The Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was established in 1929. In 1921, the Physical Research Laboratory was organized under the Kyiv Provincial Education, which in 1922 was transformed into the Kyiv Research Department of Physics at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. On January 1, 1929, the Department of Physics was reorganized into the Research Institute of Physics of the People's Commissariat for Education of the Ukrainian SSR, which from 1932 was subordinated to the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and in 1936 was renamed the Institute of Physics of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. The organizer and first director of the institute was O.G. Goldman, elected in 1929 as an academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences at the Department of Physics.

At the time of the Institute's organization, its staff consisted of 20 employees, including 6 researchers and 10 graduate students. With a few number of equipment and a small staff, in the first years of its existence the Institute focused its activities on the advanced training of young researchers, search and formation of research topics. This work was quite successful. The postgraduate studies of the Department of Physics and the Institute in the first years of its existence were completed by such well-known scientists as academicians of the USSR Academy of Sciences V.Ye. Lashkarev, S.I.Pekar, M.V. Pasichnyk, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences V.P. Lynnyk, corresponding member N.D.Morgulis, P.G.Borzyak, Doctors of Sciences M.D.Gabovych, O.G.Myselyuk (Director of the Institute in 1938-1941) and others.

By 1938, the Institute organized three main areas of research:

  • Semiconductor Physics (supervisor O.G. Goldman, since 1939 –V.Ye.Lashkarev)
  • Physics of electronic and electrovacuum processes (supervisor – N.D.Morgulis)
  • X-ray metal physics (supervisor - Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences S.D.Herzriken).

Before the war, in 1941, the Institute had 122 employees, including 36 researchers (5 doctors and 10 candidates of science), 7 graduate students and 15 research and support staff. The Institute had a large experimental and production workshop, which had highly qualified personnel and appropriate equipment. The institute had its own printed publication - "Ukrainian Physical Notes", which were published from 1929 to 1936.

During the war, the Institute of Physics was evacuated to Ufa. The management of the Institute was replenished with the staff of the Ukrainian Institute of Physics and Technology (Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences O.I.Leipunsky, director of the Institute from 1943 to 1949, Professor G.D.Latyshev). The work of physicists at this time was aimed at meeting the needs of the defense industry (communications industry, aircraft engine industry, oil industry, chemical engineering, etc.).

In the postwar years, the Institute was quickly rebuilt, in 1953 new laboratory, industrial and residential buildings were put into operation on Nauki Avenue, near the picturesque Holosiivsky Forest.

The main architect was A.V. Dobrovolsky

New directions appeared in the work of the Institute - research in nuclear physics (O.I. Leipunsky, then M.V.Pasichnyk), crystal physics (acad. of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine A.F.Prykhotko), theoretical physics (acad. O.S.Davidov, S.I.Pekar). An electrostatic generator was created in 1947, a cyclotron laboratory was put into operation in 1956, and on February 12, 1960, a nuclear reactor was launched at the Institute of Physics.

The successful implementation of scientific research in the postwar years and the growth of their scale created the conditions under which further development required organizational and structural changes. In 1945, the Laboratory of Metal Physics was established in the system of the USSR Academy of Sciences (in 1955 it was transformed into the Institute of Metal Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences), which included the Department of Diffusion Processes of the Institute of Physics. In 1960, in order to develop scientific research in the physics of semiconductor devices and their application on the basis of the Department of Semiconductors of the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Semiconductors of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the NAS of Ukraine) was established. In 1966, the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the USSR Academy of Sciences was established on the basis of the Department of Elementary Particles and other theoretical departments of the Institute. Several departments of this profile became the basis of the Institute of Nuclear Research of the USSR Academy of Sciences, established in 1970. The Institute of Applied Optics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was established in 1995 on the basis of the Department of Optical Quantum Electronics.

The consequence of such organizational changes was the transition of a large number of major scientists to the newly established institutes of the Academy of Sciences. However, this did not lead to a decrease in the scientific level of work at the Institute of Physics itself. Along with the traditional areas of research for the Institute (crystal physics, physical electronics) in the 60's, work was carried out in the fields of quantum electronics and holography, nonlinear optics, pyroelectric radiation receivers and others. The formation and development of the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine took place thanks to the active creative work of major scientists who worked at the Institute at different times. As already mentioned, the first director of the Institute was Acad. O.G. Goldman. Later, the directors of the Institute were O.G.Miselyuk (1938-1941), G.V.Pfeiffer (1941-1944), O.I.Leipunsky (1944-1949), M.V.Pasichnyk (1949-1965), A.F.Prikhotko (1965-1970), M.T. Starling (1970-1987), M.S. Brodin (1987-2000), I.O.Soloshenko (2006-2007), L.P.Yatsenko (2007-2018), and since 2018 the position of director of the Institute is held by M.V.Bondar.

