In 1970, Komsomolskaya Pravda published a photo with caption reading: “Three great K.” The image showed Korolev, Kurchatov, and Mstislav Keldysh. President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, three times Hero of the Socialist Labor, Mstislav Keldysh was an outstanding scientist of the 20th century. These were the years when science and technologies were actively developing. Our country could boast of being an aircraft power. It has created nuclear bomb, electronic computers and was the first to send a man to space. Mstislav Keldysh contributed to each of these achievements. He was born in the family of adjunct professor of Riga Polytechnic School Vsevolod Keldysh, “founding father of Russian reinforced concrete.” At old age, academician of architecture and former nobleman would joke: “If I knew that one of my sons would become the president of the Academy of Sciences, I would probably pay more attention to him.” This is what he told writer Yaroslav Golovanov. After graduating from the university, Keldysh was sent to the Central Aero- and Hydrodynamics Institute, where he worked until the very end of the war. Working in this institution, Keldysh managed to defeat flatter, i.e., self-induced sustained flexure and torsional oscillations of structures capable of breaking a helicopter to pieces. Later, the same flatter started damaging the sword in the hand of Mother Russia on Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, and the new weapon was made following the recommendations of Keldysh. The scientist also managed to overcome shimmy (this name of American dance was given by the designers to self-induced oscillations typical for the nose-gear wheel of airplanes. The first golden star of the Hero of Social Labor was awarded to the scientist for participation in the Soviet nuclear project. He organized a special calculating office under the Steklov Institute of Mathematics of the Academy of Sciences. All calculations in the project on creating the Soviet thermonuclear bomb were performed by Keldysh and his employees. Thus, he worked in close cooperation with “nuclear K” – Kurchatov. He worked together with the “space K” – Korolev – as well. The second golden star was awarded to him in 1961, after Gagarin’s space flight. His work was classified as top secret, and nobody knew at that time that nickname “cosmonautics theorist” belonged to Mstislav Keldysh. It is this very theorist who was in charge of the project on development of theoretical fundamentals for placing artificial objects into low earth orbits in the middle of 1950s and solved many problems dealing with mechanics of space flights. All projects devoted to space exploration were implemented with active participation of Mstislav Keldysh.
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Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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