In November 2016, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved the name of the oganesson for the 118th element of the periodic table. This is the last element so far to become known to scientists, and its name comes from the name of academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian physicist Yuri Tsolakovich Oganessian. This is the second time in history that a chemical element is named after a living scientist. On April 14 2021, Yuri Oganessian turns 88.

Today, Yuri Tsolakovich is the scientific director of the Georgy Flerov Nuclear Reaction Laboratory at the JINR in Dubna. He began his career in nuclear physics in 1956 when he graduated from Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute (MEPhI) and started working at the Laboratory of Measuring Instruments No.2 of the Russian Academy of Sciences, known today as the Kurchatov Institute. So in 2021, Yuri Oganessian is also celebrating an anniversary of his career – 65 years of nuclear research.

Perhaps the outstanding physicist Yuri Oganessian could be known today as an outstanding architect – in addition to MEPhI he had applied for studies at the Moscow Architectural Institute where he had successfully passed entrance exams. But physics was his final decision: at an age of 37 Yuri Oganessian became a doctor of physical and mathematical sciences. It was in Dubna that he defended his thesis on the topic, Fission of Excited Nuclei and the Possibility of Synthesizing New Isotopes – he was recruited by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1958 as an associate researcher and is still working there as a scientific director of a laboratory.

With the participation and leadership of Yuri Tsolakovich, the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions named after G. Flerov expanded the periodic table with new elements: rutherfordium, dubnium, seaborgium, bohrium, nihonium, flerovium, moscovium, livermorium, tennessine, and oganesson. For his outstanding contribution to the discovery of new chemical elements, Yuri Oganessian received the Demidov Prize in 2019 – and this is but one of his recent awards. Over the years, the scientist has received the Lenin Komsomol Prize and the Flerov Award, State Prizes of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. The Order of Merit to the Fatherland, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Badge of Honor, and the M.V. Lomonosov Great Gold Medal are just a few of the honors and symbols of scientific merit of Yuri Oganessian.

Today, a Superheavy Element Factory is in operation at the Nuclear Reaction Laboratory, and experiments are being prepared to synthesize subsequent elements of the periodic table. We congratulate Yuri Tsolakovich on his birthday and hope that discoveries of even newer elements will be credited to our scientists and, in particular, Yuri Oganessian.

As we celebrate the birthday of an outstanding scientist, we suggest to watch his interviews and speeches which were published at the Scientific Russia portal.

“The Nucleus of Captivating Joy” – an interview with Yuri Oganessian from early 2020: 

“People are not Indifferent to Discoveries” – Yuri Oganessian speaks about international significance of science:

Photo: Nikolay Malakhin, Scientific Russia