Leonhard Euler was a Swiss physicist, mathematician, logician, geographer, astronomer, and engineer. He is credited with making influential and important mathematical discoveries, such as graph theory and infinitesimal calculus. Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most prolific mathematicians of all time, Leonhard Euler also made pioneering contributions to analytic number theory and topology.
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.
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.
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.
Alexander Stepanovich Popov was a Russian physicist best remembered for his pioneering work in transmitting radio signals. One of the first inventors to come up with a radio receiving device, Popov's work was contemporaneous with the groundbreaking work of Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. Popov's life and career inspired the 1949 biographical film Alexander Popov which was directed by Herbert Rappaport.
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.
Though born to a ballet dancer father and a pianist mother, Alexander Friedmann grew up to be a talented mathematician and cosmologist. He had served as an aviator during World War I and later also taught. He died of typhoid at age 37 after eating a pear during his honeymoon.
Nobel Prize-winning Soviet physicist Pyotr Kapitsa revolutionized science with his invention of new machines for liquefaction of gases. He is also remembered for discovering that liquid helium is superfluid. He had also served in World War I and had lost his father, wife, and children in the 1918-1919 flu epidemic.
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.
Russian theologian Pavel Florensky is best remembered for his essay The Pillar and the Ground of Truth. During Stalin’s regime and amid a phase of national atheism, he was sent to jail and also banished to Siberia for his religious beliefs, which he refused to renounce.
Vitaly Ginzburg was a Russian theoretical physicist whose contributions to the theory of superfluids and superconductors earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics which he shared with Alexei Abrikosov and Anthony Leggett in 2003. Ginzburg was one of the most important scientists during the atomic bomb project of the Soviet Union. In 1953, he received the prestigious Stalin Prize.
Igor Tamm was a Soviet physicist whose contribution to the discovery of Cherenkov radiation earned him the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Ilya Mikhailovich Frank and Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov. In the 1940s and '50s, Igor Tamm played an important role in the Soviet atomic bomb project, which was authorized by Joseph Stalin.
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.
Soviet physicist and chemist Nikolay Semyonov is most famous for his outstanding work on the mechanism of chemical transformation for which he received the 1956 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood. Semyonov published two significant books namely Chemical Kinetics and Chain Reactions and Some Problems of Chemical Kinetics and Reactivity outlining his work.
Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov was a theoretical physicist who contributed immensely to the field of condensed matter physics. In 2003, Abrikosov received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics which he shared with Anthony James Leggett and Vitaly Ginzburg. Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov was also the recipient of the Lenin Prize, the USSR State Prize, and the Landau Prize.
Russian chemist Gustav Heinrich Johann Apollon Tammann is remembered for his pioneering contribution to the study of metallurgy. He also laid down the first German Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at Göttingen University. While he won medals such as the Liebig Medal, the Vogel-Fulcher-Tammann equation was named in his honor.
Known for his 3 space missions of the Soyuz program, Soviet cosmonaut and physicist Nikolai Rukavishnikov became the 50th human to travel into space. Post-retirement, he worked for Energia. He was also a 2-time Hero of the Soviet Union and was honored by Bulgaria and Mongolia, too.