Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2003 (11.3)

Science and the Academy
Physicist Hasan Abdullayev - 85th Jubilee
by Adil Baguirov

Below: Hasan Abdullayev presided over Azerbaijan's Academy of Sciences for 14 years. He is remembered for the great surge in science that took place in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Undoubtedly, science is the locomotive of progress. With the worldwide drive towards the development of an information society, dominated by information and communication technologies (ICT), science plays an even more vital role. No country can ignore the importance of its own scientific development, and no country can afford not to develop its own scientific resources, knowledge base, research and development (R&D), including fundamental, theoretical science.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new independent State, these past 15 years have been extremely difficult for Azerbaijan. Especially, the scientific community and related institutions have been hit hard by economic hardships, decreased funding, brain drain and turmoil among the academia.

Gradually, science is beginning to regain some of its strength, as reflected by the unprecedented attention that was paid to the recent international conference held on October 6-8, 2003, dedicated to the memory of Hasan Abdullayev (1918-1993), who was President of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan an unprecedented 14 years from 1970-1983. He was also Director of the Institute of Physics that bears his name. He founded the Nakhchivan Branch of the Academy of Sciences and founded more than 20 scientific production and construction bureaus in the Republic - again an unprecedented record. Academician Abdullayev was one of the leaders of Soviet Science for about 50 years. (Note: "Academician" was the highest ranking scientific title in former USSR, followed by "Corresponding Member of the Academy" and "Professor").

The conference provided a forum for scientists from various countries to present their works and share their experiences in the scientific fields of the condensed matter physics and semiconductors. The conference has created a new impulse and impetus for more scientific exchanges, publications, attention from the government and private sector, and universities.

The list of scientists who came to Baku or sent congratulatory letters to the delegates reads like a "Who's Who in Science". For example, it included Academician Zhores Alferov, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), and Director of the A.F.Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute.

Other outstanding scientists included: Academician Sergey Kapitsa, Editor of "Scientific Life", the Russian-language equivalent of "Scientific American"; Academician Roald Sagdeev, distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland and Director Emeritus of the Space Research Institute in Moscow; Professor Rudolf Ludwig Mossbauer, 1961 Nobel Laureate in Physics from Munich, Germany; Academician Eugene Velikhov, Director of the Kurchatov Institute and former Vice-president of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Proceedings of the conference will be published by Azerbaijan's Academy of Science, as well as by Academician Kapitsa in Russia. The official website of the conference is:

Academician Abdullayev was called the Father of Physics in Azerbaijan and one of the Founders of the School of Semiconductor Research in the Soviet Union by such authoritative scientists as Academicians Zh.Alferov, Yu.Gulyaev, L.Kurbatov, V.Isakov, Professor D.Nasledov, and others.

In fact, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, the most authoritative Soviet encyclopedia - the Soviet equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica in the West, listed the names of scientists, making the greatest contributions to the development of semiconductor electronics and microelectronics in this order: A.F.Ioffe (who was Abdullayev's mentor during his postdoctoral studies in Leningrad), N.P.Sazhin, Ya.I.Frenkel, B.M.Vul, V.M.Tuchkevich, H.B.Abdullayev, Zh.I.Alferov, L.V.Keldish, and others (Third Edition, 1970, page 351). Thus, already in 1970, this encyclopedia put academician Abdullayev as the sixth most influential scientist in semi-conductor research, higher than such giants as Academicians Alferov and Keldish!

The chief merit of Academician Abdullayev's leadership as President of the Azerbaijan's Academy of Science was his ability to re-direct the Republic's scientific focus on high technology, thus circumventing the negative consequences and limitations of one-sided development, since up until that time, Azerbaijan had mostly been concentrated on agrarian and petroleum issues.

His own research was focused in the field of condensed matter physics, fast transistors and the semiconductor heterostructure technology, producing new rectifiers and improving existing ones made with selenium, tellurium, or some of their mode complex compounds, research of new types of controlled diodes, the development of technology for making them, and the discovery of new applications, especially for electronic memory systems. His expertise and authority in the area were well recognized, especially taking into account that one of his collaborators, Academician Alferov ultimately won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 and was frequently seen in Baku, conducting joint research with him.

Abdullayev held some 400 patents in the USSR, U.S., France and other countries. He authored 15 books and more than 300 publications, including the English-language text, "Atomic Diffusion in Semiconductor Structures" (hardcover, Gordon & Breach Publishing, 1987. Quite remarkably 16 years after its publication, this book costs $857.00 at He was mentor for more than 200 Doctors of Sciences in their thesis defense and about 1,500 PhDs (a degree lower than Doctor of Science). A list of his patents, publications, and recollections is available at

Adil Baguirov, PhD, a frequent contributor to Azerbaijan International, is a grandson of Hasan Abdullayev.

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