By Paul R. Josephson
In 2000, Russian scientist Zhores Alferov shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of the heterojunction, a semiconductor gadget the sensible purposes of which come with LEDs, fast transistors, and the microchip. The Prize used to be the end result of a profession in Soviet technology that spanned the eras of Stalin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev--and keeps this day within the postcommunist Russia of Putin and Medvedev. In Lenin's Laureate, historian Paul Josephson tells the tale of Alferov's existence and paintings and examines the bureaucratic, fiscal, and ideological stumbling blocks to doing state-sponsored clinical learn within the Soviet Union. Lenin and the Bolsheviks outfitted powerful associations for medical examine, rectifying years of overlook below the Czars. Later generations of scientists, together with Alferov and his colleagues, reaped the advantages, attaining very important breakthroughs: the 1st nuclear reactor for civilian strength, an early fusion machine, and, after all, the Sputnik satellite tv for pc. Josephson's account of Alferov's profession finds the strengths and weaknesses of Soviet science--a schizophrenic setting of state of the art examine and political interference. Alferov, born right into a relatives of Communist loyalists, joined the celebration in 1967. He supported Gorbachev's reforms within the Nineteen Eighties, yet later grew to become pissed off through the recession-plagued postcommunist state's failure to fund clinical learn safely. An elected member of the Russian parliament on account that 1995, he makes use of his status as a Nobel laureate to guard Russian technological know-how from additional cutbacks. Drawing on broad archival examine and the author's personal discussions with Alferov, Lenin's Laureate deals a different account of Soviet technological know-how, provided opposed to the backdrop of the USSR's turbulent heritage from the revolution via perestroika.