Obituary: Prof Nemilov
With thanks to members of the Vavilov State Optical Institute who wrote the obituary below:
In memory of Prof Sergei V. Nemilov (1939-2020).
It was truly sad that Professor Sergei Vladimirovich Nemilov passed away on October 8, 2020 in Saint Petersburg, RUSSIA. He was born in Moscow to the family of a chemist, professor Vladimir A. Nemilov at the Moscow State University, but most of his life was associated with Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), where he began his scientific career (as a student) within the walls of the chemistry department of Saint Petersburg State University.
In 1961 Prof. Nemilov became a postgraduate student at the S.I. Vavilov State Optical Institute where, under the supervision of Prof. Rudolf L. Muller, he carried out investigations that resulted in notable data, valuable for the development of a new type of optical material – the сhalcogenide glasses.
From 1964 to 2005 he worked his way up from a junior researcher to the chief researcher and head of laboratory at S.I. Vavilov State Optical Institute, where his experimental and theoretical activities in physical chemistry were targeted on founding basic relationships between properties of glassy and crystalline substances and their structure. He obtained his Candidate of Science degree in 1965 and became Doctor of Science in 1971 and full Professor – in 1988.
The range of his scientific interests was extremely wide and included the study of viscosity of inorganic glass-forming systems and their structure, molecular mechanism of viscous flow of glasses and glass-forming melts, the nature of interaction of radiation with glasses, the discovery and study of the photoviscous effect in glasses, theoretical aspects of relationship between elastic moduli and the energy of chemical interaction and parameters of interatomic potential in solids, experimental and theoretical studies of crystallization of glass-forming media and relaxation processes in glasses and melts, especially by combining high-temperature acoustic (ultrasonic) and optical (Mandelshtam-Brillouin) spectroscopies performed at the physical faculty of Saint Petersburg State University and the S.V. Vavilov State Optical Institute.
The opportunities for international cooperation that opened up for Russian scientists since the ’90s were fully used by Prof. S. Nemilov. He conducted some years of joint work with German scientists within the framework of Russian-German and EU projects. In 2002 he worked as a visiting researcher at McMaster University (Canada).
Among the more than 200 scientific works published by Prof. S. Nemilov (most of them have no co-authors), a special place is occupied by fundamental works on thermodynamics of the glassy state. In fact, he is one of its key creators (S. V. Nemilov, “Thermodynamic and Kinetic Aspects of the Vitreous State”, CRC, Boca Raton, FL, 1995). The value and relevance of this book can be judged by the fact that in 2018 its second edition was published in the United States.
Prof. S. Nemilov paid much attention to little-known pages of the history of science. Particularly, he published a paper about M.L. Frankenheim, a forgotten German scientist who worked in the first half of 19th century, and who gave the first definition of glassy state, which practically coincides with modern ideas about the structure of glasses.
Prof. S. Nemilov combined fruitful scientific work with the work of a lecturer. In 1965-1967 he taught at Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University (“Crystal chemistry of semiconductors”) and at Saint Petersburg State University (“Chemical kinetics and catalysis”).
In 2005, he took the position of professor at the Department of Optoinformation Technologies and Materials at Saint Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, where he combined his scientific work with teaching. At this time, he published two monographs in Russian, which were based on his lecture courses (“Scientific Foundations of Glass Materials Science”, 2018 and “Physical Chemistry of Glass” 2009).
Professor S. Nemilov was an exceptionally well educated and well-read person. He was interested in fine arts, architecture, classical music. He especially loved high baroque music – he had a large collection of discs with music by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Scarlatti, etc. – this was his hobby as well as photographing nature and architecture. In a word, Prof. S. Nemilov was one of those persons who it is customary in Russia to call an Intellectual.