotski and somebody even knew me by papers and so on. Well, some of them personally. But they thought that all others are just our assistants, which made these engineers furious. Because for example Bybackian [?] had nineteen deputies and a personal plane, and there were others of not less important positions. Where we were just two scientists, and we laughed at that. But that was not so funny for the other part of the delegation. So from there, after that it appeared that the aim was to launch by our rocket, under Bybackian’s guidance, launch a French satellite, which was very well planned with four experiments. Apparently it appeared in high altitude orbit in the magnetosphere. The name of this project was ROZO [?]. There’s some—
Some acronym, but ROZO of those that it’s a flower. There was active experiments, active sounding with some ionospheric sounding of the surrounding plasma, something which was later developed for Endeus [?] by this group. And to some extent was—
What was ??? ?
It was similar to what is now being done in image and radio sounding. There was particle experiments, and there was a magnetometer experiment, and there radio astronomical experiment.
And your experiment was particle?
Well, it was supposed— Apparently that’s my hypothesis, that I was chosen because I can cover both particle experiments and these ionospheric sounding because I had some experience with that with our ground based measurements and so on inside of some projects were proposed by me in that direction before. But Sklotski’s obviously for radio astronomy, there could be not a better person. Or probably I’m wrong. Probably that was cosmic ray experiment. So I don’t know.
What was the apogee?
I don’t remember exactly, but it was in the high altitude.
Like 10 ???.
Or about. We can look because I have this documentation and so on. But during that it appeared that we can make also small near Earth satellite, and it emerged in the Oriel program. I will tell you another joke about it.
From the same launch or different?
No, no. Just a low altitude satellite, Oriel, and it appeared that it was Oriel period. Then Oriel 2, which a spare unit with somewhat modified apparatus. But then it came it Oriel 3, which was completely different, much later. Oriel 1 was ’71, another was December ’73, while Oriel 3 was in 1981, and it was another satellite, three axis oriented, a very significant satellite. The first time we used the onboard universal computer so that we, at that time I think we were the first who did it, the first scientific—
No. It was three axis stabilized our type—automatic orbital stations, universal stations, something like that. It was made again by Dupopritrosk [?] and that was a really good satellite. We modified it quite significantly in comparison with the preliminary. The first time we introduced the electromagnetic compatibility, and utilization of solar panels, many other things.
You mean it making it magnetically clean?
And making it electrically conducting?
Yes. But not only magnetically clean because what you speak about is DC fields. Well, there is also AC fields and there is just a science of electromagnetic compatibility, and we helped to introduce it in our satellites. We were the first. It was very strange that scientists did it, not engineers, but it was this way.
So these were satellites number four, five, and six?
No. They were two pairs, Cosmos 3 and Cosmos 5, and then Cosmos 261 and 348. That was four. And there was three, this was France. So these are seven, because in interval I was not project scientist. I just was PI for several experiments, but mostly responsible for the scientific program for the lower satellite, but I was not project scientist.
So what did you do after Oriel? What were your projects?
After Oriel, it depends on after which. Because we made— after Oriel 2 we were not engaged in any significant project until about ’75. We made several just single experiments on various projects with interferometers on the manned satellites. Each time our interferometer worked very well, but we had no scientific results. Well, engineers said, “But you have great success here, everything is working.” I said, “Well, and you have papers together with cosmonauts.” I said, “I have papers. I have no results.” They did not understand me. So actually our laboratory, I was not too much connected with that. Frankly, well, probably will return back and tell about the initial story how this program was started. It was, I think it is—
No, no. I speak about these interferometers. I was somewhat involved in the preparation of Gagarions [?] launching. A small group—
It was ’59-’60 because he was launched in ’61 and all the work was done before. Among various tasks which had to be solved, there was one small task. They needed a standard for the neutral atmosphere to evaluate the satellite drag. We were told if it happens that the device, the thruster to land him back will not work, he has food and air and water, everything for seven days. So that orbit has to be chosen in such a way that within seven days he will fall anywhere, but still then he will probably be saved. So for that we needed a model of the upper atmosphere, which was making at that time, at least in our country there was several proposals. One is several experiments from NASA, or American—
[Inaudible] the standard atmosphere is published elsewhere.
Frankly I didn’t know at that time a standard atmosphere. There was some from some specific establishment in the U.S.A. I have forgotten names. But we were given this task, and there was a small commission and I was a member of this commission. But this commission, other people mostly have collected the publications, put them on the unigraph [?] and they’ve deviated quite significantly. So there was some graph which was from grenade from experiment. There was some density measurements from rockets, and so on. The order of magnitude of difference was normal there. So somebody said that it’s very simple; we just draw the most probable curve through that. But this curve contained a very significant jump. I was young and not very good probably manners, so I said, “By only this small movement you have heated the atmosphere enormously in this layer, up to probably 10,000 degrees from the approximate evaluation. So where did you get so much energy for that?” And this was insulting. So the commission began to argue, and I have even written a special opinion that despite very famous people surrounding I must say it is absolute humbug. It can not be because it is contrary to physics that we know, this great gradient.
