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Lev Landau

(1908 - 1968)

Lev Davidovic Landau was born in Baku, Russia on January 22, 1908. Landau completed his school course at the age of 13. In 1922, Landau enrolled at the Physics Department of Leningrad University. After graduation, he began his scientific career working at the Leningrad Physico-Technical Institute. From 1932-1937, Landau headed the Theoretical Department of the Ukrainian Physico-Technical Institute in Kharkov (now Ukraine). In 1937, he became head of the Department of Theory of the Institute for Physical Problems in Moscow. In 1965, his research laboratory was transformed into what is now known as Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics.

In 1938, following P.L. Kapitsa’s discovery of the surperfluidity of liquid helium, Landau began researching and within a few years had devised the theory of the “quantum liquids” at low temperatures. From 1956 to 1958, he formulated the theory of the quantum liquids of the “Fermi type,” which includes helium.

In 1946, Landau was elected a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1951, he was elected member of the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and, in 1956, he became a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Sciences. In 1960, Landau was the recipient of the F. London Prize (United States) and the Max Planck Medal (West Germany).

In 1962, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering theories for 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, as well as science books for high school and earlier grades.

Lev Landau died on April 1, 1968.

Sources: Nobel Prize; Wikipedia