Prof. Emmanuel Lipmanov

Emmanuel Moiseevich Lipmanov was born on October 17, 1924, in Zhitomir in the Republic of Ukraine in the former Soviet Union. Both his parents were teachers, and his father Moshe (Moisei Abramovich) made a successful career as a secondary school principal, and was decorated with the Order of Lenin as a prominent educator. At the beginning of the Second World War, at the end of June 1941, the family evacuated first to a small village near Stalingrad, and then to the South Asian republic of Kirghizstan. As a child in the 1920s, Emmanuel was afflicted with scarlet fever which caused a severe inflammatory process in his bones and joints. These ailments left him handicapped for life, with major deformities in his limbs and movement impairment.

Emmanuel Lipmanov graduated from high school with a Gold Medal, the highest honor in Soviet secondary education. In 1949, he graduated with highest honors from Leningrad (now, St. Petersburg) State University, with joint BS and MS in Physics. In 1951, he married Revekka Nachumovna Kaganovich, a native of Gorky (now, Nizhny Novgorod), Russia, who was a graduate of the University of Leningrad with a major in Classics and a minor in German. They had two children, son Boris born in 1952, and daughter Janna born in 1953.

In 1952, Lipmanov defended his PhD dissertation on “Radioactive phenomena in the decay of µ–meson.” While still a graduate student in Leningrad, Lipmanov started publishing innovative papers in the field of neutrino research. In 1952-56, he taught physics at the Novozybkov Teachers’ College, then from 1956 till 1970 at the Stalingrad (now, Volgograd) Pedagogical Institute. While there, he widely published in the leading periodicals in theoretical physics, and achieved particular prominence for the following three ideas he developed.

First, in 1959, he published a new classification of leptons containing two types of neutrino, electron neutrino and muon neutrino; he then proposed, simultaneously with Bruno Pontecorovo, a design of an experiment to differentiate the two neutrinos. The key presupposition of Lipmanov, that of the impossibility of interactions between the two types of neutrino, was successfully tested three years later at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s particle accelerator in the United States.

Second, in a series of papers published in 1961-64, Lipmanov first proposed the existence of a new type of heavy lepton. This hypothesis was supported by theoretical work of Y.B. Zeldovich and L.B. Okun. In 1975, this new particle named t-lepton (tau-lepton) was discovered experimentally at the Stanford Linear Accelerator in the US. For this discovery, Martin Pearl of Stanford University was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1995. In his Nobel Lecture, he spoke of the pioneering work of Lipmanov and of his calculations of the main channel of t-lepton decay. Dr. Pearl cited Lipmanov’s work as a precursor to the discovery of t-lepton.

Lipmanov’s third fundamental idea was developed in his publications of 1967-68. It was a model of disrupted, but restored at high energies, left-right mirror symmetry of weak interactions in elementary particles. The symmetry disruption is due to the mass difference in vector bosons connected to the weak (V-A) and (V+A) currents. Since the early 21st century, such models based on left-right symmetry disruptions are considered as the most probable natural extension of the Standard Model of the electroweak interactions of elementary particles.

Lipmanov defended his second Doctoral Dissertation in 1965 at the Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. It was titled “Studies in the Theory of Weak Interactions of the Elementary Particles.” Following this dissertation, Lipmanov was awarded the lifetime rank of Professor of Theoretical Physics. In Volgograd, he started developing a school of thought in particle physics and raised a cohort of talented young scientists.

In 1970, Lipmanov moved to Yaroslavl, where he founded a department of Theoretical Physics at the newly established University of Yaroslavl. He became the department’s founding chair, and continued extensive research as well as teaching. Among his graduate students from Volgograd and Yaroslavl were several talented scientists who later became internationally recognized leaders in the field.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, due to increased anti-Semitism, Professor Lipmanov’s children emigrated from the Soviet Union, and as a result, Lipmanov was subjected to persecution and organized harassment. He was demoted from the chairmanship of his department but remained a rank-and-file professor until his retirement in 1987. In 1989, he and his wife emigrated from the Soviet Union in order to be near their children. They came to the US as refugees, and settled in Boston, MA where their daughter Janna, a neuroscientist at Brandeis University, and her family resided. Lipmanov never stopped working and published important papers in leading international journals as well as on the Internet as preprints. His latest ideas dealt with the search for formulas describing the neutrino masses. Overall, he had authored over 100 seminal papers in theoretical physics.

Years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Professor Lipmanov was finally recognized in his native country. The school of scientific thought in particle physics created by Professor Lipmanov was declared in 2003 as the best among the peripheral (not located in a capital city) scientific schools by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. In October 2004, to commemorate his 80th birthday, his former students organized a symposium in his honor at the University of Yaroslavl and published a Festschrift, “Leptons: Jubilee Collection of Articles devoted to the 80th Birthday of Professor E.M. Lipmanov.”

Emmanuel Lipmanov continued his work in theoretical physics into his nineties, till the very end, publishing his papers on the Internet preprint sites, and occasionally, in peer reviewed journals. His latest work was on electroweak interactions for neutrino mass ratios, and he started developing an insight into its’ cosmological implications.

Emmanuel Lipmanov was predeceased by his son Boris who died in 2014, and his wife Revekka who passed away in 2015. He is survived by his daughter Janna (and Edward) Kaplan of Newton MA, and their children: Emmanuel’s grandson Aaron Kaplan and Será Godfrey-Kaplan and her son Zeppelin Godfrey-Grantz of Newton MA; granddaughter Sima Kaplan of Philadelphia; and step-grandson Jeremy Kaplan with his wife Rebecca Ballantine and their children, Lhakyi, Eli, Dechen, Bella, and Cassie, of Brooklyn NY.

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