Famous Russian Scientists

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

Much of the luxuries which have become necessities of modern life have been provided to us by the Russian scientists. Be it the yoghurt that owes its root in Bulgaria or television that was the result of engineering of Vladimir Zworykin, Russians have been responsible for much of our daily existence. Imagine life without modern day transportation vehicles, car, bus or helicopter? Vehicles today would have been mere objects of display if not for the petrol and the tyres. Cracking is a process that allows petrol to be produced in enormous quantities. Almost 70% of crude oil can be turned into petrol through the process of cracking, which was invented by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov. Synthetic rubber which is used to make tyres for vehicles and aircrafts was first developed by Russian chemist Sergei Lebedev. Helicopter was the brainchild of Russian inventor Ivor Sikorsky who is also credited with inventing the first hydroplane of the world and the first multiple-engine aircraft. Other scientific inventions that owe their root in the Russian soil include solar cell, videotape recorder, transformer and grain harvester. Check this segment and find out in detail about the life of famous Russian scientists, their career and their inventions.
Vote for Your Favourite Russian Scientists
 1 
Leonhard Euler
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Leonhard Euler
14
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 
Dmitri Mendeleev
(Inventor of Periodic Table)
Dmitri Mendeleev
8
Birthdate: February 8, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tobolsk
Died: February 2, 1907
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Law and his version of the Periodic Table of Elements that revolutionized the field of chemistry. His table was independent of German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer’s version of the table. Mendeleev also assisted in the development of the first oil refinery in Russia.
 3 
Grigori Perelman
(Mathematician)
Grigori Perelman
12
Birthdate: June 13, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman is best known for his work on geometry, especially Riemannian geometry, geometric analysis, and geometric topology. He declined many prizes, such as the Fields Medal and the Millennium Prize. His proof of the Poincaré conjecture was named the Breakthrough of the Year by Science magazine.
 4 
Georg Cantor
(Mathematician)
Georg Cantor
11
Birthdate: March 3, 1845
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died: January 6, 1918
Georg Cantor is remembered as the man behind the set theory of mathematics. Not known to many, he was a skilled violinist, too. He was one of the first to explore infinity. His final years were riddled with mental ailments, when he believed Shakespeare’s plays were written by Francis Bacon.
Recommended Lists:
 5 
Peter Kropotkin
(Anarchist, Socialist & Historian)
Peter Kropotkin
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1842
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: February 8, 1921

Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917. 

 6 
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.

Recommended Lists:
 7 
Sergei Korolev
(Lead Rocket Engineer and Founder of the Soviet Union’s Space Program)
Sergei Korolev
6
Birthdate: January 1, 1907
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zhytomyr, Ukraine
Died: January 14, 1966

Sergei Korolev was a Soviet spacecraft designer and rocket engineer who played an important role during the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America in the 1950s and 1960s. He was largely responsible for developing the R-7 Rocket and launching Yuri Gagarin into space. Sergei Korolev also launched Belka, Strelka, and Laika into space.

 8 
Andrei Sakharov
(Soviet Nuclear Physicist, Dissident and Winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize for Peace)
Andrei Sakharov
4
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.

Recommended Lists:
 9 
Vitalik Buterin
(Computer scientist)
Vitalik Buterin
15
Birthdate: January 31, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kolomna, Russia
 10 
Anatoli Bugorski
(physicist, nuclear scientist)
Anatoli Bugorski
4
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.
 11 
Aleksandr Borodin
(Composer, Chemist)
Aleksandr Borodin
4
Birthdate: November 12, 1833
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: February 27, 1887

Aleksandr Borodin was a Russian musical composer. He was one of the popular 19th-century group of musicians known as The Five, who worked together to create a national style of classical music. A chemist and doctor by profession, Borodin also made important contributions to organic chemistry. His best known work as a chemist is his work pertaining to organic synthesis.

 12 
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
(Russian Rocket Scientist Who Pioneered Astronautic Theory)
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
5
Birthdate: September 17, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Izhevskoe, Russia
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.

