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Irina Rakobolskaya
Irina Rakobolskaya early 1940's.jpg
Native name Ири́на Вячесла́вовна Ракобо́льская
Born December 22, 1919
Dankov, Russian SFSR
Died September 22, 2016
Moscow, Russian Federation
Occupation Physicist
Spouse(s) Dmitry Pavlovich Linde
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Irina Vyatscheslavovna Rakobolskaya (Russian: Ири́на Вячесла́вовна Ракобо́льская) was a member of the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment who later became its chief of staff during the war. After the war she worked as a physicist at Moscow State University and studied cosmic rays. She received numerous high state awards in her career and was awarded the title Honored Scientist of the Russian SFSR. She wrote a book with Natalya Kravtsova titled We Were Called Night Witches about their experiences in the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, as their nickname given by their German opponents, Nachthexen, meant "night witches".[1][2]

Early lifeEdit

Rakobolskaya was born in 1919 in the city of Dankov to a family of physics teachers. After graduating secondary school in 1938 she enrolled in the Moscow state university school of physics.[3]

Military careerEdit

Rakobolskaya joined the military in October 1941 after the start of the Second World War, leaving in her fourth year at the university; seventeen other students from the university also joined the 588th Night Bomber Regiment and trained at the Engels Military Aviation School. After finishing training in 1942 she was appointed as the regiment's chief of staff and participated in various military operations throughout the war.[4][5][6]

Later life and contributions to scienceEdit

In 1946 she was demobilized from the military and finished her fourth year at the university and graduated in 1949, after defending her thesis on muons, developed under the guidance of Georgiy Zatsepin and Vladimir Veksler.[7]

From 1950 to 1963 she worked as a class assistant, and from 1963 to 1977 as an assistant professor. In 1977 she became a professor in the Department of Cosmic Rays at the Physics Department of Moscow State University.[3]

In 1968, in conjunction with Georgiy Zatsepin, Rakobolskaya dedicated a laboratory to the study of cosmic radiation at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Moscow State University and was in charge of it until 1991. In 1968, she ordered the installation of X-ray emulsion chambers at a depth of 60 meters below ground in the Moscow Metro for research of the zenith angular distribution of muons. Based on the results from the research, an unusual phenomenon was investigated — coplanar expansion of secondary particles; the energy threshold and dependence of the phenomenon were established.[3]

Since 1971 she was the Deputy Head of the Department of Cosmic Rays and Space Physics at MSU and taught courses on cosmic rays and nuclear physics.[3]

In 1962 she defended her thesis for as a candidate for a degree in physical and mathematical sciences and in 1975 defended her thesis for her doctorate of physical and mathematical sciences on the topic generation of high energy muons in cosmic rays. She published over 300 works, including a textbook on nuclear physics.[3]

Throughout her career she educated over 80,000 students, was the chairman of the MSU women's union, and served on the Academic Council of the MSU, the Scientific Council of the Physics Department, and the Scientific Council on Cosmic Rays at the Russian Academy of Sciences. After retiring she continued to give lectures and teach occasionally. Her son Andrei Linde became a theoretical physicist and her other son Nikolay Linde became a psychologist. She passed away on 22 September 2016 and was buried next to her husband in Novodevichy Cemetery.[3]





  1. "ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА --[ Мемуары -- Ракобольская И., Кравцова Н. Нас называли ночными ведьмами"]. 
  2. "ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА (Мемуары) Ракобольская И., Кравцова Н. Нас называли ночными ведьмами". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 "Ирина Вячеславовна Ракобольская (К 50-летию научно-педагогической работы в МГУ)". 
  4. "Ракобольская Ирина". 
  5. Виноградова, Любовь (2015-03-30) (in ru). Защищая Родину. Летчицы Великой Отечественной. Азбука-Аттикус. ISBN 9785389099005. 
  6. "Нас называли "Дунькин полк", а немцы - "ночными ведьмами"" (in ru). Известия. 2011-06-21. 
  7. "Ракобольская Ирина Вячеславовна | Центр военно-политических исследований" (in ru). 
  8. "Ракобольская Ирина Вячеславовна, Орден Красного Знамени". 
  9. "Ракобольская Ирина Вячеславовна, Орден Отечественной войны I степени (April 1944)". 
  10. "Ракобольская Ирина Вячеславовна, Орден Отечественной войны II степени (Feb. 1945)". 
  11. "Jubilee card index". 
  12. "Ракобольская Ирина Вячеславовна, Орден Красной Звезды". 

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