At what altitude?
I don’t remember, but it was somewhere at about to 150, like that. There were two curves. One was finishing, another was starting, and there were just displays by an order of magnitude. Well, looking at that, they understood that I will go further, so everybody would laugh on that. So the real curve was made much smoother than it was before. So I got a medal from the Academy because I was participant of this commission. But looking at all of that and during the Gagarion’s launch and during the next launchings, and there was also these appopiea [?] of Starfish which I described, my influence increased, and I understood the following. That when some satellite, some model is to be docked to the flying one, the importance of the temperature of the atmosphere is utmost. Because if there will be a magnetic storm that will drag to the vehicle, which has very high area to mass ratio, change its orbit it goes faster because as the orbit lowers the period decreases and it goes faster. So when they launch, the satellite to which is to be docked is far away ahead. So what is needed is to know the variations of atmospheric density. I understood that if we measure the red glow emission of day glow, the temperature, just Doppler temperature of the day glow, this will give us immediately the temperature of upper atmosphere.
At what altitude?
These emissions goes at about 300 kilometers because—
Is it a narrow layer?
It’s not narrow, it’s about a couple of scale heights, so it’s about a hundred kilometers thick at that. Because the atomic oxygen density decreases upward while the temperature increases upward. This is well known in ironamy, and ironamy was always one of my ???. So we can now interferometer on the same satellite and red line day glow is very strong. It’s about 30 kilo relays [?] so it’s not a serious problem to measure. So that cosmonauts just measure it just with this width can be measured automatically by electronics, and they have just with the narrow instrument abroad and just tell it, that’s all, to avoid all this data treatment and so on and so on. They just immediately look where and how, because they have program, so not always that they can measure if they need to guide interferometer along the layer from the satellite station. Station changes altitude—
I have a stupid question. Why don’t you track the satellite before the astronauts go out so you know where it is? If you get the signal and you the satellite is there, you don’t ask why is it there, but it is there. That’s enough—
How much ahead of time do you have to know it?
Well, the heating of atmosphere usually goes for several hours, so it’s quite enough time to be predicted. Because a storm is developing this way. I would not stick on that idea now because now we have much better knowledge of everything. And in reality atmospheric gravity waves play quite a significant role also.
No, no, no. That’s upper; x-rays are absorbed much lower. But the point is that at that time everybody was very happy with this idea, because it was quick, it was without going through telemetry through all of these complications. And what we call now voice mail through ships could be transmitted immediately from any point of the orbit. So depending on whatever their program is and where they are, when they decide and have convenient situation they can just measure once, twice, and so on, transmit it by voice, and that’s enough for the people at Earth to make decisions. Okay. So it was considered a very reasonable program, so I was sent in particular to the Medical Corps. It was an Institute led by Gazimcal [?].
When was it?
I think it was somewhere in the beginning of ‘60s. They were evaluated because the cosmonaut must adjust interferometer and make some measurements and so on, so how they would react to this activity of a cosmonaut. So I came there. There was a scientific council. I made a report, what is supposed, and there were many interesting questions.
The interferometer was manned part?
Yes. They asked me how the interferometer is being adjusted, what really you see, what reactions you need, how it is in time, and so on. Well, I answered all that, and at the end Gazimcal, one of our brightest figures. He’s an academician. He’s now rather old. He all this time led our medicine for cosmonauts. Resuming this council, he said, “You know, we are very pleased with this.” It is not enparenthesized, but to the sense is identical. “We are very pleased with your experiment. We even can consider it our own experiment because we fully trust you about physics. But for us you ask for rather tiny actions, immediate reactions. You can check the quality of these actions by measurements later, and there are many aspects in which we’re extremely interested ourselves. So you will have full support from our side.” Then he stopped for a while and said (I will smooth a little bit his phrase), he said, “But frankly, I’m very much astonished with you. You’re supposed to make quite significant physical experiment with quite precise measurements. Don’t you understand the quality of experimenters with which you will deal?” Actually it was even more tough.
Do you want to say it in Russian?
No. I’ll better not. So I remember this phrase all my life, because he was absolutely right. So we have launched three into— It extended in time, in fact, and instruments somewhat developed during that time. So my laboratory launched three times such an interferometer. It was so-called spherical interferometer, which is much more stable than the plain interferometer fabric perowe [?]. This is also fabric perowe, but it’s spherical and it was made very well and it worked very well. It had an internal source of some full calibration of the line width because it was krypton electrodeless discharge, which gives the lowest width, so that we checked the performance of the interferometer in flight and so on. So, well, the experiment went very well except that we got no data on geophysics at all. It only worked inside the cabin. It had to looked through the window. Sometimes it was problems with windows, sometimes it was problems with outside light. One was broken by some cosmonaut, and so on and so on.
Did you talk to the cosmonauts afterwards?