 13 
Trofim Lysenko
(Experimenter)
Trofim Lysenko
4
Birthdate: September 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Karlivka
Died: November 20, 1976

Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet biologist and agronomist. Lysenko was one of the most influential supporters of Lamarckism. He also condemned Mendelian genetics and supported Lysenkoism, a political campaign that rejected natural selection. Lysenko used his political power to imprison his critics. Several Soviet scientists, including Nikolai Vavilov, who failed to renounce genetics were either imprisoned or killed.

 14 
Alexey Pazhitnov
(Video game designer)
Alexey Pazhitnov
4
Birthdate: March 14, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow
 15 
Mikhail Lomonosov
(Russian Author and Scientist Who Discovered the ‘Atmosphere of Venus’ and the ‘Law of Conservation of Mass’)
Mikhail Lomonosov
4
Birthdate: November 19, 1711
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lomonossowo, Russia
Died: April 15, 1765

Russian polymath Mikhail Lomonosov was born to a fisherman father and left his village later to satiate his hunger for knowledge. Apart from reforming Russian language and literature, he also made the first colored glass mosaic in his country and discovered the atmosphere of Venus. He loved simple life.

 16 
Vladimir Demikhov
(Organ Transplant Pioneer)
Vladimir Demikhov
3
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. 
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
4
Birthdate: August 30, 1863
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Murom
Died: September 27, 1944

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was a photographer and chemist of the Russian Empire. Prokudin-Gorskii is remembered for his effort to capture early 20th-century Russia and his groundbreaking work in color photography. From 1909 to 1915, Prokudin-Gorskii traveled across the Russian Empire, documenting several of its aspects. After his death, many of his negatives were taken to the U.S. Library of Congress.

 18 
Nikolai Lobachevsky
(Mathematician)
Nikolai Lobachevsky
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1792
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Died: February 24, 1856
 19 
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.

 20 
Theodosius Dobzhansky
(Russian-American Geneticist and Evolutionary Biologist)
Theodosius Dobzhansky
5
Birthdate: January 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nemyriv, Ukraine
Died: December 18, 1975

Theodosius Dobzhansky was a Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist. He played a key role in shaping modern synthesis in the field of evolutionary biology.  His 1937 book, Genetics and the Origin of Species, is a seminal work on modern synthesis. He was the recipient of several awards, including the US National Medal of Science and the Franklin Medal.  

 21 
Boris Berezovsky
(Russian Business Oligarch, Government Official, Engineer and Mathematician)
Boris Berezovsky
4
Birthdate: January 23, 1946
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
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.

 22 
Nikolai Vavilov
(Russian Geneticist and Agronomist Who Was Imprisoned for His Unconventional Scientific Beliefs)
Nikolai Vavilov
5
Birthdate: November 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: January 26, 1943

Russian geneticist Nikolai Vavilov not just taught at the University of Saratov but also served as the director of the Bureau of Applied Botany in Petrograd. He made expeditions worldwide, but invited criticism from Soviet agronomist T.D. Lysenko, who was close to Stalin. Vavilov was eventually imprisoned and died in captivity.

 23 
Ilya Prigogine
(Russian-Belgian Physical Chemist and Winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize for Chemistry)
Ilya Prigogine
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 28, 2003

Ilya Prigogine was a physical chemist remembered for his work on irreversibility, complex systems, and dissipative structures. A respected member of several scientific organizations, Prigogine was honored with the Francqui Prize in 1955. In 1976, he won the Rumford Medal for his work concerning irreversible thermodynamics. His work on irreversible thermodynamics earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.

 24 
Andrey Markov
(Mathematician)
Andrey Markov
5
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia
Died: July 20, 1922
 25 
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
(Russian Physicist Who Was One of the First Persons to Invent a Radio Receiving Device)
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
3
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.

 26 
Élie Metchnikoff
(Former zoologist best known for his pioneering research in immunology)
Élie Metchnikoff
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ukraine
Died: July 15, 1916
 27 
Pafnuty Chebyshev
(Considered to Be the Founding Father of Russian Mathematics)
Pafnuty Chebyshev
3
Birthdate: May 16, 1821
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Zhukovsky District, Russia
Died: December 8, 1894
 28 
Igor Kurchatov
(Nuclear physicist)
Igor Kurchatov
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sim, Russia
Died: February 7, 1960
 29 
Andrey Kolmogorov
(Russian Mathematician Who Contributed to ‘Probability Theory’, ‘Probability Space’, ‘Topology’, ‘Intuitionistic Logic’ and ‘Turbulence Studies’)
Andrey Kolmogorov
4
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.

