Valery Ivanovich Zagrebaev, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, professor, and JINR FLNR deputy director, passed away suddenly on January 17, 2015, aged 64. This is shocking and terribly distressful news for all of us, and it will take a long time for us to come to grips with this loss. Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with Valery’s family and his laboratory co-workers, and we offer them our condolences.
Professor V. I. Zagrebaev graduated with a degree in physics from Leningrad State University where he subsequently defended his Ph.D. and habilitation theses. Professor Zagrebaev began his academic career in the Department of Theoretical Physics at Chuvash State University, where he worked for over 25 years, variously holding the positions of an assistant, associate professor, and professor. Back in 1997, Valery Zagrebaev was appointed a senior researcher at JINR FLNR. In 1999 he founded and became head of the laboratory group of theoretical and computational physics. Professor Zagrebaev was appointed JINR FLNR deputy director in 2007, a position he held up to his death.
Professor Zagrebaev’s academic interests were intricately interwoven with the nuclear reaction dynamics research at low and intermediate energies. He made important contributions to the development of quasi-classical approaches for the description of a wide range of phenomena occurring in heavy-ion collisions. Professor Zagrebaev is known for his fundamental work in various fields of nuclear physics that played a key role in the establishment and development of many areas of further research. His calculations served as a basis for a series of experiments carried out in leading laboratories worldwide. Professor Valery Zagrebaev initiated the development of a unique network knowledge base on low-energy nuclear physics, which continues to expand even today. He was a co-discoverer of superheavy elements with atomic numbers 113, 114, 115, 116, and 118 synthesized over the past few years at JINR FLNR. In 2011 V. I. Zagrebaev initiated and headed work on the development of a state-of-the-art set-up for selective laser ionization and separation of nuclear reaction products.
Professor Zagrebaev is internationally recognized for his expertise in heavy-ion physics. He published over 190 scientific works in top magazines, both in Russia and abroad. V. I. Zagrebaev was awarded JINR prizes in 1997, 2002, and 2007 in recognition of his outstanding scientific achievements.
Professor V. I. Zagrebaev paid great attention to training of academic staff. He was involved in academic work for many years. Under his guidance, graduates defended their Ph.D. and habilitation theses. The Department of Nuclear Physics at Dubna State University was established in 2003 under his leadership and with his direct involvement. The department's graduates have a wide range of employment chances and are rated by employers as highly skilled and proficient. This is also reflected by the large majority of the graduates who successfully work at JINR laboratories.
To us, Professor Zagrebaev’s colleagues, friends, students, and the FLNR staff, he was more than an outstanding scientist. We are mourning over the loss of a good friend, great academician, and wonderful colleague who gave freely of his time, advice and expertise. Professor Valery Ivanovich Zagrebaev was a many-sided man of great depth who contributed enormously to the development of fundamental science. He will forever stay in our hearts and will be remembered as an extremely thoughtful scientist and dedicated mentor.