Oh yes, yes. We talked in particular, Gridgecor, Gergi Gridgecor [?] made much work with this interferometer, and the only real data, which we have, which are not— There was also a photometer there, so with the photometer it was more successful and we measured equator anomaly and something else. But it was only interesting because cosmonauts were co-authors and it was interesting for somebody, but not for real science, to my understanding. So I would say that all this line, which we spent a great amount of work and great amount of money and good instruments and so on, led to nearly nothing.
Did you get to train the cosmonauts before hand?
Yes, surely yes. I never participated in that myself, but my colleagues from my lab made lectures periodically to cosmonauts, went to this so-called Star City. It was Tatiana Molargic, Vladimir Gladichef, and Alexander Quasmean. They invested a great amount of work in the—
When they came back , did they say they thought it will work or they thought there were too many problems with the cosmonauts?
Well, I will, better not to dwell on that. I was very angry.
Not at them.
Well, let’s stop it at that point.
Okay. So we are back to your satellites, right. You had your Oriel, that’s number five? Or five and six? You said seven satellites.
Yes. That means two pairs: Cosmos 3, Cosmos 5; then Cosmos 261 and 348. These are four. The first was 1968, second was 1970. Then there were three with France. That is Oriel in 1971, then Oriel 2 in 1973, both launch in December, and then Oriel 3, which was 1981, launched in September 1981 and worked six years.
In-between you did what?
In-between, well actually—
When were the Prognose [?]satellite?
I was not connected Prognose or to Interbol.
Who was connected to Prognose?
Weisberg was one of the leading figures and there was several other groups. Some of them separated from Weisberg’s laboratory, some were from different, some were from Nuclear Physics Institute—
Were you interested in being on Prognose?
You did not want to?
No. I didn’t interfere. Prognose went outside the magnetic pull, so I told you about the heritage from Krausofsky .
But it also had observations inside.
At that time very poor.
Let’s go back to IKY. Tell me a little about Petgoni [?].
It’s a dirty question, so frankly, this was our disaster in fact, and I will stop at that.
Against your group or IKY?
I’d like to hear it, if you can make it sound, because otherwise nobody will tell it.
I can tell it to you personally, but I don’t want to be recorded because he’s alive. He’s punished, I would say, by God for—
Well, I will tell you later. So I would not like to dwell on that.
Okay. How about Cleemoff [?]?
Cleemoff, you know, Weisberg had a talent of choosing people. He chose always bright people. Many of them separated from him, but his ability to find was fantastic. So he found very many people which became very famous, but most of them, many of them at least, separated from him.
You said that Cleemoff and Petroff and Zayoni [?] all had plasma groups.
No. Cleemoff was, he’s a physicist by education. He finished physical faculty, but—
Faculty at Moscow?
Yes, at Moscow University, as far as I remember. But he by soul I would say, from my opinion, he’s more engineer than just researcher, but he’s an absolutely wonderful engineer.
What was his thesis?
That I don’t remember exactly. But he made wave instruments at such a level with our very poor capabilities, with our poor money, that in many aspects they appear as pioneering and especially in low frequency range, in the low frequency range of seconds, some several seconds, some—
It’s a PC.
Yes, well I would not say so because for example like the magnetic pull, it’s certainly not PC. But some he used very carefully and very profitably the peculiarity of our satellites, because our satellites were sun re-entered and slowly rotating.
What does that mean? Rotating on the sunlight?
Yes. The Prognose has its axis directed to the sun, more or less, because it deviates once in 10 days it readjusts to the sun.
What’s the advantage? One side gets hot, one side gets cold all the time.
Yes. That can be coped with, especially with our satellites, which are gas filled. But it’s the serious problem. There are hot tubes and so on. So this technology of keeping temperature, we can do it easily. It’s not a problem. The problem is that with this construction we had very significant power because the solar panels are extended.
I don’t understand.
They are always—
In out position?
Yes, out in a very large area. And because our electronics was always very consuming, much more consuming than American, so a great amount of power was needed. Besides that, our antennas were not very good at the ground, so they had to have a good telemetry link we had large power enough. But this is only the technical, I would say, advantages. For science what was very important, because we so diluted plasma as near the magnetic pulls and the solar wind. The nature of plasma frequencies are in this way, lay in this range of order of say a second or several seconds or some parts of seconds. And American satellites, which were mostly constructed with axis of rotation perpendicular to ecliptic, and quickly rotating, they had some beating at the frequency of the sectors of solar panels so that the current from them changed. Because of them the sensitivity was somewhat decreased just in this region. And Cleemoff, it is very difficult to measure AC waves at such low frequencies. And he was and is very, very talented in that. So most of their results—
So he was an experimentalist.
Yes. No, no, no. He was experimentalist with a very strong engineering abilities. He was very much valued by Sagdeef because Sagdeef considered that all theories they will make themselves while there must be good experimentalists who made good measurements. So he helped Cleemoff to separate from Weisberg’s laboratory and make us independent laboratory especially for wave measurements. Cleemoff made many very interesting wave instruments, and still is doing that.
Is Cleemoff in touch with the Iowa [?] people? Because Iowa is very much into waves?
