Cherenkov radiation (also spelled Čerenkov) is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium. The charged particles polarize the molecules of that medium, which then turn back rapidly to their ground state, emitting radiation in the process. The characteristic blue glow of nuclear reactors is due to Cherenkov radiation. It is named after Russian scientist Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov, the 1958 Nobel Prize winner who was the first to detect it experimentally. A theory of this effect was later developed within the framework of Einstein's special relativity theory by Igor Tamm and Ilya Frank, who also shared the Nobel Prize. Cherenkov radiation is sometimes considered to have been predicted by the English polymath Oliver Heaviside in papers published in 1888–1889, although Heaviside's prediction considered particles hypothetically moving faster than light in vacuum
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