Famous 20th Century Russian Scientists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Andre Geim

Andre Geim.
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 21, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia

Andre Geim is a Russian-born Dutch-British physicist. He has been associated with the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester for several years. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Konstantin Novoselov in recognition of his work on graphene. He is also a recipient of the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics. 

 2 Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin.
9
Famous As: Computer scientist
Birthdate: January 31, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kolomna, Russia
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 3 Lev Landau

Lev Landau.
4
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: January 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baku, Baku Governorate, Russian Empire
Died: April 1, 1968

Nobel Prize-winning Russian physicist Lev Landau is remembered for his pathbreaking research in quantum mechanics. A math prodigy, he had learned calculus at 13. He failed to receive his Nobel in person due to a near-fatal car crash which caused him injuries that eventually caused his death 6 years later.

 4 Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin.
20
Famous As: Computer scientist
Birthdate: August 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow
Google co-founder Sergey Brin also served as the president of Alphabet Inc. The seventh-richest person in the world as of 2020, Brin earlier dropped his PhD plans at Stanford, following which he and Larry Page launched Google in a garage. He is a devoted philanthropist and a Democratic Party donor.

 5 Anatoli Bugorski

Anatoli Bugorski.
4
Famous As: physicist, nuclear scientist
Birthdate: June 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer

 6 Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Sakharov.
4
Famous As: The Father of Soviet nuclear bomb’
Birthdate: May 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: December 14, 1989

Andrei Sakharov was a Russian dissident and nuclear physicist best remembered for designing RDS-37, Soviet Union's first two-stage hydrogen bomb. Also an activist for peace and human rights, Andrei Sakharov was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which is awarded by the European Parliament, is named in his honor.

 7 Boris Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky
4
Famous As: entrepreneur, mathematician, politician, economist
Birthdate: January 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: March 23, 2013

Russian business-tycoon, engineer, mathematician and government official Boris Berezovsky is counted among the famed Russian oligarchs who made their fortunes during the 1990s, when Russia was going through privatization of state property. He remained a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the latter’s election as president in 2000 and was granted political asylum by the UK in 2003.

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 8 Sergei Korolev

Sergei Korolev
6
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: January 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: January 14, 1966

 9 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.
4
Famous As: Russian-Soviet Rocket Scientist
Birthdate: September 17, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Izhevskoye, Ryazan Governorate
Died: September 19, 1935

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was a Russian rocket scientist. Credited with pioneering astronautic theory, Tsiolkovsky is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of astronautics and modern rocketry. His works served as an inspiration to several other Soviet rocket engineers like Valentin Glushko and Sergei Korolev. Hence, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's work played an influential role in the Soviet space program.

 10 Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov
6
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: October 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia
Died: February 27, 2015

 11 Vladimir Demikhov

Vladimir Demikhov.
3
Famous As: Organ Transplant Pioneer
Birthdate: July 18, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: November 22, 1998
While some called him a mad scientist, Vladimir Demikhov is now remembered as a pioneer of organ transplantation. The Soviet scientist coined the term transplantology and shocked the world by creating two-headed dogs, by attaching the head of one dog to the body of another. 

 12 Mikhail Botvinnik

Mikhail Botvinnik
3
Famous As: Chess player
Birthdate: August 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Repino, Russia
Died: May 5, 1995

Soviet chess player Mikhail Botvinnik was a three-time World Champion. At 14, he defeated the reigning world champion José Raúl Capablanca in an exhibition match. He was also a skilled computer engineer. He adopted a scientific approach to chess and penned several books on chess, too.

 13 Andrey Kolmogorov

Andrey Kolmogorov.
4
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: April 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tambov, Russia
Died: October 20, 1987

Russian mathematician Andrey Kolmogorov lost his mother at birth and was raised by his aunts. His talent in mathematics was discovered when he joined the Moscow State University to study history and math, while simultaneously studying metallurgy elsewhere. His greatest contribution to mathematics was in the field of probability theory.

 14 Nikolai Vavilov

Nikolai Vavilov
5
Famous As: botanist, biologist, explorer, geneticist, geographer
Birthdate: November 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: January 26, 1943

 15 Marina Oswald

Marina Oswald
4
Famous As: Pharmacist
Birthdate: July 17, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Severodvinsk Molotovsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

 16 George Gamow

George Gamow.
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 4, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Odessa
Died: August 19, 1968

Born to school teacher parents, Ukrainian-American physicist George Gamow grew up to be a pioneer of the big-bang theory. His other contributions include the liquid-drop model of atomic nuclei and his research on DNA. Apart from various science textbooks, he also wrote the popular Mr. Tompkins series of physics books.

 17 Vladimir Bukovsky

Vladimir Bukovsky
3
Famous As: Writer, Human rights activist
Birthdate: December 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belebey

Vladimir Bukovsky was a Russian-born British writer and human rights activist. An important member of the Soviet dissident movement, Bukovsky spent 12 years in prisons, psychiatric prison-hospitals, and labor camps of the Soviet Union. A neurophysiologist, Bukovsky is celebrated for his efforts to expose Soviet Union's political abuse of psychiatry. In 2001, he was awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.