I know, I know Garnet personally, and yes, and Peakatt and so on. But I would not— I have no such impression. But some of his younger collaborators and pupils have some links with them.
Okay. So who were the theorists at IKY?
Before Sagdeef there were not— Well, it depends what you mean by theory. Because for example in planetary research there were quite significant theorists, like Zackoff [?] or with Nadia Stokes equation and so on. There was—
In plasma theory. In plasma theory before Sagdeef we just cooperated outside. We had no one within us some strong group. But outside we had very good cooperation with various plasma physicists, even myself also. But when Sagdeef came he considered that the theory must be somewhat separated. He came together with Galiaeth [?] and you probably know that first classical book on linear plasma physics is written Galiaeth and Sagdeef.
Tell me about Galiaeth. He came after Sagdeef, right?
Well, actually simultaneously, but it was probably a couple of months difference.
When did Galiaeth come?
Well, Sagdeef was attached somewhat to the Institute like a consultant, or I don’t remember exactly his title. But he worked for a couple of years in another institute, but was very closely connected.
It was Institute of High Temperature of Physics, of Shingian [?].
Did high temperature include plasma?
Yes. Surely high temperature always includes plasma.
Would it mean fusion plasma rather than space plasma?
That’s difficult for me answer. I don’t know. That was a very strong institute, which with some significant history and so on. Sagdeef at first he worked originally, after the university, he worked in Corchative [?] Institute as a post-graduate. But because he was not Muscovite he had no place to live, so he married the daughter of his teacher, Frank Comminyetski, one of our brightest teachers in plasma physics. They rented some house in San Duchess, far outside Moscow to have a place to live and it was very difficult. So at that time when Novosibirsk started he naturally went there and quickly became a very, very prominent scientist and was elected as a an academician. That actually made difficulty for him to later to come to Moscow because as he was elected an academician in Siberia, it was supposed that he must work in Siberia. But some way he managed and came to this Institute of High Temperature. But he was already more and more connected. He led seminar, for example, in our Institute. And gradually we convinced him to enter the Institute of Fissury [?]. So there was after some deliberations, he became the Director of the Institute. For him obviously there was that he can work only with Galiaeth and so—
Tell me about Galiaeth. Is his name Alek or Alex or what?
His name is Albert [?] Abubikirovich [?], so most of the people call him Alek because it is too complicated. But officially you need to use the full of that. He’s from Bashkirian [?] family from Uffa [?]. He was extremely talented even when he was a boy. He was probably among the brightest pupils of Sagdeef.
Pupils of Sagdeef where, at Novosibirsk?
Yes. And even being very, very young he became a Doctor of Science. I met him the first time when there was summer school somewhere he’d written that there was no tradition in summer schools. There was wonderful traditions in summer schools in our country. A very famous tradition was to make it on a ship. We had great ships, have them like Yingsee [?], Lynna [?], Oob [?]. Because from a ship—
On the river?
On the river. So from the ship nobody can escape. So people are on there 24 hours a day, they are speaking or sleeping or what’s there available. So on such a summer school there was a tradition to elect an admiral of the school, and admiral was elected Grengausk [?]. It was summer school on the River Lynna. So we went through Old Lynna to the Arctic Ocean to Ticksy [?].
Is it Ticksy of Tiffy?
Ticksy. Then return back. And Galiaeth was not very happy with me because by that time our relations with Grengausk were rather difficult, and I used to ask him questions in physics when Galiaeth considered them insulting. Later he told me that.
Well, I don’t remember. But it was obviously that he is one of the brightest. When Sagdeef came to the director he made him the chief of our Department. This Department consisted of rather strong and?
You asked Alek questions, which he did not like so much. There was an admiral and you went to the Arctic Circle, go on.
Yes. So that was an absolutely wonderful summer school. We discussed many things. It was very joyful, many jokes, some book written about with verse, and so on and so on. There were all the time lectures and discussions of the magnetospheric physics, plasma physics, planets, whatever.
How many people?
I think about 100.
Then you said that when Alek came to IKY, Sagdeef made him the head of?
Of the Department. Originally it was the Department of Geophysics, but then it became Depart of, I don’t remember exactly our names. They are written in this 25 Years of IKY book. But it was something more than space plasma physics or the solar terrestrial physics or something like that.
You said there were experienced people in charge.
Yes. Galiaeth became a chief, rather younger than all of us, of the chiefs of laboratory. Each of us has much experience with launchings, with difficult situations, with experi— All of us were experimentalists. So that was Grengaus one laboratory then Weisberg, Pesarinka [?], myself, I don’t remember. I think somebody else. Yes, Vanyun [?]. Well, several laboratories. At first I was astonished how he will lead these people, because for me it was not a problem—
Lead the experiment.
