In 1971, about a year after the founding of the Department of Polymer Physics of the Ural Scientific Center of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Laboratory of Physical Hydrodynamics (Lab No 4) was organized. Vladimir Briskman was the founder and first Head of the Laboratory. In those days, the laboratory activity was focused on the study of convection and convective stability.
In the period from 1972 to 1986, the Laboratory was headed by Igor Kirko, the full member of Latvian Academy of Sciences. The scope of the topics was significantly extended. Research is mainly focused on applied and fundamental magnetic hydrodynamics. The filial branch of the Laboratory was organized and worked successfully at the Berezniki titanium magnesium complex. The laboratory pursued both fundamental and applied research dealing with the study of MHD-phenomena in the sodium circuit of the BN-600 reactor built at the Beloyarsk nuclear power station. In that time the laboratory split into separate research groups:
– laboratory of hydrodynamic stability (headed by V.A. Briskman),
– theoretical group (headed by prof. M. Shliomis),
– design bureau.
In 1986, the Laboratory was reorganized with the establishment of the Department of Magnetic Dynamics (headed by I.M. Kirko) of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Valeriy Zimin, doctor of sciences took charge of the Laboratory. Since that time, the research effort of the Laboratory was concentrated on the study of developed turbulence including convective and magnetohydrodynamic ones.
A lot of work was concentrated on design a hierarchical (multilevel) model of developed turbulence, which in essence was a model of turbulent fields in wavelet spaces, although the term “wavelet” as well as the corresponding mathematical apparatus came into existence approximately ten years later. The Laboratory carried out intensive investigations to examine the generation of large-scale structures in turbulent fluxes, in particular, those in which the emphasis was on exploring and modeling the processes of hurricane generation (V.D. Zimin – scientific leader of two expeditions in the tropical Pacific (1988, 1989).
Since 1992, the Laboratory has been headed by professor Peter Frick. Lab research interests lying in numerical and experimental modeling of developed turbulence and in studying large-scale structure generation remain unchanged. This period has also been marked by the appearance of a new research direction concerning astrophysical MHD. The Laboratory has pioneered the use of wavelet analysis for processing the observation data obtained during the study of the magnetic fields of the Earth, the Sun, stars and galaxies.