Electronic copies of all books and journal papers presented on this website are available for free download, copying, and re-distribution, according to the copyright agreement printed in Page 2 of each the book or the jounal. This copyright agreement follows the Budapest Open Initiative and the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License declaring that electronic copies of such books and journals should always be accessed for reading, download, and copying for any person, and free of charge.

Send all comments or requests to Ludmila P. Petrova, the copyright holder of A. I. Fet's legacy and the website maintainer.

E-mail: aifet@academ.org

  


The Symmetry Group of the Chemical Elements

by A. I. Fet

The book is currently under preparation

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The book presents a group description of chemical elements considered as states of a quantum system. Atoms are imaged as elements of a vector space which is a representation space of an irreducible unitary representation of some symmetry group. The elements are carried into each other by operators acting in this group. The approach fundamentally differs from the traditional application of group theory to atomic physics which implies that a symmetry group carries into each other different exited states of the same atom. Besides, heavy particles (hadrons), following the model proposed independently by Gell-Mann and Néeman, are described in this book as presentations of unitary groups. The considered symmetry has to do with the atom as a whole rather than with its electron shells only. The main attention is paid to the origins and the meaning of the concepts. Group methods are introduced if necessary and are always illustrated with relevant physical material.

Instinct and Social Behaviour

by A. I. Fet

The book is currently under preparation

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Instinct and Social Behavior (2005) is the main work authored by Abraham I. Fet, where he investigated the history of culture in terms of ethology, with the aim to "reveal the impact of the social instinct on the human society, to describe the conditions frustrating its manifestations and to explain the effects of various attempts to suppress this invincible instinct". That was his discovery and first study of a social instinct unique to humans, which he called "the instinct of intraspecific solidarity". With comprehensive historic examples, he has convincingly demonstrated how the morals and love for our neighbors originated from tribal solidarity within a minor kindred group and how the mark of kinship spread progressively to ever larger communities, as far as the entire mankind.

Papers on physics and mathematics published in English

by A. I. Fet

Comprehensive list of the scientific papers published by A. I. Fet in not only English but also in Russian is accessed from the Russian page of this website

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1. Variational Problems on Closed Manifolds. American Math. Society Translation № 90, 1 January 1953, 61 pages.

2. A periodic problem in the calculus of variations. Soviet Mathematics Doklady, 1965, vol. 169, № 2, pages 85-88.

3. Conformal group and chemical affinity. JETP Letters, 1974, vol. 20, issue 1, 24-26.

4. Group theoretical classification of chemical elements. I. Physical foundations. Preprint of Inst. of Experim. and Theor. Physics, Moscow, 1976 (commonly with V. M. Byakov, Y. I. Kulakov, and Y. B. Rumer).

5. Group theoretical classification of chemical elements. II. Description of applied group. Preprint of Inst. of Experim. and Theor. Physics, Moscow, 1976 (commonly with V. M. Byakov, Y. I. Kulakov, and Y. B. Rumer).

6. Group theoretical classification of chemical elements. III. Comparison with the experiment. Preprint of Inst. of Experim. and Theor. Physics, Moscow, 1976 (commonly with V. M. Byakov, Y. I. Kulakov, and Y. B. Rumer).

7. The Madelung numbers and the System of Chemical Elements. Proceeding of the International Seminar, Zvenigorod, 1979. Vol. 1, Moscow, Nauka, 1979, pages 327-336.

8. The System of Elements from the group-theoretic viewpoint. Preprint of Inst. of Inorganic Chemistry, Syberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences, 1979, № 1, 45 pages.

9. The System of Elements from the group-theoretic viewpoint. In: Periodic Systems and their Relations to the Systematic Analysis of Molecular Data, The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY, 1989, pp. 41-86.


A. I. Fet
Abraham I. Fet

Abraham Ilyich Fet (1924-2007) belonged to a particular "species of human" that is becoming extinct today: he could be rather a man of Renaissance in late Medieval Italy or Enlightenment in France in the 18th century, or a bright representative of intelligentsia in Russia of the 19th century.