No, not in that, but just to be, let us say you can really— you need to make your own decisions, anyway as a chief of laboratory, as a scientific leader of a project and so on. So to lead that you certainly need quite significant understanding of all these experimental difficulties and details and so on. At first I wondered. I liked very much, I was very happy that real terratician, high terratician will lead us because I always needed some consultation discussed with my friends outside, but some with Sklovski, with Ginsburg, with Greenich, and so on. But here to have it much closer it would be a great advantage. Well, still there could be some difficulties evidently for him. But it appeared very easy, because one after another he said that let’s make a seminar say a week later, and you will tell us your program, your problems, your difficulties, because I must be somewhat involved. During such a seminar we will understand that we must present the best we have and what our prospects are, so it was quite significant seminar. But he just asked physical questions. “Why do you think so and no so? So why did you make your instrument this way and not?” And with these questions it absolutely, easily, without any pressure from his side became clear who must lead this Department. So without any difficulty became real chief of the department.
Who was the chief of the Department before that?
Before that, I think Vanyun.
Vanyun. Did Vanyun have sessions like that?
No. No. Vanyun, he was in fact also a terratician, but he was very wise. His main advantage was not just plasma physics. He always studied electrodynamics at very good level, and still does it very good. But as a chief he just was wise. So in someway he discharged difficulties. It’s very difficult to remember something which rested, you know, because each time some way he included some resistance so the charge was drained and that it smooth. So actually he was very good chief of our Department. Each of us did what we wanted, but he managed to avoid differences, collisions?
Did Galiaeth make you work better or worse?
I’m sure much better, because he made some, because of this too much liberty probably with Vanyun certainly there were tasks which remained from the preceding time which was just followed and followed without real progress and so on. So he somewhat rectified all that and tried to concentrate on something more serious. So for me it was the best period of our work with a chief because he had no problem to agree with Sagdeef, so actually he was the final person to whom we had to agree on something. His approach was always strictly physical. He deliberately excluded all personal—
Did he enjoy physics?
Oh, he’s very much devoted. Now he’s the Director, even when he was younger he was chief of a Department. When you come to him his first sight is very much disturbed because he has written something, his equations on paper and you disturb. Then his face becomes hospitable, he says what would you like, and so on. But the only pleasure he sees when he’s writing his—
Is he married?
Yes, surely yes. He married and he has two sons. But at some point this finished. After a couple of years, I don’t remember exactly but it’s all written, Sagdeef called me and said, “Yuri, I decided to divide your Department because, Galiaeth, he understands, such bright brain. He, most of the time he solves your problems with ministry, with financing with everything which is not, it’s not a proper use of such a talent. I decided to divide the Department to theory, which he will lead and experiment that you will lead.” I knew Roald Zimneurovich [?] from long before. I said, “But I’m incapable to be a chief of a department. I have no such skills.” And he said, “No, but you must help me,” or something like that. When I understood that it’s unavoidable, I said, “Well, let’s do it for a year. I understand that this post can not be just left unattended.” Because in fact it was to lead a quite significant of our space program.
What year was this about?
Excuse me. I told you several times, I don’t remember.
No, no. It’s ‘70s, somewhere in ‘70s. Early ‘70s I think. Probably when we returned from Kilgilian [?]. So from Kilgilian we returned in ’75 and so it was something after that I think, ’76. But it could be quite different. I don’t remember. So I said, “Let’s do it for a year, and during we together probably will find somebody better.” He was not very glad with that. And I became chief of the Department, and it was enormously tough. Because well before I tried to be well some referee, some judge between Weisberg and Grengaus. I don’t know to what extent it was successful, but anyway I tried. After that they together were against me, and together they were enormous power, quite enormous. I became gray. My wife said that she will divorce me if I will not stop it because otherwise I will just became mad. So, when was the day, the exact year past after my instillation on this post, I have written and gave to Sagdeef my proposal for resignation. He became very angry with me. So my situation deteriorated quite significantly.
Where was Alyoni [?] at the time?
He was in the same Department in— excuse me he was in the department of Galiaeth.
He was a theoretician.
Yes. He was from the very beginning a theoretician. Well, I still did my job. I don’t know to what extent it was good, but politically once in five years we had a commission from Academy from different institutes.
So you continued in the job after the year?
Yes. I was not dismissed because only direction can do that and I just can not runaway and say, “Well, I won’t do it.”
Somebody had to do it. It was an enormous task because all the time you had to contact to ministries and scandals and some dates were not made that we did not submit the apparatus on time or something happened on the satellite, satellite one, satellite another. Or something there would have to be some consultation or come to ministry to something. Science was at most secondary, at most, so it was very tough internal situation because suddenly I had not as much authority as Galiaeth. And for me it was always— Well, just one story, which I told openly when it was 80 years of Grengaus. It was during that time I told it in my presentation there. Grengaus, together with a group of our radio institute, they measured by occultation on Venus, the distribution of electron density in ionosphere on the night side and had found it is very low. I don’t remember, say 100 kilometers maximum, which was very strange. So Grengaus had an instrument, his usual instruments as a modulation traps.
Plasma traps, yes. And he found that there exists some electrons with energy, if I remember well, it was several hundred electron volts. And he said that, “Well on the night side, impinge to the night side ionosphere make this maximum, and so everything becomes clear.”
Where did it come from?
