Famous Russian Physicists

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Physicists are scientists who are astounded by the physical world and the universe. They are deeply interested in physical phenomenon or natural science and engage themselves in the study of matter and energy. Through observation and experimentation, they discover unknown facts about the physical world or try and explain the natural phenomenon. Thanks to physicists, concepts of gravity, electromagnetism and nuclear interaction have become known to one and all. Today, every country has its own pool of highly talented and gifted physicists who have contributed immensely in the better understanding of the physical world. Russia has been home to several highly renowned physicists who have through their intensive research and experimentation brought forth a new light in the field of physics. Be it Nikolay Basov’s invention of laser and maser or Sergey Chaplygin’s creation of aero ad hydrodynamics, Lev Landau’s development of Ginzburg Landau theory of superconductivity or Boris Mamyrin’s invention of reflectron, Russian physicists have greatly and widely contributed to the physical world. They have discovered physical laws and propounded theories that have explained the basic functioning and concepts. With this segment, know more about famous Russian physicists.
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 1 
Leonhard Euler
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Leonhard Euler
6
Birthdate: April 15, 1707
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Basel
Died: September 18, 1783

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.

 2 
Lev Landau
(Russian Physicist and One for the Founders of Quantum Mechanical Theory)
Lev Landau
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
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.

 3 
Andrei Sakharov
(Soviet Nuclear Physicist, Dissident and Winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize for Peace)
Andrei Sakharov
5
Birthdate: May 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
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.

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 4 
Anatoli Bugorski
(physicist, nuclear scientist)
Anatoli Bugorski
5
Birthdate: June 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Russian particle physicist Anatoli Bugorski is known as the man who survived after putting his head inside a particle accelerator while examining a faulty equipment. The radiation caused partial paralysis of his face and loss of hearing in his left ear. The Soviet government prevented him from talking about this for decades.
 5 
George Gamow
(Physicist)
George Gamow
3
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.

 6 
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
(Russian Physicist Who Was One of the First Persons to Invent a Radio Receiving Device)
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
4
Birthdate: March 16, 1859
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Krasnoturinsk, Russia
Died: January 13, 1906

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.

 7 
Yuri Oganessian
(Nuclear physicist known for co-discoverer of the heaviest elements in the periodic table; element oganesson named after him)
Yuri Oganessian
3
Birthdate: April 14, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rostov-on-Don, Russia
 8 
Konstantin Novoselov
(Russian-British Physicist Best Known for Isolating 'Graphene' at the University of Manchester)
Konstantin Novoselov
3
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. 

 9 
Alexander Friedmann
(Physicist and Mathematician Best Known for His Pioneering Theory That the Universe Was Expanding)
Alexander Friedmann
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Russia
Died: September 16, 1925

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.

 10 
Pyotr Kapitsa
(Soviet Physicist and Winner of 1978 Nobel Prize for His Basic Inventions and Discoveries in Low-Temperature Physics)
Pyotr Kapitsa
3
Birthdate: July 8, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kronstadt, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 8, 1984

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.

 11 
Zhores Ivanovich Alferov
(Russian Physicist Who Was Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000)
Zhores Ivanovich Alferov
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Viciebsk, Belarus
Died: March 1, 2019

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.

 12 
Pavel Florensky
(Theologian)
Pavel Florensky
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yevlakh, Azerbaijan
Died: December 8, 1943

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.

 13 
Vitaly Ginzburg
(Former Physicist known for Ginzburg–Landau theory, Ginzburg criterion, Transition radiation, Undulator)
Vitaly Ginzburg
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: November 8, 2009

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.

 14 
Igor Tamm
(Soviet Physicist Who Won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics)
Igor Tamm
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vladivostok, Russia
Died: April 12, 1971

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.

 15 
Pavel Cherenkov
(Russian Physicist and Winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics for the Discovery of Cherenkov Radiation)
Pavel Cherenkov
2
Birthdate: July 28, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Novaya Chigla, Russia
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.

 16 
Oleg Losev
(Physicist, Inventor)
Oleg Losev
0
Birthdate: May 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tver, Russia
Died: January 22, 1942
 17 
Nikolay Basov
(Physicist)
Nikolay Basov
2
Birthdate: December 14, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Usman, Russia
Died: July 1, 2001
 18 
Yulii Khariton
(Physicist)
Yulii Khariton
1
Birthdate: February 27, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 19, 1996
 19 
Aleksandr Prokhorov
2
Birthdate: July 11, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Peeramon, Australia
Died: January 8, 2002
 20 
Nikolay Semyonov
(Soviet Physicist & Chemist Who Won Nobel Prize in Chemistry for His Work on the Mechanism of Chemical Transformation)
Nikolay Semyonov
1
Birthdate: April 15, 1896
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saratov, Russia
Died: September 25, 1986

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.

 21 
Ilya Frank
(Physicist)
Ilya Frank
1
Birthdate: October 23, 1908
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: June 22, 1990
 22 
Alexei Abrikosov
(American-Russian Theoretical Physicist Known for His Pioneering Contribution to the Theory of Superconductivity)
Alexei Abrikosov
2
Birthdate: June 25, 1928
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 29, 2017

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.

 23 
Vladimir Chelomey
1
Birthdate: June 30, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Siedlce, Poland
Died: August 12, 1984
 24 
Pyotr Lebedev
(Physicist)
Pyotr Lebedev
0
Birthdate: February 24, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 1, 1912
 25 
Gersh Budker
(Physicist)
Gersh Budker
0
Birthdate: May 1, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vinnytsya, Ukraine
Died: July 4, 1977
Gustav Heinrich Johann Apollon Tammann
0
Birthdate: June 9, 1861
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jamburg, Russia
Died: December 17, 1938

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.

 27 
Nikolai Rukavishnikov
(Soviet Cosmonaut Who Was Part of 3 Soyuz Space Missions)
Nikolai Rukavishnikov
0
Birthdate: September 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tomsk, Russia
Died: October 19, 2002

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.

 28 
Boris Borisovich Golitsyn
0
Birthdate: February 18, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: May 4, 1916