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Science genius, father of Azerbaijani physics, one of the founders of the school of semiconductor research in the Soviet Union, Hasan B. Abdullaev was born in the tragic moment of slaughter (20 August 1918), perpetrated by the bands of Armenian general Andronik in Azerbaijan. H. Abdullaev was left an orphan very early on in life. Although that did not hinder him from self-forgetfully studying science, literature and music in between with heavy farm labor, which he had to carry out in order to help the remaining members of the family and being able to fulfill the dream of leaving to the capital, Baku, for advanced education.

In Baku, after day-time courses in the university, as a young student he would tutor private lessons in physics, chemistry and math to earn extra money. He would also work in ship loading at night in the port, as well as play on the national radio in the tar ensemble (he learned playing tar by himself). Upon graduation in 1941, he would go back to native Naxcivan to teach.

Following, would come graduate studies at the Institute of Physics and Mathematics in 1948, and later doctorate dissertation in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), under the mentoring of famous Soviet academician A.G. Ioffe.

Russian scientists were fascinated by the talent and intelligence of young Azerbaijani scientist, and immediately proposed to stay working and living in St. Petersburg, in Moscow, i.e., in the premier research centers of Soviet Union. Already back then, working in the laboratory with academicians Nasledov, Tuchkevich and Ioffe, G. Abdullayev first noticed the direct link between eyesight, the Sun and electricity. However, there were long years ahead before this was proven and new technologies used in physics, chemistry, astronomy, medicine, military industry, etc., were developed.

He always wanted and needed to establish his own institute of physics, which was to become the core in science research of the country, continuously producing more and more new directions in the science. Therefore, even more tempting propositions could not keep him away from returning to Baku, his native Azerbaijan, and to realize his dream. From then on, and until last days of his life, he was the director of the Institute of Physics, decorated with highest Soviet orders, as one of the premier research facilities in the USSR.

Later, he was to become the only President of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan to be re-elected three times in the row, thanks to the ever-advancing pioneering research activities. In those tough Soviet times, local bureaucracy was irritated by the strength of Abdullayev, since some wanted to nullify and invalidate the phenomenon of the scientist, ultimately failing in this quest. The chief merit of G.Abdullayev’s leadership was the ability to re-directed Azerbaijan’s scientific emphasis from raw-agrarian into high-tech, thus circumventing the negative consequences and limitations of one-sided development, such as emphasis only in oil and agricultural related directions. His own research was focused in the field of Selenium (SE) chemical element, fast transistors and the semiconductor heterostructure technology. His expertise and authority in the area were well recognized, especially taking into account that one of his junior collaborators, Zhores I. Alferov of the A.F. Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia, who went up to win a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000, was frequently seen in Baku, consulting with G.Abdullayev.

While being not only the director of the Institute of Physics and President of the AoS of Azerbaijan, but also chairman of the “Znanie” (Knowledge) society, he was actively propagating science and education in the republic. Under his personal direction, numerous new research and scientific centers of the Academy of Sciences started to open not only in Baku, but across the entire republic, which were dealing with natural resources, space, radiation, and neuronal research, etc. For the first time in Azerbaijan, academician Abdullayev started to head and promote scientific research in such fields as physics-medicine, bio-physics, and other.

Despite being a physicist, he also paid great attention to humanitarian sciences, and music. He himself played on many instruments and cited medieval poems by heart. He profoundly cared about the problems of ecology, erosion of land, and was busy finding feasible solutions to them through research.

With all his universal encyclopedic knowledge, colossal scientific potential and opportunities that he had, G. Abdullayev was a very simple and reachable individual for everyone. He often ignored all the privileges and preferred his working in his countryside garden to attending of prestigious events. He loved nature and slept only on the open air, in the balcony, as well as swam in the ice-cold Caspian sea during winter. Finally, he always stood up for his ideas, could be at intellectual debate and conflict, but he never got offended at other people. He has cherished people as one of the biggest mysteries of the Universe, who should be studied, too. He believed that science will unite all people of the planet, since it does not know borders, but one infinite opportunity. G.Abdullayev passed away in 1993 and was laid to rest in Baku.

 

   
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