Борис Яковлевич Пинес 

1905 - 1968

Khar'kov University, Department of Solid State Physics, Khar'kov, Ukraine


Prof. Boris Yakovlevich Pines was a student of Academician A. F. Ioffe and representative of his renowned colleagues of Soviet physics. In 1928, at his initiative, B. Ya. Pines is leaving the Leningrad Physical and Technical Institute and starts working at the Mariupol'sk Metallurgical Plant. It is here where he got connected with the first scientific plant and production laboratory for x-ray analysis in the Soviet Union. At the start of the 1930’s, this Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Science started his work in the Khar'kov Refractory Institute where he organized scientific research on the physical properties of refractories. He was the first Soviet physicist to actually introduce the methods and ideas of physics into the study of refractories. Even today, this work has its influence on the development of the science of refractories. In 1937, Prof. Pines started his professional work at Khar'kov University as head of the Department of Solid State Physics. Together with his many students, he has accomplished much in science, firmly implanting the fundamentals of solid-state physics. B. Ya. Pines was one of the founders of the modern physical theory of powder sintering In his well-known work "On Sintering (in the Solid Phase)," published in 1946: he was the first one that focused attention on the fact that the Thompson formula, determining the pressure of a pair on the curved surface of a drop, does not contain mass, and, consequently, may be used for "matter," the mass of which is zero.  Boris Yakovlevich was able to describe the process of closing up pores as the directional flow of vacancies from their surface. This idea is one of the fundamentals of the physics of sintering. B. Ya. Pines constructed a thermodynamic theory of equilibrium diagrams which was further used to construct a theory of many of the physical properties of alloys and the processes occurring in them. In this theory, the constants of the properties and processes were for the first time correlated with the curves and constants of equilibrium diagrams. Many important results were obtained by Prof. Pines in work connected with the experimental method and theory of x-ray analysis. Widely known is a large amount of experimental and theoretical work on the investigation of the structure of thin films, the mechanical properties of actual crystals, the rules of diffusion creep, long term strength, etc.

Boris Ya. Pines was the tutor of a generation of students, many of whom became leading scientists. He was a brilliant lecturer and speaker and possessed phenomenal scientific knowledge. The excellent books of Boris Yakovlevich are widely known. His book "Lectures on Structure Analysis" came out in its third edition.

On the 17th of October 1968, after a long illness one of the best known Soviet metal physicists, Boris Yakovlevich Pines died. The scientific legacy left by him will long assist the development of solid-state physics and the education of new generations of Russian metal physicists.