The Top-Secret Life of Lev Landau; August 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Gorelik; 6 Page(s)
The theories of Lev Davidovich Landau built the backbone of 20th-century condensed- matter physics. They described superfluidity, tenets of superconductivity, and diverse corners of astrophysics, particle physics and many other disciplines. To this day, Landau levels, Landau diamagnetism, Landau spectrum, Landau-Ginzburg theory and other Landau discoveries remain essential tools. His texts taught generations of scientists: the library at Harvard University contains four times as many titles by this Soviet physicist as by the renowned American physicist Richard Feynman.
For his achievements, Landau won the Nobel Prize in 1962. His admirers saw him as an ivory tower theorist-- bold, impudent and charming but detached from the humdrum of everyday existence. They ignored two political aspects of his life: his year in Joseph Stalin¿s prisons in the late 1930s and his contributions to the dictator¿s nuclear bomb a decade later.