Yuri Orlov

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Yury Orlov (born August 13,1924) is a prominent nuclear physicist, a former Soviet dissident, and a human rights activist.

During his childhood, in the 1930s, Orlov witnessed the destruction of his home village by Stalinist collectivisation in the USSR.

After WWII he worked at the Moscow Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, from which he was fired in 1956 for his human rights activism. He was sent into "soft exile" in Armenia, where in the early 1970s he led Particle accelerator projects at the Yerevan Physics Institute.

Upon his return to Moscow in 1973 he worked at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism and Dissemination of Radio Waves, whilst at the same time publicly supporting Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

In 1976, to the further displeasure of the authorities, he founded the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group to monitor Soviet adherence to the 1975 Helsinki human rights accords. Arrested in 1977, Orlov was incarcerated in the Siberian Gulag for almost ten years. He was freed in 1986, only to be stripped of his Soviet citizenship and deported to the United States as a part of the exchange for a Soviet spy.

Since December 1986 Orlov has pursued his physics research at Cornell University.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Orlov studies particle accelerator design, beam interaction analysis and quantum mechanics. He has authored numerous research papers, articles on human rights, and an autobiography, Dangerous Thoughts (1991).

In 1995 the American Physical Society awarded him the Nicholson Medal for Humanitarian Service.

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