Leading Semiconductor Physicist Killed In Ukraine Fighting

Physicist Vasyl Petrovych Kladko. Image credit: NASU ukraine

Leading semiconductor physicist Vasyl Kladko dies amidst Russian incursion in Kyiv area, as science agency warns institutes under military attack

A leading semiconductor physicist has died amidst the conflict in Ukraine, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU) said.

Vasyl Petrovych Kladko was best known for his work on using high-resolution X-ray diffraction to locate defects in semiconductors.

The process is particularly important as computer chips grow smaller and more complex.

Kladko died on Sunday, 13 March in Vorzel, a north-western suburb of Kiev, when Russian troops entered the area, according to NASU.

National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Presidium. Image credit: NASU
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Presidium. Image credit: NASU

Semiconductor physics

He was helping his wife and grandchildren evacuate the area at the time. Kladko’s wife and grandchildren were already gone but Kladko himself was still there when Russian troops arrived.

“What happened next and why – other than to destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians – is unknown,” the academy said in a statement.

The body called Kladko, who was 65, “a remarkable experimental physicist”.

He was a professor and long-standing departmental head and deputy director of the V.E. Lashkaryov Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

He was a laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine in the field of science and technology and of the V.E. Lashkaryov prize of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, and a corresponding member of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.


The now-defunct Soviet Union named Kladko an “Inventor of the Soviet Union” in 1986, the year he received his doctorate.

“With his death, Ukrainian and world science have lost a person of significance in solid-state physics,” NASU said.

Earlier this month, in a statement published in the journal Nature, NASU president Anatoly Zagorodny wrote that many of the academy’s 150 research institutions were under military attack.

“One unit seriously at risk is the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology’s flagship nuclear facility, which is used for nuclear-physics and materials-science research and to create medical isotopes,” he wrote.

He said it was difficult for Ukrainian researchers to continue out their work due to “the continual explosions and howl of air-raid sirens”.

Ukraine halted neon production in early March, raising fears that the move could contribute to an existing global shortage in semiconductor production.