A. Fet got his basic university education in mathematics and submitted a brilliant candidate (PhD) thesis at Moscow University being barely 24 years old. The mathematical results of his doctoral (DSc) thesis, presented later at the same University, still remain unsurpassed. He mainly published papers in mathematics, but he was also enrolled to research in physics that he started in collaboration with Yuriy B. Rumer, the famous Russian theoretical physicist. The results of their joint work were published in two co-authored books Theory of Unitary Symmetry (1970) and Group Theory and Quantum Fields (1977). Then there followed Symmetry Group of Chemical Elements, a book written by Fet alone, which presented a new physical perspective of the System of Chemical Elements and has become classics.

His research interests, however, were not limited to mathematics and physics. He remarkably explored many sciences and humanities, among which biology, economics, history, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and even literature, music, and arts. Moreover, being an encyclopedic scientist, he was not just an "erudite": with his powerful intellect, he built up a solid worldview from seemingly dispersed lines of knowledge.

First and utmost, Abraham Fet was a thinker, and his thinking was a blend of intellect, passion and concern. His major concern was about the fate of Mankind; he felt himself an active and responsible protagonist rather than being an observer "heeding to good and evil with equanimity, knowing neither pity nor ire".

A. Fet thought a lot on the human society, on the biological and cultural nature of man, on religious beliefs and ideals, and on the social mission of the intelligentsia, which he saw primarily in enlightening. He summarized his ideas in numerous essays and several books: Pythagoras and the Ape (1987), Letters from Russia (1989-1991), Delusions of Capitalism, or the Fatal Conceit of Professor Hayek (1996), and finally Instinct and Social Behavior (2005). The latter became his main work, where he investigated the history of culture in terms of ethology, with the aim to "reveal the impact of the social instinct on the human society, to describe the conditions frustrating its manifestations and to explain the effects of various attempts to suppress this invincible instinct". That was his discovery and first study of a social instinct unique to humans, which he called "the instinct of intraspecific solidarity". With comprehensive historic examples, he has convincingly demonstrated how the morals and love for our neighbors originated from tribal solidarity within a minor kindred group and how the mark of kinship spread progressively to ever larger communities, as far as the entire mankind.

Two previously published books, together with a wealth of unpublished manuscripts, are now coming to the public with his Collected Works in seven volumes. (This publicaiton is jet just in Russian; an English volunteer translator is wanted. Ask Ludmila Petrova aifet@academ.org, for detail.)

With his excellent command of seven European languages, Abraham Fet not only had an extremely broad range of reading but also chose some important books and translated them for his friends and broad public. It was especially valuable in the conditions of harsh censorship in the Soviet times, when many books, for instance on psychology, were forbidden. Thus he translated Eric Berne, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, Gregory Bateson, and many others. Being himself fascinated with the works of Konrad Lorenz, Fet was the first to introduce Lorenz's main books to the Russian readers. Namely, he translated Das sogennannte Böse ("The So-Called Evil"), Die acht Todsünden der zivilisierten Menschheit ("Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins"), Die Rückseite des Spiegels ("Behind the Mirror"), which were then published twice in post-Soviet Russia.

Abraham Fet was an ardent opponent to tyranny. Although being more a thinker than an active public person, he signed the "Letter of 46" in spring 1968 in defence of imprisoned dissidents. That lost him his job, both at the research institute and the university, and left him unemployed for years, to survive from occasional earns. Another reason of his dismissal, though, besides the very fact of signing the letter, was rather his spirit of independence and straight speaking. He called things the way he saw them, were they professional or personal characteristics of his fellows, or intrigues of functionaries or the privileges in science. A moral maximalist, Abraham Fet despised those who "lived as the others do" and called this lifestyle "the life of insects".

Beginning with the mid-1970s, Fet closely followed the events which took place in Poland. He perceived the revolt of 1980-1981 as the start of collapse of the so-called socialist camp. His book The Polish Revolution written in the wake of the events was anonymously published in 1985 in Munich and London. He not only provided deep review of the Polish events but also disclosed their historic prerequisites, demonstrated the outstanding role of the Polish intellectuals and foretold the further historic paths of the country.

Making retrospective of Fet's life and works, we can definitely put his name along with the most outstanding scientists and thinkers of the 20th century. He was among those who rarely get recognition during their lifetime. Rather than being in line with the "spirit of epoch", his ideas were against the mainstream. However, these are the ideas that are worth the most as they blaze truly trails to the science of the future and appeal to the future Mankind. Let his memory live for ever!

A. V. Gladky, L. P. Petrova, R. G. Khlebopros

Original PDF copy of this biographic article published in Progress in Physics, vol.11, issue 3, (2015) can be downloaded from here.