 18 Sergei Winogradsky

Sergei Winogradsky
2
Famous As: Microbiologist
Birthdate: September 1, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: February 25, 1953

 19 Igor Kurchatov

Igor Kurchatov
3
Famous As: Nuclear physicist
Birthdate: January 12, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sim, Russia
Died: February 7, 1960

 20 Konstantin Novoselov

Konstantin Novoselov
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: August 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nizhny Tagil, Russia

Konstantin Novoselov is a Russian-British physicist, currently serving as a professor at the Centre for Advanced 2D Materials, National University of Singapore. He is the Langworthy Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester as well. Along with Andre Geim, he jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. 

 21 Alexander Friedmann

Alexander Friedmann
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: June 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: September 16, 1925

 22 Vladimir Arnold

Vladimir Arnold
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 12, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine
Died: June 3, 2010

 23 Alexander Abramov

Alexander Abramov
3
Famous As: entrepreneur
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Moscow

 24 Vladimir Voevodsky

Vladimir Voevodsky
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 30, 2017

 25 Zhores Ivanovich Alferov

Zhores Ivanovich Alferov.
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vitebsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union

Zhores Ivanovich Alferov was a Soviet and Russian academic and physicist whose work, which led to the formation of semiconductor heterostructures, earned him the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics. Alferov's work helped revolutionize semiconductor design, which in turn played a major role in the development of satellite communications and mobile phones.

 26 Dmitri Ivanovsky

Dmitri Ivanovsky
4
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: October 28, 1864
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gdov, Russia
Died: June 20, 1920

 27 Leonid Kantorovich

Leonid Kantorovich.
3
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: January 19, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died: April 7, 1986

Leonid Kantorovich was a Soviet economist and mathematician. Credited with founding linear programming, Kantorovich was honored with the prestigious Stalin Prize in 1949. In 1975, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the theory of optimum allocation of resources. He also made important contributions to functional analysis, operator theory, and approximation theory.

 28 Israel Gelfand

Israel Gelfand
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 2, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kherson Governorate
Died: October 5, 2009

 29 Maxim Kontsevich

Maxim Kontsevich
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Topologist
Birthdate: August 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Khimki

 30 Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov

Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov
3
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: June 25, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 29, 2017

 31 Petr Mitrichev

Petr Mitrichev
3
Famous As: Computer scientist
Birthdate: March 19, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow

 32 Yury Luzhkov

Yury Luzhkov
3
Famous As: Politician, Scientist
Birthdate: September 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow

 33 Pavel Florensky

Pavel Florensky
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yevlakh, Azerbaijan
Died: December 8, 1943

 34 Pavel Cherenkov

Pavel Cherenkov.
2
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: July 28, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Voronezh Oblast, Russian Empire
Died: January 6, 1990

Pavel Cherenkov was a Soviet physicist whose discovery of Cherenkov radiation in 1934 earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in physics in 1958. He also played an important role in the investigation of photo-meson reactions and photo-nuclear and in the construction and development of electron accelerators. Over the course of his career, Cherenkov won several awards, including two Stalin Prizes.

 35 Alexander Stepanov

Alexander Stepanov
2
Famous As: Computer scientist
Birthdate: November 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moscow

 36 Anatoly Timofeevich Fomenko

Anatoly Timofeevich Fomenko
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: March 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Donetsk

 37 Stanislav Smirnov

Stanislav Smirnov
2
Famous As: Mathematician, University teacher
Birthdate: September 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg

 38 Phoebus Levene

Phoebus Levene
2
Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: February 25, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Žagarė, Lithuania
Died: September 6, 1940

A Lithuanian Jew, Phoebus Levene moved with his family to the U.S. in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks. While he initially studied medicine, Levene later focused on biochemistry. Known for his path-breaking research on nucleic acids, he worked at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research for over three decades.

 39 Lev Pontryagin

Lev Pontryagin
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 3, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 3, 1988

 40 Vitaly Ginzburg

Vitaly Ginzburg
3
Famous As: physicist, astronomer, inventor, professor
Birthdate: September 21, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: November 8, 2009

 41 Igor Ansoff

Igor Ansoff
2
Famous As: Mathematician, Economist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 12, 1918
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vladivostok
Died: July 14, 2002

Best known as the father of strategic management for devising the strategy model known as Ansoff’s matrix, Russian-American applied mathematician Igor Ansoff had also taught at the Carnegie Mellon University. He had also managed countless technology projects and consulted with companies such as IBM, Gulf, and General Electric.

 42 Leonid Khachiyan

Leonid Khachiyan
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 29, 2005

 43 Aleksandr Prokhorov

Aleksandr Prokhorov.
2
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: July 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Atherton, Queensland, Australia
Died: January 8, 2002

 44 Grigory Margulis

Grigory Margulis
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 45 Vladimir Drinfeld

Vladimir Drinfeld
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: February 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

 46 Andrei Okounkov

Andrei Okounkov
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 26, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

 47 Nikolay Basov

Nikolay Basov.
2
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: December 14, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Usman, Russia
Died: July 1, 2001

 48 Vladimir Fock

Vladimir Fock
2
Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: December 22, 1898
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 27, 1974

 49 Mikhail Tsvet

Mikhail Tsvet
3
Famous As: Botanist
Birthdate: May 14, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Asti, Italy
Died: June 26, 1919

 50 Otto Schmidt

Otto Schmidt
2
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 30, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mahilyow, Belarus
Died: September 7, 1956