Leonid M. Lytvynenko




The Editorial Board of ‘Radio Physics and Radio Astronomy’ is mourning the passing on February 27, 2023 of the journal’s founder and Editor-in-Chief Leonid Mycholayovych Lytvynenko (aged 84). An outstanding scientist in the fields of radio physics and radio astronomy, Director Emeritus of the Institute of Radio Astronomy within the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine; Fellow Member of the NASU; PhD; DSc (Phys-Math), Professor L.M. Lytvynenko was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1938. In 1959 he graduated from the State University of Kharkiv (Department of Radio Physics) and started his professional career at the Design Bureau Elektroprylad (currently JSC Hartron), holding positions from еngineer (1959) to Head of a research laboratory (1969). At the same time he pursued a correspondence course of post-graduate studies (under the guidance of Prof. V.P.Shestopalov), which allowed him to present and defend in 1965 a CandSci (PhD) thesis. Over the period of 1966 to 1969 he was a part-time instructor and lecturer at the Kharkiv Institute of Radioelectronics. In 1969 Dr Lytvynenko was invited to join the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics (IRE) of NAS of Ukraine, in the capacity of Head of a research department. A few years later (in 1973) he was nominated to the position of Deputy Director for Research.

The principal scientific interests of Dr Lytvynenko were at that time centered on essential theoretical questions concerning periodic slow wave structures, diffraction gratings and non-uniform inclusions in waveguides, as well as problems of super-high frequency oscillators and numerical techniques for radio physical investigations in the SHF range. The first-class scientific results obtained by LML at that time were highly valued by the relevant professional community over the world. He pioneered radio physical research in a new direction, currently known as theory of electromagnetic wave diffraction and propagation in composite and multi-layered periodic structures; also, suggested a ‘successive improvements’ technique for solving second-kind operator equations, and developed the concept of applying the operator of reflection from a semi-infinite plane to problems of wave diffraction by multi-layered periodic structures. The effects that were identified and analyzed for the case of electromagnetic wave diffraction by movable gratings are widely used nowadays in heterodyne-type optical modulators. The year 1972 was marked by Dr Lytvynenko’s presentation of his second (higher level) doctoral dissertation.

L.M. Lytvynenko dedicated a sizable share of his work in science to managerial activity. Following the initiative of Academician S.J. Braude, it proved possible in 1980 to organize an independent structural unit within the IRE, named the Sector (later, Division) of Radio Astronomy, with L.M. Lytvynenko at the head. Over the five years of its development (1980 to 1985), scientists of the Division obtained many new results of importance, both in the fundamental and applied areas like decameter radio astronomy; astrophysics; radio wave propagation through the terrestrial atmosphere and the near space; development of new mathematical approaches to diffraction problems in electrodynamics; creation of radar and radiometer-based systems for remote sensing of the environment at millimeter wavelengths, and radio receivers and amplifiers of unique sensitivity intended for radio astronomy investigations.
These obvious achievements of the team and the prospects for further research work in the Division prompted acceptance by the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the Resolution dated November 29, 1985, and then appearance of the Decree by the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR as for establishment, in the structure of the Academy, of an Institute of Radio Astronomy - seen as the leading radio astronomical organization in Ukraine. L.M. Lytvynenko became the first Director of the new Institute (abbreviated as RIAN and, later, RINAN) who stayed at the head of the organization for more than thirty years. Over that period, the Institute has gained international acknowledgment as a reputed center of research in radio astronomy. Since 2017 Dr Lytvynenko has held the status of Director Emeritus.

