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Lev Davidovich Landau

From Academic Kids

Lev Davidovich Landau (Ле́в Дави́дович Ланда́у) (January 22, 1908April 1, 1968) was a prominent Soviet physicist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics whose broad field of work included the theory of superconductivity and superfluidity, quantum electrodynamics, nuclear physics and particle physics. He developed the theory of second order phase transitions. Among many physical effects named after Landau are Landau pole and Landau damping.

Landau was born into a Jewish family in Baku, Russian Empire (now Baky, Azerbaijan).

Lev was a prodigy in mathematics when he was a child. In fact his achievements at school were such that by the age of thirteen he had completed his secondary schooling and had the qualifications to enter university. His parents did not like the idea that he should begin his university studies a such a young age, and this was almost certainly a wise decision on their part. Lev was sent to Baku Economic Technical School for a year to delay his entry to university studies.

Landau was still only fourteen years old when he entered Baku University (later called the Kirov Azerbaijan State University) in 1922 and by this time he was already enthusiastic about mathematics, physics and chemistry. There he studied physics in the department of Mathematics and Physics but he also studied chemistry and, although he did not carry his studies of this topic any further through his university education, it remained one of his life-long interests. In 1924, after two years at Baku University, he moved to the Leningrad State University, graduating in 1927. In fact his first publication appeared in print in the year he graduated, being a paper on quantum theory. He continued research at the Leningrad Physico- Technical Institute.

In 1929 Landau set off on eighteen months foreign travel, visiting Germany, Switzerland, Holland, England, Belgium,


Since 1932, Landau headed the Department of Theory of the Ukrainian Physical and Technical Institute in Kharkov (now Ukraine). In 1937 he became head of the Department of Theory of the Institute for Physical Problems in Moscow. He was also a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

He was arrested in 1938, during the Great Purge, but released one year later. He suffered a major car accident in 1962 which precluded him from further scientific activities.1

In 1965, his research laboratory was transformed into what is now known as Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He was a Nobel Laureate in Physics for the year 1962 for his pioneering theories of condensed matter, especially liquid helium. He is also admired for a prolific series of textbooks on theoretical physics, co-authored with E. M. Lifshitz, Course in Theoretical Physics, 10 volumes, as well as science books for high school and earlier grades.

He died in Moscow in 1968 and was interred there in Novodevichy Cemetery.

Books about Landau

  • Note 1: Dorozynski, Alexander (1965). The Man They Wouldn't Let Die. (After Landau's 1962 car accident, the physics community around him rallied to attempt to save his life. They managed to prolong his life until 1968.)

External links

es:Lev Davidovich Landau fr:Lev Landau it:Lev Davidovich Landau ja:レフ・ダヴィドヴィッチ・ランダウ pl:Lew Landau pt:Lev Davidovich Landau ru:Ландау, Лев Давидович zh:列夫·朗道

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