

Russian physicist. He studied a the
Moscow Institute of Physics and
Technology, where he majored in
physical engineering. Subsequently,
Patashinski pursued graduate studies in
high energy physics at the Institute
for Theoretical and Experimental
Physics, under guidance from Lev
Landau. Patashinski defended his thesis
in 1963. Following Landau’s lead,
Patashinski and his collaborators
labored to
explain quasiclassical scattering in
three dimensions. They investigated how
mean field theory breaks down near the
point of a phase transition. In 1963
and ‘64, with Valery Pokrovsky,
Patashinskii, demonstrated that to
describe a phase transition one needs
the full set of correlation functions
(in later terms, that there is no
sorting procedure by which to isolate a
main contribution to a partition
function from FeynmanMatsubara
diagrams), because all graphs are of
the same order and therefore all must
be added together. They claimed a
selfsimilarity of fluctuations at
different scales. This result
constituted a violation of the
thermodynamic theory of fluctuations.
Their complicated arguments were met
with immediate opposition from Alexei
Abrikosov, and others. They had also
tried to calculate critical exponents
("indices"). Their first scaling
solution would be correct in
supersymmetric theories but not in
normal field theory. In 1964 they also
conjectured that a phase transition in
a superconductor is equivalent to that
of a Bosefluid. In 1965, Patashinskii
and Pokrovsky presented
phenomenological connections between
correlation functions and scaling
exponents. They identified analogies
between field theory and the
description of phase transitions,
trying to ascertain anomalous
dimensions. They clearly stated that
certain correlation functions are scale
invariant. Like Kadanoff and Benjamin
Widom, independently, Pokrovsky and
Patashinskii generalized the theory of
scaling though leaving critical indices
undetermined. In 1968 Patashinski
defended his Doctorate’s dissertation
on scaling. He subsequently worked on
the theory of turbulence and other
subjects.
Alexander Z. Patashinski is Research
Professor at the Materials Research
Center of Northwestern University, in
Evanston, Illinois. He was a longtime
senior staff member at the Budker
Nuclear Physics Institute in
Novosibirsk.
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