The General Physics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1982 by Nobel Prize winner Academician A. M. Prokhorov, who headed it till 1998.
The Institute's original basis was Division "A" of the Lebedev Physical Institute. Division "A" included Laboratory of Oscillations, Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Monocrystals Department. These units determined the new institute's structure and goals. Laboratory of Oscillations had been founded in 1934. It was headed by the most eminent and world-renowned scientists: Academician N. D. Papaleksi (1934 to 1947), Academician M. A. Leontovich (1947 to 1954), and Academician A. M. Prokhorov (1954 to 1998).
The Institute was named after Academician A.M. Prokhorov in 2002. Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Ivan Aleksandrovich Shcherbakov headed GPI from 1998 to 2018. Currently, he is the scientific director of the Prokhorov General Physics Institute. Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Vladimirovich Garnov heads the Institute from 2018 to the present.