Pyotr Kapitsa Biography
(Soviet Physicist and Winner of 1978 Nobel Prize for His Basic Inventions and Discoveries in Low-Temperature Physics)
Birthday: July 8, 1894 (Cancer)
Born In: Kronstadt, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Pyotr Kapitsa was a leading Soviet physicist who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978. Known for his notable contributions to knowledge of atomic structures and understanding of strong magnetic fields at extremely low temperatures, he also conducted a series of experiments to study liquid helium, leading to the discovery of its superfluidity. Born in the Russian Empire during the late 19th century, he grew up in a politically tumultuous environment. He was a meritorious student but his studies were interrupted when the World War I broke out and the boy was forced to work as an ambulance driver for two years on the Polish front. He returned to his studies and graduated from the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute following which he moved to Britain for his higher studies and scientific career. He spent over a decade working in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, England, where he focused on experiments in nuclear physics and constructed a microradiometer. After he returned to Russia on a visit in the mid-1930s, he was forbidden by Stalin's government to travel back to Great Britain. Thus he spent the rest of his career in Russia and continued his groundbreaking work which eventually earned him a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978.