A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Yuri Tumanov: A lens on physics and its enthusiasts

08/01/07

His photographs show scientists and experiments, large physics facilities and tiny devices, enthusiastic crowds of conference participants and lone researchers absorbed in thought. For almost half a century, the world has seen in his images the exciting moments and events of research into the most mysterious aspects of matter.

Profile: Yuri Tumanov
 

Yuri Tumanov
(Click image for larger version)
Photos courtesy of Yuri Tumanov

A lens on physics and its enthusiasts
His photographs show scientists and experiments, large physics facilities and tiny devices, enthusiastic crowds of conference participants and lone researchers absorbed in thought. For almost half a century, the world has seen in his images the exciting moments and events of research into the most mysterious aspects of matter.

Yuri Tumanov arrived in Dubna–a small academic town on the Volga River, 120 kilometers north of Moscow–in 1961 to work as a journalist at a local newspaper. A hydraulic engineer by education, he moved to Dubna's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in 1967, just after the international scientific center celebrated its fifth anniversary. In his 40 years as a lead photographer for JINR, Tumanov has popularized the institute's multiple strands of fundamental and applied research throughout the world.

In February, Tumanov celebrated an important milestone: He turned 75. To mark the occasion he has published a book of photographs, Scientific Dubna–Through the Lenses of Tumanov's Camera. And for his long-standing, dedicated service to science and journalism, he has been awarded the Medal of the Order "For the Services for the Motherland"–the state prize of Russia.

Yuri Tumanov
Yuri Tumanov
(Click images for
larger version)

Tumanov is a talented professional with his own unique methods and techniques. The JINR director, Professor A. Sissakian, once said that the world can see science through the lenses of Tumanov's camera. Many scientists were surprised to see how he worked at the beginning of his career. Yuri Oganessian, the scientific leader of the JINR laboratory of nuclear reactions, says, "I remember our first meeting, when he came to take a photograph of our accelerator U-300. I showed to him the machine and explained what to photo. But Yuri watched me…and didn't move. Then he started asking questions about physics and we had a long discussion of the experiment. Still he didn't take a photo. Later I learned that he spent all day at the site taking pictures after I had left."

When Robert Wilson, the late founding director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., saw Tumanov's photos of joint JINR-Batavia experiments with a gaseous jet target, he said, "Your photographs showed me that besides scientific ideas there are people in the experiment who are straight-out enthusiasts. This is very important to me. You can't do anything without it."

In his long career, Tumanov has become adept at all types of photography, including modern digital methods; but his special devotion has always been black-and-white photography. He is a real master of it, regarding it as most expressive and challenging.

Everybody who works at JINR knows Yuri, as he is still most active in his job. You may find him in his photo laboratory at any time of day or night–and he is full of new plans for the future.

Boris Starchenko

Yuri Tumanov Yuri Tumanov
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