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Nonfiction Book Award Status: GOLD


This story is about Nikolay Semenov (1896-1986), one of the most distinguished and influential scientists in the post-war USSR, and the first Soviet scientist to win the Nobel prize for chemistry. Semenov’s discoveries about branched-chain reactions in the early 1930s became his most significant scientific contribution. The Institute of Chemical Physics, led by him from 1931 until his death, played a crucial role in many Soviet military projects, most importantly the Atomic Project. Besides being a talented scientist, Semenov was a true visionary. His legacy is the Noginsky Scientific Center in Chernogolovka, where his dream of scientific collaborations at all levels was realized with the help of his associate Fedor Dubovitsky, a gifted and enthusiastic leader and administrator. Many Soviet physicists were taught by Semenov and established their own scientific schools to continue his legacy of exploration and discovery for future generations. This book includes some original never published before photos.

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Author Bio

Michael Zhilaev is a West Windsor-Plainsboro high school student from New Jersey with an interest in history and science. His parents came to the United States from the scientific center at Chernogolovka, Russia twenty years ago. Both of Michael’s parents met Semenov when they were very young researchers at the Chernogolovka branch of the Institute of Chemical Physics. This book is the result of Michael’s research that he conducted by immersing himself into the scientific environment, meeting scientists, and observing experiments. 


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