Dmitry I. Ageikin

Dmitry I. Ageikin


Thursday, June 24, 1915

Passed away: 

Friday, January 6, 1984

Dmitry Ageikin, in full Dmitry Ivanovich Ageikin, was born in 1915 in Switzerland in a family of political exiles. His father, a peasant by birth, was engaged in revolutionary activities, was arrested and exiled, and escaped from the exile abroad. There, continuing his political activities among emigrants, he became an architect. His mother, a physician by education, also took part in revolutionary activities. In 1917, after the October Revolution, the family returned to Russia.

Ageikin’s pre-war years included studying at high and technical schools, working at the Dynamo plant (Moscow), and studying at the Moscow Electromechanical Institute of Railway Transportation Engineers (in off-work hours on evenings). In 1941, he graduated from the Institute; in October 1941, went to the front as a volunteer. He defended Moscow as a soldier and finished the War in Berlin (May 1945) as a senior sergeant. Ageikin was wounded and was awarded the Red Star Order and many medals.

In 1945, after his demobilization, Ageikin began working at the All-Union Research and Scientific Center of Chemical Machine-Building (Moscow) and became a correspondence postgraduate of the Institute of Automation and Remote Control, the USSR Academy of Sciences (nowadays Institute of Control Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences). In 1948, he joined the Institute and stayed there until the end of his life.

In fact, Ageikin’s creative and multifaceted activities were realized at the Institute: over 35 years of his work, particularly the organization and supervision of the Laboratory of Automatic Monitoring. Here, he defended his candidate’s and doctoral dissertations, received a professorship, and was awarded the USSR State Prize. Ageikin brought up many students to the Institute, nowadays Candidates and Doctors of Sciences.

Ageikin’s activities influenced the most important trends in instrumentation during the last three decades. His research works represent three interrelated lines: sensors, automatic monitoring systems, and the man in monitoring systems.

Ageikin designed sensors throughout his life. In the early 1950s, he focused on developing new principles of sensors based on the magnetic properties of substances. As a result, an original thermo-magnetic oxygen gas analyzer was created. Such gas analyzers were serially produced by the industry. In particular, rotary furnaces of cement plants in the USSR were equipped with them. Moreover, an automatic stabilization system of the furnace thermal mode was developed with a significant economic effect due to the reduced fuel consumption.

Besides the gas analyzer mentioned above, original schemes of magneto-mechanical gas analyzers of industrial gases were designed; the general properties of sensors responding to variable magnetic properties of the environment were considered. Ageikin described all these results and devices in his monograph Magnitnye gazoanalizatory (Magnetic Gas Analyzers), Moscow: Gosenergoizdat, 1963.

Ageikin devoted many years to developing and analyzing frequency sensors based on the principle of elastic element oscillations and studying new classes of sensors using transients in sensitive elements. For example, consider a humidity sensor with the differential-power conversion method presented by him at the 8th IMECO Congress (1979). In the sensor, the transient response was obtained by scanning the sensor’s power operation mode. It played a special role in constructing new intelligent substance analyzers with a sensor and a microprocessor for measuring data.

Using those and other ideas, Ageikin designed about 50 new original sensors, instruments, and monitoring devices protected by copyright certificates and patents of the world’s leading countries. His authority among instrument makers was great: in 1967, Ageikin was appointed to supervise R&D works on a new series of unified shipboard sensors. Subsequently, those works were awarded the USSR State Prize.

In the field of sensors, Ageikin’s final outcome was the handbook Datchiki sistem avtomaticheskogo kontrolya i regulirovaniya (Sensors of Automatic Monitoring and Control Systems), an encyclopedia well known to date to every instrument maker. Coauthored by E.I. Kostina and N.N. Kuznetsova, it was published twice, in 1959 and 1965. This handbook is unique and still has no analogs in Russia.