Don’t ask me questions during my talk. So I said that it’s impossible for three reasons. First is that there was a data by that time by occultation by a star Regales [?] by Venus.. It’s interpretation was that atmospheric scale height is typical, similar more or less to the day side.
But you don’t see the night side.
No, no. By occultation you see the degrees of brightness of the star with occultation. Okay. You make photometer—
You see it on the day side of Venus, and then maybe you see it on the evening side.
No, no. Venus is inside us, so what is going on is just night side. Venus makes eclipse to the Regales, so it’s brightness gradually decreases. For the rate of decrease you can evaluate, because it’s a point source, and you can evaluate the distribution of absorbing material. So that was an evaluation of scale height. And scale height, from that interpretation, was quite reasonable. Well, to make these 400 kilometers with that is so weak, soft energies. You have to much decreased density, that means extremely cold atmosphere, first. Second, I said that you never can be sure that the particles measured in the near tail of Venus, because the orbit was high, that the magnetic field connects this point to the midnight part of Venus. Because if Venus has no natural magnetic field, then actually it is a solar wind magnetic field bent at the terminator. So from that point you will come to terminator, not to the magnetic part.
That’s what I said.
Yes. There was some third argument of, well, I forgot that, but if you want I will remember later. All of them were against this interpretation. So he became angry. I said that I had to supervise and make some conclusion to direction for publication. I said, “I cannot approve it. I’m not convinced.” He immediately went to Sagdeef. Sagdeef calls me and say, “Yuri, this is Grengaus, so let him publish what he wants.” I said, “Okay. It’s your responsibility.” I explained to him why I’m not convinced. And, “Well, let it be this way.” “Okay.” It appeared that Grengaus was right on all three points. So because of the very weak rotation, the night side of Venus is extremely cold. Ah, I remember the third point. The third point that his evaluation of the energy of these electrons is not based on something because he doesn’t know the potential of the satellite, which was not measured. And in this specific environment beside in the shadow of Venus it could be very hot plasma, it could be very cold. He never knows. So his evaluation of the energy is not based on something. So there were three points. And I said that well, I don't know.
First, it appeared with much better apparatus, which was American that there exists some electrons and later we understood that the potential of the satellite was low enough so that his revelation of energy was trustable. Secondly, it appeared that indeed there is some stray magnetic field, which could be connected. It’s not always guaranteed, but it’s quite feasible. And the atmosphere was extremely cold. So in reality he was right on all these three points. And I came to their laboratory and said openly that I was wrong, but it was much later. And I said, “It is only result of his great intuition. It was not the result of physics because I still can not see any physical argument which he used.” And they all cried, “No. Here you are again not right. It was just the result of physics.” So you can choose between the two. So that shows some of the difficulties that I met being at this high position. And I’m very proud. It was during two and a half years, and nobody remembers that. So it’s a pleasure—
You took the position for two and a half years?
No, no. I took this position forever, as always in our case. Only later after Peristroyka we began to re-elect our chiefs. At that time it was once, and until a great scandal or death. There was no replacement, no official replacement. And when this commission of every five years, it came in 2.5 years, and I had to, as all other chiefs of the department, make a report at what our activity was, they said, “Oh, we see very high success, very good results. So we are very happy because we have heard that you wanted resignation.” I said, “No, sirs. I’m still waiting for resignation. I understand that I can not just run out and say well I’ll not do that, but I understand that this place needs somebody. But I am still waiting when the direction will find somebody else.” And that made Sagdeef furious. You must also understand that if such a person wants resignation, especially of Jewish nationality—
That’s what they said?
No, no. That’s what I say. But it was obvious at that time, and he’s not allowed to do that. By direction it was unprecedented thing in the Academy, because in Academy there was always some resistance for too many Jews at high positions. It was especially true and Sagdeef had great difficulties with that because in our institute, I think more than half was like that.
Did Sagdeef make a difference between choosing?
No, absolutely no. Well, his wife was Jewish. It’s nothing. He’s a totarian [?]. He knew very well what is the—
When did he separate from his wife?
That was much later. As a totarian he certainly understood what means some nationalistic—
—prejudice and so on. He was very much against any of such.
Now Sagdeef and Galiaeth and Zayoni had the theoretical group. Have they—
No, no. There were many other people.
And many others. What did they achieve? What are the big achievements of theoretical group?
Well, I’m not the person to ask about that, but they made quite significant plasma physical research, made many computer experiments.
I heard about it. I read about it and people discussed it with explosive reconnection, all kinds of things, but nothing ever came out of it.
Oh no. No, no. It was probably American point of view. In our country it was considered very significant. We had top plasma physicists. They were all very strong, and certainly some jealousy existed also between them, but never it was said that nothing came out; quite the opposite. It was rather strong, but one real thing which I know, not professionally because it was not my field, but still it was the analysis of inner structures, small scale structure of the bow shock wave. So that they found the mechanism which actually act to disperse and it appeared that at first the distribution function, which is originally Maxwellian [?] becomes of multi-beam nature with whistler [?] waves there, with lower hybrid waves there. So that’s a classical result that’s now well known. But it’s strange for me to hear that. Is anybody of plasma physics said that?