Well-known physicists worked at the Institute: O.S.Davidov, P.G.Borzyak, V.L. Broude, M.F. Deigen, V.E. Dyachenko, V.V. Eremenko, G.D. Latyshev, V.E.Lashkaryov, A.F.Lubchenko, N.D.Morgulis, O.F.Nemets, S.I.Pekar, O.G.Sytenko, O.V.Snitko, K.B.Tolpigo, O.O. Kharkevich.

Scientists of the Institute have made a significant, and in some cases decisive contribution to the development of many areas of modern physical science. Their fundamental research is well known in many fields of nuclear physics and semiconductor physics, solid and liquid crystal physics, physical and quantum electronics, and plasma physics. The importance of the scientific achievements of the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is evidenced by the fact that it has the largest number of officially registered scientific discoveries in the country - six.

In 1949 N.D.Morgulis and P.M.Marchuk experimentally discovered the phenomenon of thermoemission conversion of thermal energy into electricity.

In 1965 the discovery of "the phenomenon of cold electron emission during the passage of current through the island metal layers" was registered. Its authors are P.G.Borzyak, O.G.Sarbey and R.D. Fedorovich.

In 1966 the discovery of "the phenomenon of splitting of nondegenerate molecular terms in crystals having two or more molecules in a unit cell" ("David's splitting") was registered. The author of the discovery is Academician O.S Davydov. The discovery predicted the appearance of multiple bands in the absorption spectra, the number of which coincides with the number of molecules in the crystal cell, which was experimentally confirmed in the department of Academician A.F.Prykhotko and in many other physical laboratories.

The discovery also recognized "The phenomenon of ambiguity of the anisotropy of the properties of semiconductor crystals due to the peculiarities of their band structure".It is manifested in the instability of the homogeneous distribution of the electric field in the crystal and in the appearance of layers with electric fields of different magnitude and direction.The author of the discovery is O.G.Sarbey. S.I.Pekar, working at the institute, predicted "the phenomenon of propagation of additional light waves in crystals", which also found experimental confirmation in the laboratories of the institute and was recognized as a discovery. Here he created the theory of polarons.

The scientific discovery of E.Y.Rashba made in the IOP of the USSR Academy of Sciences is also registered in the USSR State Register. It explains the nature of the giant increase in the intensities of transitions to impurity cleaved levels (Rashba effect).

The staff of the Institute has published more than 120 monographs, which relate to all scientific areas developed at the Institute, many of these monographs have become classics.

For outstanding scientific achievements, scientists of the institute were awarded the Lenin Prize, four State Prizes of the USSR and 18 State Prizes of Ukraine, as well as prizes of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and international prizes. Metal cryostats, bolometers and electrotopograph used in space research, cryosurgical instruments, lasers, and pyroreceivers should be noted among the institute's developments that have been implemented. In particular, for the needs of more than fifty industrial enterprises of the USSR, the research production of the institute produced high-sensitivity FESS photocells based on silver sulfide until the beginning of the 1970s.

For many decades, the Institute has had close business relations with leading universities in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. At different times, professors of TarasShevchenkoNationalUniversityofKyiv were O.S.Davidov, V.E.Dyachenko, V.Ye. Lashkarev, N.D.Morgulis, V.I.Lyashenko, O.F.Nemets, M.V. Pasichnyk, S.I.Pekar, O.G.Sitenko, К.B. Tolpigo. And today professors and teachers of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, NationalUniversityof "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" and many other universities of the capital are leading scientists of the Institute. They have created new departments, lectures are given, and postgraduate students are supervised.

For great successes in the development of physical science and training of highly qualified scientific personnel, the Institute of Physics in 1979 was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

Considering the historical role of the staff of the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in the development of science and technology in Ukraine, as well as the uniqueness of the main building of the Institute as one of the best examples of the architectural heritage of Ukraine in the post-war period, and the monumental painting of its dome, made in encaustic technique by the Honored Art Worker of Ukraine, member correspondent of the Academy of Fine Arts M.A. Storozhenok, in 1998. The Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is recognized as a monument of architecture, history and art, protection number 297.