Professor Boris Vasilievich Novozhilov (1930-2017)

Professor Boris Vasilievich Novozhilov (1930-2017)

Professor Boris Vasilievich Novozhilov, the former Head of Laboratory of Mathematical Methods in Chemical Physics at the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, passed away on 19 February 2017. A dedicated member of The Combustion Institute, Prof. Novozhilov is best known for his outstanding fundamental contribution to the theory of solid propellant combustion.

In 1953, Prof. Novozhilov graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute (currently Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University) with honors in Applied Physics. He started his scientific career as a Junior Researcher at the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics in 1954, where he worked full time until his death. Prof. Novozhilov earned a Ph.D. in 1959, and later in 1968, he was awarded the highest scientific degree in the Soviet Union, Doctor of Sciences, both in physics and mathematical sciences. From 1976 through 1992, Prof. Novozhilov served as Head of the Laboratory of Mathematical Methods in Chemical Physics at the Institute. After 1992, he worked in the position of Chief Research Scientist.

Prof. Novozhilov devoted much of his remarkable service to the international combustion community. In the late 1960s, Prof. Novozhilov extended the theory of solid propellant combustion, originated by Ya. B. Zeldovich, to the case of variable surface temperature of the propellant. His work led to a fundamental breakthrough, because the original assumption of constant surface temperature is practically irrelevant. Over the next decades, Prof. Novozhilov refined the mathematical formulation of the theory, turning it into a powerful concept that allowed him to consider from a single viewpoint a large variety of practically important problems in internal ballistics.

World-wide recognition of this theory, now known as the Zeldovich-Novozhilov (ZN) theory, led The Combustion Institute to award Prof. Novozhilov the Ya. B. Zeldovich Gold Medal in 1996. During the 26th International Symposium on Combustion at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, Prof. Novozhilov received the medal “for outstanding contributions to the theory of combustion.”

Prof. Novozhilov made versatile contributions to several other areas of combustion science and he authored five books published in the Soviet Union. In 2012, Prof. Novozhilov was awarded the Russian Federation Government Prize in Science and Technology for his contribution to the development of new technology related to defense. For many years, he taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia.

The Combustion Institute honors Prof. Novozhilov’s accomplishments and the work of scientific leaders who make significant contributions for the advancement of many diverse communities around the world.