International Association of Seismology
and Physics of the Earth's Interior

Victor Kuksenko (1935 - 2015)

Professor Victor Stepanovich Kuksenko, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, passed away at the age of 79 on August 16, 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was an outstanding scientist who made valuable contributions into the physics of strength and suggested the model of earthquakes relying on the kinetic approach to the strength of solids.

Victor Stepanovich Kuksenko was born on November 4, 1935 in Stavropol region. In 1964 he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in St. Petersburg. From 1964 and till his death he worked at the Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. His scientific advisor was academician Serafim N. Zhurkov. In 1970 V. Kuksenko received his PhD in physics and in 1978 he received his Doctor of Science degree from the Ioffe Institute. His research focused on physics of polymers, mechanics of fracture of solids, earthquakes prediction, rock bursts, and dynamic fracture of large-scale objects. In 1988 V. Kuksenko was appointed Head of Laboratory of Physical Basis of Fracture Prediction, and later he became Head of Department for Physics of Strength.

Victor Kuksenko was one of the most prominent experts in the fields of physics of strength of heterogeneous solids and macrofracture prediction. His work was highly appreciated and widely recognized both by Russian and international scientific communities.

The scientific activity of V. Kuksenko can be divided into two stages, the research into fracture at the micro- and macrolevel, united by a common kinetic approach to this problem. While investigating the origin and evolution of submicron cracks in polymers under loading, he formulated the micromechanical model of crack evolution in polymers. These investigations were described in his book "Microdestruction of Polymeric Materials" which was translated into English and published in the USA.

V. Kuksenko successfully applied the data obtained in studies of microdestruction to the analysis of macrodestruction of heterogeneous materials (including rocks). He elaborated a two-stage model of rock fracture, including a primary chaotic crack accumulation followed by their localization, and also formulated the criterion for transition from cracks of one scale level to the next one. The research conducted in his laboratory resulted in the development of physical principles of macrofracture prediction and manufacture of instrumental complexes for prediction of destruction of large objects (pipelines, tunnels, etc.) as well as rock bursts in mines in real time.

V. Kuksenko conducted his research in close cooperation with a number of leading institutions in Russia and all over the world, such as Institute of Physics of the Earth RAS, the US Geophysical survey and the Seismological Bureau of China.

V. Kuksenko was one of the organizers of the International school-seminar "Physical and Forecasting Rock Destruction", which has been held on a regular basis since 1982.

Five doctoral and fifteen PhD dissertations were researched and defended under Professor V. Kuksenko’s scientific supervision.

He published over 180 papers and participated in many Russian and international conferences (England, Germany, the USA, Italy, Greece, Japan, etc.) with numerous reports (including plenary and invited lectures).

V. Kuksenko was a member of many scientific councils of the Russian Academy of Sciences and was an expert for the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and other councils.

Numerous researchers successfully continue to develop Victor Kuksenko’s ideas in solving one of the major fundamental problems in seismology, i.e., prediction of fracture of heterogeneous materials and also of large-scale industrial constructions and natural catastrophic events, such as earthquakes.

Victor Kuksenko was an inspiration to his colleagues and students. He was a talented person and a kind and supportive friend for many of us. His death is a great loss to all of us. Our thoughts are with his family.

Prof. Alexey Zavyalov, Head of Laboratory, Inst. of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow