Prokhorov, Aleksandr Mikhailovich [key], 1916–2002, Russian physicist, b. Atherton, Queensland, Australia. In 1923 he was taken to the Soviet Union by his parents, who had emigrated to Australia to escape the czarist regime. In 1947 he began his research into the coherent radiation of electrons, followed by pioneering work in the field of radio-frequency spectroscopy. With N. G. Basov he created an oscillator based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic waves by the excited molecules of a molecular beam. In the process of developing an ammonia-beam molecular oscillator, Prokhorov formulated the main principles of, and laid the physical foundation for, quantum electronics. For this work, which led to the construction of oscillators and amplifiers based on the maser–laser principle, Prokhorov shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Basov and C. H. Townes.
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