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In Memoriam

Valery Rubakov

Valery Rubakov giving the introductory talk to the work of the 2013 ICTP Dirac Medallists
Valery Rubakov giving the introductory talk to the work of the 2013 ICTP Dirac Medallists


ICTP was saddened to learn of the passing of Valery Rubakov, one of the most prominent theoretical physicists of his generation. Professor Rubakov served on the ICTP Scientific Council from 2010 to 2020.

He made fundamental contributions at the interface of particle physics and cosmology. In particular, Professor Rubakov wrote pioneering papers about baryogenesis (the mechanism that explains why the Universe contains matter and not antimatter), non-perturbative methods in Quantum Field Theory (including his insightful work on monopole catalyzed proton decay, now known as the `Callan-Rubakov effect’), and the braneworld scenario (the possibility that additional large space dimensions exist on top of the usual three).

Professor Rubakov decided to remain in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, where he was a strong defender of academic freedom against political pressure. He mentored a large number of students, forming the “Rubakov school" in Moscow. One of his former PhD students was the 2018 ICTP Dirac Medalist Dam Thanh Son.

"Rubakov has been a good friend of ICTP," said Paolo Creminelli, head of the Centre's High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (HECAP) section. "He visited the HECAP group regularly for many years and collaborated with Professors Randjbar-Daemi and Smirnov. He was a marvelous teacher and he gave many lectures at the Particle Physics and Cosmology ICTP schools, always on the blackboard of course, in pure Russian style."

ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar commented, “Valery was an outstanding physicist and a wonderful human being with great integrity and courage of his convictions. He cared deeply about physics and about the mission of ICTP.  As a member of ICTP's Scientific Council, he played a vital role at a number of critical junctures.  We will miss him.”

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