No, no. It’s my own impression.
You ask plasma physicists. They will tell you. You just ask Shapiro, which is the easiest for you because Vitali Shapiro, who’s now in the University of San Diego. He immigrated. He fled with Sheshemko to the United States. He’s one of our top plasma physicists, a very talented guy, a very good friend of mine. But he’s just great. A Jew.
He works inplasma?
Yes. He was in University of San Diego, Vitali Donovich Shapiro. One of the brightest personalities and you just ask him. He will give you this professionally.
Now you were head of that group—
Well, I remained the chief of my laboratory, and I still am.
You still are.
Now tell me, we come to Interbol, and before Interbol there was a Regatta when I came—
I need to finish that preceding story. So Sagdeef became furious with me because it’s certainly not easy to find a person for such a place. And he designated Pagorney [?], and that was a real punishment for all of us. So it lasted many years and until Pagorney began to write papers in the newspaper Provda that space research and space measurements are just a waste of money, because in his Terrella [?] experiment he measures all that very cheaply in his lab and nothing new can be done in space. He has written much more, but I will tell only about that. Only at that time it was some margin was reached.
Some limit, of course.
Yes. He was moved to another institute with quite a significant amount of computer and so on so that they will take him. As far as I know he’s still there.
And you got your old job?
No. Well, no, Zeloni [?] elected. We had elections.
In place of Pagorney?
Yes. At that time there was Peristroyka, elections, and that was actually the way because Pagorney was not elected. It was obvious for everybody that he cannot be elected. He only can be put by force to such a position. And Zeloni was elected and actually he’s very good chief of the department.
Now IKY has problems—problems of money, problems of support, and so on. When did that start?
From the very beginning. How could a scientific institution has no problems? That would mean that we are incapable, that our projects are too poor. No. Every scientific institution has money problems, support problems. For us the situation probably was from one side better than for many other institutes. First of all because we had strong international cooperation, exchange, and we were known. We went to conferences and so on, while it was not always the case for many others where it was very difficult. We have always had some results, which were sometimes even leading, sometimes at least reasonable. So we had these advantages. Because of that we certainly had a little bit more computers. At the same time most of the computers were bought with our own money. When you’re writing this paper reads why it could not be loaned, we just can laugh at that. Because to loan, that means that if they have money they had come to the next corner and buy computer. But this was impossible because they had no money and we had no money. But even more, if I take my computer, which was given to me by Academy, and give it to even not Academy Institute, but to a university, nobody will allow that because they will give this computer to another group or another Academy Institute because there is great, great shortage of that. So to give it to somebody else, either way it’s actually the same for you to say why I didn’t give him my own computer, because it would be much more feasible. In principal it was only my will, but to give computer which belonged to the Institute.
To give it to Colette Segunyunka [?]?
Do anybody else, but in particular to Colette Segunyunka. Nobody will allow that. At the very first the chief of the staff of the Department will say I have no rights for that. I will be jailed because I sold it outside. Immediately jailed. So it’s just an anecdote.
What kind of collaboration did you have with Lanker [?]?
Frankly I had rather poor collaboration with the group of Padofkin [?]. And that partly I think was due to him, but probably partly by me. Because we had very different approaches too. And once Padofkin was very keen to say that everything— For example there was a conference in Apatiti [?], regular conferences that we have, and he said that there is no need actually to measure anything from satellites because you can measure that on the ground. And I was there. I stood up and said, “What? You can measure only the processes which are connected, particles which are within the lowest cone. So you just do not know anything about other part of the distribution function.” He was angry with me, and several other people stood up because he had great authority. Actually I respect him very well, but here that was something which unexplainable. And other people, for example Breenlily [?] was the Vice Director of Paulo Geophysical Institute. He has written a rather good book. Old magnetometerist, was very high level, just very serious, and old. He stood up and said, “But yes, why do you just by consideration of magnetic moment you can see in.” Padofkin didn’t like that. So partly probably because of that, but at the same time we are very close friends, for example, and collaborators with Alek Troshicheff [?]. He is very bright and one of the leading figures in our country and who we always—
How about Victor Simonoff [?] ?
Simonoff is from group of Padofkin, but here it is another problem. The problem is that I was always very reluctant to accept this simplistic concept of reconnection. When you know we have a children’s game that you have nine cells and you put eight across or zero. I said that it is just this game with the connection. You have either X line or O line, but the line is unphysical. You can not have a line in physics. So please tell me what is going on around this line. And obviously this is a forbidden question. So the people I always—
I can tell you something, but that’s okay.
