February 27, 2024
Lev Landau

Lev Landau: The famous Soviet physicist

Lev Landau was one of the most highly acclaimed Soviet physicists. Born January 22, 1908, in Moscow and died April 1, 1968. Landau spent his life studying atomic physics, quantum theory, and statistical mechanics; in particular, he was known for his work on liquid helium and superfluidity.”

About Lev Landau

Lev Landau was born in Moscow on January 22, 1908. He studied physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) under P.G. Kapitza, graduating in 1930. From 1930 to 1941 he worked under Kapitza as a Ph.D. student, writing his dissertation on “Theory of conduction of liquid helium.” In 1941 Landau moved to Leningrad where he became Head of the Laboratory for High-Temperature Physics and the Institute of Physics and a professor in 1946.

Life of Landau

His birth

Lev Landau was born in Moscow on January 22, 1908, into a Jewish family. His father, Lev Samuilovich Landau (1888-1962), was an actor in a traveling theater company and his mother, Klaudia Shubovskaya (1888-1964), was a teacher of French.

His study

In 1903 his mother moved to Moscow to attend the State University at Moscow University where she studied philosophy and literature. She then taught at various schools before marrying Lev Landau in 1916. His maternal grandfather Pinyus Shubovski had been a prominent architect and his maternal grandmother died when he was young.

His personal life

Landau was a devout Marxist and an atheist. He met his first wife, the physicist K. T. Drobanzeva, in 1931. They marry in 1933 and had a son.


Landau worked under the supervision of P. G. Kapitza, the leading Soviet expert, on the theory of superfluidity and superconductivity of strongly interacting Fermi liquid from 1933 to 1939. He prove that a Fermi liquid that has a normal state cannot be create unless it is in thermal equilibrium. Landau moved to Leningrad in 1941 and remained there until his death, although he was offered a professorship at Kharkov University and later moved to Kharkov for 3 years (1943-1945) when Leningrad was occupied by Germans. In Kharkov he chaired the Physical Department of the National University and started an independent group working mainly on superconductivity problems.

Institute for Physical Problems

In 1945 Landau, at the age of 37, was appoint director of the new Institute for Physical Problems which he established in Moscow. The institute is still one of the leading institutes in its field and many future Nobel laureates and distinguished scientists have passed through its doors.

Lev Landau

Landau’s scientific research was quite varied. His early work as a student under Kapitza was on the theory of superconductivity, superfluidity, and related matters involving strongly interacting Fermi systems. At Kharkov he worked mainly on problems related to superconductivity and to some extent superfluidity of Fermi liquids.


In the case of superconductivity, Landau proved in the 1930s that a Fermi liquid could exist in two very different states. One state it would be identical to a normal Fermi liquid; in the other, it would be identical to superfluid helium. Landau’s results were obtain for Fermi liquids with a critical temperature (Tc) of about -135°C. Which was later extend to higher temperatures.

In 1939 he discovered that theory could also be used to describe superfluidity of normal liquids, along with its relation to superconductivity and possible applications in new types of experiments.


He wrote more than 400 papers on physics and mathematics, including a book called “The Theory of Superconductivity” in 1950. Landau was involve in the design and construction of two Institutes for Theoretical Physics in Moscow and Kharkov. He is also known for his popular science articles write in the 1930s and 1940s. A collection of his popular science articles and books entitled “Selected Works on Fundamental Problems of Physics” have been published as well as a biography by Vitaly Ginzburg.

The Course of Theoretical Physics

Landau created his own theory of superfluidity, which he called Bose-Einstein condensation. Therefore, this was a breakthrough and inspired other scientists to continue research in this field. Ginzburg and Landau received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1962 for their work on superfluidity.

Landau’s contributions to physical chemistry were also noteworthy, especially his application of general methods of quantum field theory to the statistical mechanics of molecules and fluids. In 1947, in the USSR, Landau advocated “nuclear consonance.

Scientific achievements

Landau was elect a full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1944. Therefore, in 1947, he received the Soviet Demidov Prize, and in 1952. Therefore, Landau was award the Stalin Prize. He also gets a Nobel prize.

Death and legacy

In 1968 Lev Landau died suddenly after returning from the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen where he had attended a conference. Therefore, he is inter at Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow. However, his wife died on July 20, 1994.

Landau’s contributions to science are not limit to physics. He also made a substantial contribution to chemistry and biology (he published works on photo acids and other photochemical reactions). As well as, many believe that his contributions were equal to Niels Bohr’s for physics.

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