The town is 120 m above sea level, situated approximately 125 km north of Moscow, on the Volga River, just downstream the Ivankovo Reservoir. The reservoir is formed by a hydroelectric dam across the Volga situated within the town limits. The town is located on both banks of the Volga, and the dam serves as the only bridge. The western boundary of the town is defined by the Moscow Canal joining the Volga, while the eastern boundary is defined by Dubna River joining the Volga.
Dubna is the northernmost town of Moscow Oblast.
The public transport connections to Moscow include express trains, suburban trains and bus shuttles which depart from the Savyolovsky Rail Terminal.
The decision to build a proton accelerator for nuclear research was taken by the Soviet government in 1946. An impracticable place where the current town is situated was chosen due to remoteness from Moscow and the presence of the Ivankovo power plant nearby. The scientific leader was Igor Kurchatov. The general supervisor of the project including construction of a settlement, a road and a railway connecting it to Moscow (largerly involving penal labour of Gulag inmates) was the NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria. After three years of intensive work, the accelerator was commissioned on December 13, 1949.
The town of Dubna was officially inaugurated in 1956, together with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), which has developed into a large international research laboratory involved mainly in particle physics, heavy ion physics, synthesis of transuranium elements, and radiobiology. In 1960 a town of Ivankovo situated on the opposite (left) bank of the Volga was merged into Dubna.
Outstanding physicists of the 20th century including Nikolay Bogolyubov, Georgy Flyorov, Vladimir Veksler, Bruno Pontecorvo used to work at the institute. A number of elementary particles and heavy nuclei (including the 118th element) were discovered and investigated there. In recognition of this, the name of the chemical element 105, Dubnium, is derived from the town's name. In 1964 Dubna hosted the prestigious International Conference on High Energy Physics.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, JINR and MKB Raduga were the main employers in the town. Since then their role has decreased significantly. Several small industrial enterprises have emerged, however the town still experiences some employment difficulties. Proximity to Moscow allows many to commute and work there. Plans by AFK Sistema and other investors including government structures have been announced to build a Russian analogue silicon valley in Dubna. As of beginning of 2007, nothing has commenced.
In addition to a number of world-known scientists, the following people can be noted: