2013 Munushian Lecture

Breakthrough Technologies of the 20th Century and Their Importance Today

Dr. Zhores Alferov
President, St. Petersburg University
Nobel Laureate, Physics 2000




In the 20th century, new technologies that determined to a large extent the development of the new civilization were created on the basis of fundamental research. They are nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, jet engines and space technologies, creation of computers (electronic computing machines), discovery of the transistor, discovery of the laser, the basics of information technologies of today (discovery of silicone chips and heterostructures), revolution in genetics and new technologies in medicine. Milestones in the history of creation and development of these technologies and their importance today are overviewed. A special focus is made on importance and role of the fundamental research. Information and energy technologies are reviewed in particular detail.


Dr. Zhores Alferov earned a doctor of sci- ences in physics and mathematics in 1970 from Ioffe Physical Technical Institute. He is a co-winner of 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics “for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed-electronics and optoelectronics.” He is also a Russian politician, and has been a member of the Russian State Parliament, the Duma, since 1995.