Ageikin began studying automatic monitoring systems in the mid-1950s. He supervised the development of several applied systems of this class. He was interested in the interaction between sensors and a computer, and a computer and an operator. Considering this interaction, he proposed a new look at constructing automatic monitoring systems and new methods for their development. Those ideas were published by Ageikin in the 1950s—1960s. However, they found merely partial application in real systems. Many of them are still innovative. For example, sporadic control methods were proposed and implemented. These methods consist in a fundamentally different form of sensor operation: operation by request. The active monitoring systems developed by Ageikin perform a basic task: forecast the object’s state and analyze its proximity to emergencies using the entire set of measurable quantities. Note that state forecasting systems have found practical application in recent years.

Many Ageikin’s R&D works were devoted to methods, techniques, and devices for presenting information to the operator in automatic monitoring systems. He was the first to stress the importance of considering human operator’s properties for monitoring equipment and tried to connect design works on measuring data display panels with the requirements and recommendations of engineering psychology. New information display devices were created, and the concept of hierarchical information display in complex monitoring systems was proposed. In addition, semantic information display principles were developed to monitor the object’s state faster and easier for the operator. As a result, Ageikin and his team introduced a methodology for building measuring data display systems considering the object’s properties, a given set of its control functions, and the psychological features of human perception of the information. This methodology was successfully implemented in several systems developed under Ageikin’s supervision. The results described above were the prerequisite for the third line of his R&D activities.

In the 1970s, Ageikin’s Laboratory began actively studying the man in monitoring systems. The issues under consideration included professional selection, training, functional state assessment, and analysis of operators’ activities.

The list of Ageikin’s activities would be far from complete without mentioning his public and scientific-organizational work in the instrumentation industry. He was an active member of the editorial boards of three peer-reviewed journals, the High Attestation Commission (HAC), chairman and member of several councils on instrumentation, technical means of automation, measuring information systems, transducers, member of several academic councils, and lecturer of universities.

Ageikin consulted instrumentation enterprises of the USSR. His tremendous erudition, deep understanding of scientific and technical problems in instrumentation, and the highest sense of responsibility for his decisions were crucial.

Ageikin’s rare traits contributed to his popularity among the employees of instrumentation enterprises. Among them, note exceptional activity, lively interest in people, charm, kindness, and unselfish desire to share his knowledge, experience, and ideas. Ageikin was not a politician: he said what he thought straightly and honestly. With such a communication style, he did not avoid conflicts. However, the majority of those who addressed Ageikin, appreciated this trait: everybody needed his sharp but so useful criticism and his benevolent advice.

Ageikin’s main monographs are as follows:

  1. Effektivnost’ vnedreniya EVM na predpriyatii (The Effectiveness of Adopting Electronic Computers on an Enterprise), Moscow: Finansy i Statistika, 1981. — 152 p. (coauthors E.L. Itskovich, Yu.L. Klokov, V.N. Livshits, and A.I. Prigozhin);
  2. Datchiki kontrolya i regulirovaniya (Sensors for Monitoring and Control), 2nd ed., Moscow: Mashinostroenie, 1965. — 928 p. (coauthors E.N. Kostina and N.N. Kuznetsova);
  3. Magnitnye gazoanalizatory (Magnetic Gas Analyzers), Moscow: Gosenergoizdat, 1963. — 216 p.;
  4. Datchiki sistem avtomaticheskogo kontrolya i regulirovaniya (Sensors of Automatic Monitoring and Control Systems), Moscow: Mashgiz, 1959. — 579 p. (coauthors E.N. Kostina and N.N. Kuznetsova);
  5. Rukovodstvo po proektirovaniyu elementov i sistem avtomatiki (Manual on Designing Automation Elements and Systems), Moscow: Oborongiz, 1959. — 248 p. (coauthors M.A. Balashov, S.P. Kolosov, V.I. Nefedova, and E.M. Reshetnikov).

Ageikin received 8 patents for inventions (gas analyzers, a linear gas-discharge indicator, methods for determining the concentration of gases and liquids and the quantity of seawater drops, and a corona discharge hygrometer).