The scientific results obtained by L.M. Lytvynenko have been shared with the professional community via 300+ publications, including 13 monographs and 12 certificates of invention. In 1982 LML was elected a Correspondent Member of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and in 1992 he became a Full Member of the National Academy. In recognition of his scientific achievements, Leonid M. Lytvynenko was awarded with the State Prize of the Ukrainian SSR in the field of Science and Technology (1987); the S.J. Braude Prize of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (2008), and the M.M. Bogolyubov Prize of the National Academy (2020). In recognition of LML’s contribution to the development of science, he was awarded with the Order of Znak Pocheta (the Badge of Honor) in 1986; Order of Merit, 3rd class (2008) and Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, 5 th class (2016). Since 1997 Leonid Lytvynenko has held the status of an Honored Worker of Science and Technology. He was a winner of the national contest ‘Person of the Year-2006’, recognized as a laureate in the’Scientist of the Year’nomination. Following the decision taken by the International Astronomical Union in 2006, the minor planet 2000NА25 bears the name of Litvinenko. In 2013 Leonid Mycholayovych Lytvynenko was granted the title of Honorary Citizen of the Kharkiv Oblast (Region).

Through a sizable period of time in mid-2000s LML was organizing and actively supporting all sorts of cooperation with European research organizations, like the Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) or Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT), as well as with research centers and individual laboratories of the United States, Great Britain, France, Austria, Sweden, India, Germany, Norway, P.R.C., Republic of Korea, Turkey, Pakistan, etc. He initiated several of RINAN’s research programs in the Antarctic and Arctic regions and was a direct personal participant in some of the polar expeditions.

The questions of Dr Lytvynenko’s special attention have always been education of young specialists and training programs for qualified researchers. Over years, LML practiced lecturing to students of the Radio Physical department at the Vasily Karazin National University of Kharkiv. He was a supervisor of about twenty CandSci and DSci dissertations. Many of his former disciples have become leading scientists and/or lecturers. Also, L.M. Lytvy-nenko has been a holder of several honorary academic titles granted by the University of Kharkiv, specifically that of a Distinguished Professor (as of 2002) and Doctor Honoris Causa (2012). The National Academy of Sciences honored him with the special award ‘For training next-generation scientists’.

L.M. Lytvynenko was a member of the Ukrainian National Committee on State Prizes in the field of Science and Technology; member of the Scientific Council on Space Research of the NAS of Ukraine; member of the International Astronomical Union; the European Astronomical Society (EAS); the Scientific and Technical Council ‘Antarctica’ within the Ministry for Science and Education; the Scientific and Technical Council of the Space Agency of Ukraine; Honorary member of the IEEE; Chair Person of the expert Commission for Astronomy in the High Attestation Commission; member of the governing Bureau of the Physics and Astronomy department, NAS of Ukraine; Head of the Scientific Council for Astronomy, NAS, and a founder of the Ukrainian Chapter of URSI.

In 1996 S.J. Braude and L.M. Lytvynenko initiated start of the journal ‘Radio Physics and Radio Astronomy’ where Leonid Mycholayovych has since been a constant Editor-in-Chief.
Many of LML’s colleague physicists keep thankful memories of the episodes where unusual, creative solutions to their problems were born in the course of discussions with him – owing to his erudition. He always demonstrated natural softness and benign attitude, restraint and benevolence in communication and at the same time expressed his own, original view on the problem. He could speak ardently in support of promising scientific ideas presented by his colleagues and expressed sincere joy when seeing their success.

Leonid Mykolayovych Lytvynenko had dedicated his life to faithfully serving Science. He has greatly enriched the Ukrainian and international radio physics and radio astronomy, and leaves behind many disciples and followers, and a significant creative legacy.

We offer sincere and deep condolences to friends, colleagues and loved ones of the deceased who will be sorely missed. This loss is irretrievable.

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Division X Radio Astronomy (2000-2003)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 40 Radio Astronomy (2000-2003)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 40 Radio Astronomy (1997-2000)
  • Past Member of Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science (until 2023)
  • Past Member of Division J Galaxies and Cosmology (until 2023)
  • Past Member of Commission 40 Radio Astronomy (1997-2015)
  • Past Member of Division X Radio Astronomy (until 2012)

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