An outstanding scientist-optician and world-known inventor in
various fields of astronomic instrument-making. Doctor of Technical
Sciences (1941), Professor (1944), a corresponding member of the
Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946). Twice Laureate of the National
Prize of the USSR (1941, 1946).
Born in Odessa (1896) to a family of a seaman. Since childhood he was fond of astronomy; at 12-13 he made reflectors with diameters 180 and 210 mm and carried out serious astronomic observations. At 15 he was elected a member of the Russian Astronomic Society. He finished School for Military Engineers in Petersburg (1914). In 1920 he was invited to work at GOI. In 1921-1930 he continued to work in the field of astronomic optics in the Physical Institute of the University of Odessa, in 1930-1952 he headed the Laboratory of Astronomic Optics at GOI, from 1952 he worked as Deputy Head of the Department of the Central Astronomic Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Pulkovo).
The most important invention - meniscus telescopes (1941) made D.D. Maksutov a world-scale scientist. The Maksutov's Meniscus telescopes are built in all countries. The largest ones created at GOI have the diameter of the meniscus 500 mm for the observatory in Alma-Ata (1941) and 700 mm (the mirror diameter 980 mm) for the Abastumansk observatory (1954). At LOMO under the guidance of B.K. Ioannisiani the meniscus telescopes were created with diameter 2.6 m (1961) for the Crimea observatory and 6 m (1976) for the observatory in Zyelyenchuk (the Northern Caucasus). A considerable contribution was made by Maksutov in the investigation methods of the quality of mirrors. He had proposed a compensating method (1924) which was used for building a 2.6 m reflector named after G.A. Shain for the Crimea observatory (1932) and became, equally with a shadow method, the main control method of mirror study. The possibilities of shadow methods were also developed by Maksutov in an original way (1934) making them quantitative methods of the surface configuration (the slot-and-thread method) out of qualitative ones.
He created methods and instruments for high precision quality control of optical glass on its initial processing stage widely used in industry. Maksutov created a great many objectives, mirrors, lenses and prisms of various sizes and purposes, he was a first-class technologist and expert-optician. He was the first to develop the manufacturing technology and to create mirrors from metal which he considered to be of great importance; under his guidance at Pulkovo a powerful light-weight parabolic mirror with diameter 720 mm was manufactured (1950-1955). Maksutov managed the works on creating a model (mirror diameter 700 mm) of a big altazimuth telescope BTA (from 1952). He calculated a meniscus system of telescope for observations in the southern hemisphere with diameter of the meniscus 700 mm (the telescope is mounted in Chile), etc.
Side by side with astronomic optics D.D. Maksutov created the following: a photogastrograph - the instrument for photographing the stomach, a needle-microscope, shadow instruments for aerodynamic tunnels, telescopic spectacles and other instruments. His main scientific works are basic: "The minimal and maximal magnification of the telescope", "A singe-lens eye-piece without chromatic magnification difference" (1920-1930), "Anaberration reflecting surfaces and systems and the new testing methods " (1932), "Shadow methods of optical systems study" (1934), "New cadatrioptic optical systems" (1944), "Astronomic optics" (1946), "Manufacture and study of astronomic optics" (1948), "New methods of investigating the mirror shape of large telescopes" (1957), etc.
D.D. Maksutov was elected a Leningrad Soviet deputy (1962), he was twice awarded with Lenin Order (1945, 1958), Order "The Badge of Honour" (1943), many medals, including the "Grand Prix" at the World Exhibition in Brussels (1958) and a Big Gold Medal of the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy (1962).
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