Yes. Do you know that within in the Rowe [?] project we try, now people more and more understand that there’s a thin current layers, not lines but layers, and so on and so on. So from the very beginning starting from Shabonski and I, it was not my probably my original idea, but we discussed it with Shabonski. Also he just hated the idea of line, and I also. He also a solar physicists and very good terratician and several of my other friends terraticians just say that. And you probably know that in Physical ??? Institute, there is a wonderful group of very high level led by a lady who’s name is Anna Frank. That’s fantastic. She’s one of the best physicists in this institute. She meets for many years, she with her group and laboratory, they make these experiments with thin current layers, their stability, and so on. So for us it was never a line. But I would not say for everybody, but at least for myself and for many bright people whom I know. So for me all this approach, which was just repeated from, taken from others papers.
Well, Jongi was the first, but you probably know better that. Gionelly [?] actually thought about it. But I’m sure that Jongi himself would only schematize that this way. He was bright enough physicists to understand that a line, infinitely thin is something nonphysical. So you had some physics inside. That was why I was somewhat ironic to just repeating this line. I always wanted something of more ingenious, more new would be invented. That was, actually I respect Shinonoff [?]. He’s a very good physicist and a good terratician. But he, for a long time at least, was stuck to this line.
Now when did NASA get interested in IKY?
I’m sure that interests of NASA, that’s my only evaluation, was dictated by political influence. At that meeting, which you have described—
There was one before, wasn’t there?
Well, there were several. Actually there were many before, many after, but this one was to some extent a critical one. It seems to me that long after, not that I thought this way at that time, that it was to some extent an experiment for NASA to what extent the cooperation could be followed. You understand that, I’m sure, I just know that in our country there were some circles, which were very much reluctant to any cooperation with United States because they are potential enemy and so on. And I’m sure to some extent the same mood could have existed on this side also. But for us we were probably naive idealists, but we thought that our change from this totalitarian system to something which was certainly over estimated at that time, but we were very, very optimistic—too much obviously as it seems now, but at that time that was so. We thought that now we will unify, unify not in everything. In science you never can unify. But we will help one another, we will make much closer relations, we will somewhat add our capabilities, because obviously in theory we were strong enough obviously in some specific aspects space technology.
We also had very significant advantages. So we had something of our own, and we thought that this could be made much more effective, much more closer, and so on. So later it became clear that it was probably too much optimistic and naïve. But we wanted first of all large common projects, large common projects both in planetary research, in magnetospheric research, and solar research, whatever. So that it would be not the cooperation between some small group of scientists in one country and some small group of scientists in another, which always was working and working very well, but it was not cooperation between countries. It was cooperation between individuals. And certainly we were hoping that this could be achieved to some extent. It appeared that it was completely frustrated.
Why? By whom?
That I’m afraid to judge. I don’t know.
I said that any way our opinion looks to me now too naïve. Not only because of the presence from both sides, these prejudices and feeling of potential danger and feeling that politicians will not accept that from various because they must somewhat balance. Because scientists always were ahead in humanitarian moods and probably not always fully justified, but at least that was our opinion. And it became clear that we can not achieve that. So what happened is known, but up till now practically there is no cooperation in hardware except some specific cases when one or two of our scientists work together with some American group and they then consider this as just co-author. Well it’s not bad, but it’s not what we thought at that time.
What happened afterwards? What has been IKY since 1989? Things have been very unsettled in Russia.
Yes. Well there were— Frankly I do not remember much of the details, so you must ask me— The most spectacular was certainly was VEGA [?] project and then FOBUS [?] project.
That was before ’89.
Yes. It was before, just the peak of the Sagdeef activity, and at the same time it was a peak of these moods of cooperation, of the mutual help, and so on. So we worked really for Interbol all this time because Interbol started very early. The ideas about Interbol started from ’75. It was supposed to be launched the first time as far as I remember in ’89, then moved to ’91, ’92. And in fact the first was launched in ’95 and second in ’96.
Has it re-entered?
The first re-entered a year ago with working apparatus, but the second died in flight because—
You mean the aurora probe.
Aurora probe because we had quite significant notation due to a very simple error, an error in construction. One of the antennas looked backward. An antennae is supposed to be along the axis, but was moved a little bit to the angle and it looked to the sun.
Because of heating.
Because of heating it moved. Then again and that was the driver of the notation. The notation was extremely significant.
In that, no. It was a great experience with such probes, so they thought that everything is clear and to dump it we— During the first day we thought that we will lose the satellite because the amplitude of notation reached 40 degrees. So our antennas, which are just soft antennas, one was disconnected. One of the polar antennae is disconnected from the main body. But fortunately others, but very professional people found a way and we used every 12 hours there was a jet of gas to dump at a notation. So because it increased exponential result at first it is very weak. So just at that phase, but we lost gas because of that. When all the gas was exhausted the satellite worked nearly half a year more gradually going out from the sun. That’s the solar batteries in which I participated because they were first metalized solar batteries on Progno [?] satellite. It was in part my job of together— Certainly it was made by a very good establishment in our country of—
Metalized and conducting.
Made conducting, yes. Conducting from both sides, and with very significant EMC measures. So when a piece of this solar panel was tested in Conness [?] and Toulouse, and they injected the current into the panel and measured with their standard equipment, there was were no signal. They said, “Oh, something is broken. Just?”