The Ioffe Institute is one of Russia’s largest institutions for research in physics and technology with a wide variety of operating projects. It was founded in 1918 and run for several decades by Abram F. Ioffe. So it is quite natural that the Institute bears the name of this outstanding scholar and organizer.
Abram Fedorovich Ioffe, an outstanding Russian physicist who founded and headed for many years one of the major physical schools of the former USSR.
Having graduated from St Petersburg Technological Institute in 1902, Ioffe gained experience in the famous W. Roentgen laboratory at Munich and in 1906 returned to St Petersburg to continue his research activity at St Petersburg Polytechnical Institute (now St Petersburg Technical University).
It was there that his famous scientific school was established. The leading representatives of this school formed the core of the State Institute for Roentgenology and Radiology, one of the first research centres of Russia, established by A. F. Ioffe in 1918. In three years, the Physico-Technical Department of this Institute separated to become the Physico-Technical Institute, headed by Ioffe until 1950. At present, the Physico-Technical Institute bears his name.
It is difficult to overestimate Ioffe's contribution to the organization of a network of physical institutes in the former USSR (more than 20 institutes have originated from the Physico-Technical Institute) and to the development of a new educational system. In 1919 Ioffe established in the Polytechnical Institute a Physico-Mechanical Department for teaching students not only pure but applied physics too. For many decades this Department has been functioning in close contact with the Physico-Technical Institute.
The main scientific achievements of Ioffe relate to crystal physics (electrical, photoelectrical and mechanical properties) and X-ray structural analysis. As far back as the beginning of the 1930s, Ioffe settled on studies of semiconductors. This field has become one of the leading directions of research at the Ioffe Institute.