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The Lenin Prizes

So, 56 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of April 12th 1961

The story continued:

The results of this year’s competition are due to be announced shortly- Meanwhile, the Soviet press is full of articles and letters discussing the merits of the various claimants for the awards.

Among these is a group of engineers at the 1st Watch Factory who claim that a new automatic line for the assembly of watches, which is equipped with special electronic ptical instruments, merits an award.

Academician B Konstantinov, writing in the newspaper Izvestiya, argues that the late A.F.Ioffe’s work on semiconductors merits an award, even if, alas, it has to be posthumous. In the course of his plea, Konstantinov makes some rather large claims.

We are told, for example, that Ioiffe’s work revealed the nature of the conduction in semiconductors and that he established the “hole and electron” concept for the transfer of charges in semiconductor materials.

Ioffe was, moreover, the first who “ with complete clarity” posed and solved the problems of obtaining semiconductor materials with prescribed properties for the manufacture of thermometers, photo-resistors, rectifiers, and thermo-elements.

His investigations into the behaviour of semiconductors in powerful electric fields led to an understanding of why in semiconductors, a divergence from the classical Ohm’s Law occurs at a certain critical value of the electric field.

Konstantinov adds that Ioffe’s last book , ‘Semiconductor Thermo-elements’, has become known in the West as the “Bible of Thermo-electricity”,

Finally, we are informed by virtue of Ioffe’s theories, many different semiconductor cooling devices and thermo-electric generators have been produced in the USSR which has become the “homeland for thermo – electric instrument construction.”

If all the above is true, and bearing in mind that comparatively few Soviet thermo-electric devices have thus far appeared in the West, it remains to be seen how far the Soviets will press home their assumed advantage.

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