Famous Russian Scientists

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.

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

Vote for Your Favourite Russian Scientists

 1 
Dmitri Mendeleev
(Inventor of Periodic Table)

Dmitri Mendeleev
7
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.

 2 
Leonhard Euler
(Mathematician, Physicist)

Leonhard Euler
12
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.

 3 
Grigori Perelman
(Mathematician)

Grigori Perelman
11
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
(Physicist)

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 
Andrei Sakharov
(Nuclear physicist)

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.

You May Like

 8 
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.
Recommended Lists:

 9 
Sergei Korolev
(Scientist)

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.

 10 
Vitalik Buterin
(Computer scientist)

Vitalik Buterin
14
Birthdate: January 31, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kolomna, Russia

 11 
Andre Geim
(Physicist)

Andre Geim
4
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. 

 12 
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.

 13 
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
(Aerospace engineer, Rocket Scientist)

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
4
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.

 14 
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.

 15 
Alexey Pazhitnov
(Video game designer)

Alexey Pazhitnov
4
Birthdate: March 14, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow

 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. 

 17 
Mikhail Lomonosov
(Scientist, Polymath, Writer)

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.

 18 
Boris Nemtsov
(Physicist)

Boris Nemtsov
10
Birthdate: October 9, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sochi, Russia
Died: February 27, 2015

Boris Nemtsov was a Russian liberal politician and physicist. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in 1998. A fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov claimed that Putin's government was becoming increasingly authoritarian. Nemtsov was murdered in 2015 in Moscow. Interestingly, Boris Nemtsov expressed fear that Vladimir Putin would hire men to kill him weeks before his assassination.

 19 
Nikolai Lobachevsky
(Mathematician)

Nikolai Lobachevsky
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1792
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Died: February 24, 1856

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.

 21 
Marina Oswald
(Pharmacist)

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

Marina Oswald is a Russian-born American pharmacist best known as the widow of Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed the 35th president of the USA, John F. Kennedy. She played a key role in the Warren Commission hearings where she testified against Oswald. Marina has been portrayed by many actresses in films like JFK and Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald.

 22 
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.

 23 
Andrey Markov
(Mathematician)

Andrey Markov
5
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ryazan, Russia
Died: July 20, 1922

 24 

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.

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 
Igor Kurchatov
(Nuclear physicist)

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

 27 
Andrey Kolmogorov
(Mathematician)

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.

 28 
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

 29 
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

 30 
Nikolai Vavilov
(Former agronomist, botanist and geneticist best known for having identified the centers of origin of cultivated plants)

Nikolai Vavilov
5
Birthdate: November 25, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: January 26, 1943

 31 
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

 32 

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. 

 33 
Pyotr Kapitsa
(Physicist)

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 

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.

 36 
Leonid Kantorovich
(Mathematician)

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.

 37 
Sergei Winogradsky
(Microbiologist)

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

 38 
Vladimir Vernadsky
(Mineralogist)

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.

 39 
Vladimir Voevodsky
(Mathematician)

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

 40 
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

 41 

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.

 42 

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.

 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 
Vladimir Arnold
(Mathematician)

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

 46 
Petr Mitrichev
(Computer scientist)

Petr Mitrichev
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moscow

 47 
Maxim Kontsevich
(Mathematician, Topologist)

Maxim Kontsevich
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Khimki

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.

 49 
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.

 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.