He was born in St. Petersburg, and by 1928 he had graduated from the Leningrad State University. In 1931he began working at the Pulkovo Observatory, located to the south of Leningrad. He was considered to be one of the most promising astrophysicists in Russia. Kozyrev was a victim of the Stalinist purges of the Pulkovo Observatory. Started by the accusations of a disgruntled graduate student, most of the observatory staff died as a result. Kozyrev was arrested in November 1936 and sentenced to 10 years for counterrevolutionary activity. In 1942, he was sentenced to be shot by firing squad, but the court later reversed its decision. He was released from prison in December 1946.
During his imprisonment, Kozyrev attempted to continue working on purely theoretical physics. He considered the problem of the energy source of stars and formulated a theory. But in his isolation, he was unaware of the discovery of atomic energy. After his release, Kozyrev refused to believe the theory that stars are powered by atomic fusion.
Kozyrev was a bold thinker and was respected by prominent scientists of his time (Arkady Kuzmin, Vasily Moroz, and Iosef Shklovsky all speak highly of him), even though his work was often of a very doubtful nature. Among these theories was the claim that the polar caps of Mars were purely atmospheric cloud formations, rather than ice-covered ground.
He is most noted for his observation of the transient lunar phenomenon in Alphonsus crater on the Moon. In 1958 he observed a patch of white within the crater, and a spectrum of the area appeared to reveal an emission cloud of carbon particles. Transient lunar phenomenon had long recorded what appeared to be temporary emissions on the lunar surface, and Kozyrev's observation appeared to provide confirmation that the Moon was volcanically active.
In 1953, Kozyrev attempted to analyze the phenomenon of Ashen light, a nocternal air glow on Venus whose existence remains controversial to this day. He also made the earliest photometric measurements of the visible and ultraviolet spectrum of Venus. His calculation of the thermal balance of Venus disputed the popular theory that the clouds of Venus consisted of dust. Kozyrev argued that energy absorbed in the upper atmosphere created high altitude storms, but at the surface of Venus it would dimly lit and still. This work had an impact on the theory of Venus and Nobel Lauriate Harold Urey devoted a paper to the analysis and implications of it.
Kozyrev believed that the white poles of Mars were caused by cloud formations in the atmosphere, not ice on the surface. This proved to be incorrect.
Due to his experiments and publications (Causal Mechanics/Theory of Time) he became one of the most controversial figures in the history of the Russian scientific community. In the 1930s, Kozyrev was considered the most promising new astrophysicist in Russia, but his arrest and long imprisonment destroyed his career during what is usually the most creative period of a scientist's life. Isolated from all news and publications, he pondered the source of internal heat in stars ad planets, but was unaware of the discoveries being made in quantum mechanics and atomic energy. After his release, he struggled to recover his place in science, but his own theories were out of step with the current physics by that time.
The dispute over Kozoyrev's causal-mechanics theory spilled into Pravda in 1959, with criticism by some of the Soviet Union's leading physicists, including Igor Tamm. In January of 1960, the Soviet Academy of Sciences and Bureau of Physico-Mathematical Sciences appointed a commission to resolve the dispute. The nine men were assigned to investigate the theory, experimental evidence, and the special issue of planetary asymmetry which Kozyrev claimed was evidence of a gyro-gravitational "latitude effect". Their findings were:
1. The theory is not based on accepted clearly formulated axiomatics, its conclusions are not developed by sufficiently strict logical or mathematical methods.
2. The quality and accuracy of conducted laboratory experiments do not allow drawing of specific conclusions about the nature of the effect.
3. Checking the asymmetric form of major planets by measuring their photographs, it was not found in Saturn. For Jupiter they arrived at the conclusion that the apparent asymmetry was the result of the asymmetric arrangement of bands on its disks but was not a geometrical asymmetry of the planet. [see: Selected Works]
The following astronomical features are named for him:
- N.A.Kozyrev, On the Nightglow of Venus, Izvestiya Krymskoi Astrofizicheskoi Observatorii, Vol 12
- N.A.Kozyrev, Molecular Absorption in the Violet Part of the Spectrum of Venus Krymskoi Astrofizicheskoi Observatorii, Vol 12
- N.A.Kozyrev, Selected Works, published by Leningrad State Univ., 1991. 488 p.
- N.A.Kozyrev, V.V.Nasonov, On some properties of time, discovered by astronomical observations, in Problemy issledovaniya vselennoi, 1980, (Russian lang.)
- N.A.Kozyrev, Possibility of experimental study of properties of time, Pulkovo, September 1967 (txt available)
- N.A.Kozyrev, Sources of Stellar Energy and the Theory of the Internal Constitution of Stars, In: Progress in Physics, 2005, v.3, 61-99.
Publications with reference to Kozyrev's work
- Margerison Dr. T., Causal Mechanics - The Russian Scientific Dispute, New Scientists, London, Nov 26, 1959
- Akimov, A.E., Shipov, G. I., Torsion fields and their experimental manifestations, 1996 (html available)
- Mishin, Alexander M., The Ether Model as Result of the New Empirical Conception, International Academy of MegaSciences, St. Petersburg, Russia (html available)
- Levich, A.P., A Substantial Interpretation of N.A. Kozyrev’s Conception of Time. Singapore, New Jersey, London, Hong Kong: World Scientific, 1996, p. 1-42.
- A.E.Akimov, G.U.Kovalchuk, V.G.Medvedev, V.K.Oleinik, A.F.Pugach, The preliminary results of astronomical observations of the sky with N.A.Kozyrev's method, Chief astronomical observatory of Ukraine Acad.of Sciences, Kiev, 1992
- Ostrander, S. and Schroeder, L., Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1970.
- Hellmann, A., Aspekte der Zeit- und Äthertheorie, 2006, ()
- Nikolai Aleksandrovich Kozyrev: Selected Works online copy of the book (in Russian)
- The breakthroughs of Russian astrophysicist Dr. Nikolai A. Kozyrev (1908-1983) by David Wilcock
- Kozyrev Observations of Lunar Crater Alphonsus, 1959
- Possibility of Experimental Study of Properties of Time Seminal paper in txt format