Main achievements

In 1964 Igor Novikov and A. Doroshkevich published a paper where they predicted that the intensity of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB, relict of the Hot Universe at the beginning of the Big Bang) is much higher than the intensity of all other sources of radiation in the Universe, in the centimeter and the millimeter bands. In this publication, Novikov and Doroshkevich predicted that this radiation can be discovered, and they also indicated what instrument should be used to do so. CMB was discovered in 1965 using the radio telescope mentioned in the paper.

In 1965 Novikov (with Doroshkevich and Zeldovich) demonstrated that the collapse of a non–symmetrical, (possibly rotating) body of arbitrary shape, produces a black hole, which very rapidly becomes axially symmetrical. During the formation of the black hole any deviation from such a symmetry must be carried away by the gravitational waves. Novikov, Doroshkevich and Zeldovich proved that the gravitational field of an uncharged black hole is completely determined by just two parameters: its mass and its angular momentum.

In 1966 Novikov and Ya. Zeldovich predicted that black holes (and neutron stars) could act as extremely powerful sources of X–ray radiation because of the physical processes in their vicinity. Such emission occurs when the matter from an ordinary star located quite close to a black hole (in a binary system) is accelerated in the gravitational field of the black hole. This X–ray emission makes black hole visible. A few years after this prediction, first black holes of stellar mass (components of the binary stellar systems) were discovered because of their X–ray emission.

In 1964 (just after quasars were discovered) Novikov and Zeldovich conjectured that the main engine of a quasar is a super massive black hole located in the center, with gas accretion onto it. On the basis of observational data on 3C273, they gave estimates of such a central mass; for that they hypothesized that the radiation pressure balances out gravity. It turned out that the central mass is approximately a hundred millions solar masses.

In 1972 Novikov (with K. Thorne) worked out the theory of relativistic gas accretion onto a black hole. This theory forms a basis of the astrophysics of black holes. Since then, Novikov worked out a modern theory of disk accretion.

In 1964 Novikov was the first to point out that general relativity permits the existence of white holes; and later (1975–1976) Novikov with Starobinsky and Zeldovich discovered and elucidated the instability of white holes against quantum effects, which presumably (along with a classical instability discovered by Douh Eardley), has prevented any white holes that formed in the Big Bang from surviving into the present era.

Some of Novikov's important research projects are devoted to the internal structure of black holes. The Kerr metric, which describes a spinning black hole, possesses a "Cauchy Horizon" in its interiors, through which, in principle, one could pass and enter another universe. Novikov (with Starobinsky) gave the first evidence that (in accordance with an early conjecture by Penrose) this Cauchy Horizon is unstable against both classical and quantum perturbations. Such instability leads to formation of a true singularity (1980).

Novikov and Zeldovich in 1966 worked out a theory of origin of primordial black holes.

In 1967 Novikov worked out one of the theories of the origin of galaxies from the small primordial perturbations in the expanding Universe. In the subsequent years he actively worked on the development of this theory.

During recent years Igor Novikov obtained interesting results in the numerical approach to the theory of collisions of black holes. Now he is working on the theory of wormholes. Over many years, Novikov's research on anisotropy of CMB in various cosmological models (with application to the observations from space and ground based telescopes) have also had much impact.

I.Novikov is involved in the ESA PLANCK Mission project, which is a project devoted to measurements of the CMB anisotropy. He became a member of the Plank Scientific Evaluation Committee in 1998. The task of this Committee was to evaluate and select instruments and data processing centers for the PLANCK mission. I.Novikov is one of the coordinators of the project. I. Novikov is involved in the international space projects RADIOASTRON and MILLIMETRON.

I.Novikov has taught and supervised dozens and dozens of students of all levels.

He is a member of many boards of international astrophysical and physical journals. Igor Novikov also taught the general public about cosmology and astrophysics. His numerous popular lectures and books, which have been translated into 13 languages, have had a great impact on cosmology matters around the world.