Lev Landau

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Leningrad State University

Stalin Prize (1946)

Lev Davidovich Landau (Russian language: Ле́в Дави́дович Ланда́у; January 22 [O.S. January 9] 1908 – April 1, 1968) was a prominent Soviet physicist of Jewish decent who made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. His accomplishments include the co-discovery of the density matrix method in quantum mechanics, the quantum mechanical theory of diamagnetism, the theory of superfluidity, the theory of second order phase transitions, the Ginzburg–Landau theory of superconductivity, the explanation of Landau damping in plasma physics, the Landau pole in quantum electrodynamics, and the two-component theory of neutrinos. In 1932 he proposed that every star has a condensed core consisting of “one gigantic nucleus” that does not behave in accord in with “the ordinary laws of quantum mechanics.” Later he modified this idea, suggesting that all stars have a neutron core that generates energy as nuclei and electrons condense onto it. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity that accounts for the properties of liquid helium II at a temperature below 2.17 K (−270.98 °C).

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