 30 
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
 31 
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. 

 32 
Vladimir Vernadsky
(Russian Mineralogist and One of the Founders of Geochemistry, Radiogeology and Biogeochemistry)
Vladimir Vernadsky
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 6, 1945

Vladimir Vernadsky was a geochemist and mineralogist who is widely regarded as one of the founders of radiogeology, biogeochemistry, and geochemistry. He is also credited with founding the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Vernadsky is best remembered for his book, The Biosphere, which discusses Eduard Suess' work. He won the prestigious Stalin Prize in 1943.

 33 
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.

 34 
Aleksandr Lyapunov
(mathematician, physicist)
Aleksandr Lyapunov
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Yaroslavl
Died: November 3, 1918
 35 
Dmitri Ivanovsky
(Russian Botanist, the Co-Discoverer of Viruses and One of the Founders of Virology)
Dmitri Ivanovsky
4
Birthdate: October 28, 1864
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gdov, Russia
Died: June 20, 1920

Best remembered for his co-discovery of viruses during his research on the mosaic disease in tobacco, Russian botanist Dmitri Ivanovsky is regarded as one of the pioneers of virology. Interestingly, following his discovery, he didn’t focus on virology much and taught plant anatomy and physiology instead.

 36 
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.

 37 
Leonid Kantorovich
(Russian Mathematician and Winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Economics)
Leonid Kantorovich
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1912
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
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.

 38 
Sergei Winogradsky
(Russian Microbiologist and Ecologist Who Pioneered the Concept of the Cycle of Life)
Sergei Winogradsky
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Died: February 25, 1953

Russian microbiologist Sergei Winogradsky was the first to suggest the concept of the cycle of life. Born into a family of lawyers, he initially aspired to be a lawyer and also studied music, before switching to chemistry and then botany. His research covered sulfur-oxidizing bacteria and the nitrogen cycle.

 39 
Vladimir Voevodsky
(Mathematician)
Vladimir Voevodsky
3
Birthdate: June 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 30, 2017
 40 
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.

 41 
Alexander Oparin
(Former Biochemist known for contributions to the theory of the origin of life, oacervates)
Alexander Oparin
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1894
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Uglich, Russia
Died: April 21, 1980
 42 
Vladimir Arnold
(Mathematician)
Vladimir Arnold
3
Birthdate: June 12, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Odessa, Ukraine
Died: June 3, 2010
 43 
Yury Luzhkov
(Politician, Scientist)
Yury Luzhkov
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow
 44 
Israel Gelfand
(Mathematician)
Israel Gelfand
3
Birthdate: September 2, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kherson Governorate
Died: October 5, 2009
 45 
Petr Mitrichev
(Russian Competitive Programmer)
Petr Mitrichev
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow

From solving complex math problems at age 10, Petr Mitrichev went on to become a globally renowned competitive programmer. His achievements include gold medals at the IOI, apart from wins in the Topcoder Open and the Facebook Hacker Cup. A sports lover, he also loves soccer and table tennis.

 46 
Stepan Makarov
(Russian Naval Commander, Naval Architect, and Oceanographer)
Stepan Makarov
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1849
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mykolaiv, Ukraine
Died: April 13, 1904

Russian naval commander Stepan Makarov led the Pacific fleet at the start of the 1904 Russo-Japanese War. A talented naval architect and ship designer, he was also a pioneering oceanographer. At 41, he became the youngest admiral of Russia. He was killed when his flagship, Petropavlovsk, collided with a mine and sank.

 47 
Maxim Kontsevich
(Mathematician, Topologist)
Maxim Kontsevich
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Khimki
 48 
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.

Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov
3
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.

 50 
Pavel Cherenkov
(Physicist)
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.