smirnov alexeiА. Ю. Смирнов is a neutrino physics researcher and one of the discoverers of the MSW Effect.


Alexei Smirnov graduated from MSU Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University in 1974. In 1977, he began to work at the Institute for Nuclear Research (INR) of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, where he received his Candidate of Sciences degree in 1979. In 1989, he received a degree of Doctor of Physical and Mathematical sciences. He also taught at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University in the period from 1982 to 1990.

Smirnov joined the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy in 1992 as a staff-associate while continuing his affiliation with INR (Moscow) as a leading research scientist. He became a staff member with ICTP in 1997 and presently holds the position of principal research scientist.

Scientific activity

The main area of Smirnov's research is neutrino physics and astrophysics. In 1984—1985, following earlier work by Lincoln Wolfenstein, Smirnov, together with Stanislav Mikheyev, uncovered effects of resonance enhancement of neutrino oscillations in matter and the adiabatic conversion in non-uniform media known now as the Mikheyev-Smirnov-Wolfenstein effect (MSW effect). Solutions to the solar neutrino problem based on the MSW effect have been proposed. The effects were also applied to supernova neutrinos and neutrinos of various origins propagating in the Earth.

In the following years Smirnov and his colleagues developed a number of aspects of theory and phenomenology of neutrino conversion in various media. Currently Smirnov is working on implications of the obtained neutrino results for fundamental physics (quark-lepton complementarity, unification, etc.) as well as on future programs of studies in neutrino physics.