It’s the 111th birthday of Soviet physicist Lev Davidovich Landau on 21 January 2019, and Google is honouring the celebrated physicist with a doodle. Landau, a math prodigy, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1962 for the development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity.
Landau was born to Jewish parents in Baku, Azerbaijan. His father was an engineer and mother a doctor. A child prodigy, described by his classmates as “quiet, shy boy,” Landau learnt to integrate by the age of 13. He graduated at the age of 19 from Leningrad University and completed his PhD when he was 21. On earning a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, Landau was able to travel abroad to Germany, Denmark and England. During this time, he worked with several renowned physicists like Wolfgang Pauli and Niels Bohr.
In his esteemed career, Lev Davidovich Landau headed the Department of Theoretical Physics at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology and the Institute for Physical Problems. He developed the famous comprehensive exam “Theoretical Minimum”, that the students were expected to pass before their admission to the school.
Landau received the “Lenin Science Prize for his monumental Course of Theoretical Physics—a ten-volume study co-written with his student Evgeny Lifshitz.” In 1962, Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Lev Davidovich Landau for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity.
In January 1962, landau’s car collided with a truck and was severely injured. In 1968, he died from the complications of his injuries in the car accident.
Known for his sharp sense of humour, Landau’s memory is kept alive by the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, founded by his former students and co-workers.