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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker


Yuli Khariton

One year younger than Kurchatov, Khariton was born in St. Petersberg in 1904. In 1926 Khariton went to Cambridge University to study under Ernest Rutherford, who received a Nobel prize in 1908 for his work with radioactive substances.

Khariton was a noted scientist, and was respected for his work in nuclear physics. Kurchatov gave him the job of finding a location for the Soviet atomic bomb labs. Khariton chose the small town of Sarov. He was named the first director of the facility, and remained the director until he retired in 1992 after the Soviet Union collapsed.

During the early years of the bomb program, Khariton worked closely with Zeldovich on theoretical calculations regarding the atomic and hydrogen bombs.

Khariton was a long time friend of Kuchatov, and was alone with him when Kurchatov died. Yuli Khariton died on December 19, 1996 in the town of Sarov.  

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Yuli Khariton
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