How was the Soviet physics born?

Behind the Iron Curtain, Soviet physicists worked actively and nevertheless made a number of fundamental discoveries. At first, however, they were not isolated from the world — they learned from and worked with European scientists. One of the founding fathers of the Soviet school was Stoletov, who formulated the laws of the photoelectric effect. In his youth, in 1862, he began an internship in Germany, mainly with Kirchhoff. There, under the leadership of Kundt, Lebedev began to study and work in 1887. A decade later, he managed to measure the pressure of light, thereby finally confirming the materiality of the electromagnetic field. Ioffe made a name for himself by working for Roentgen since 1902. Upon his return to Russia, he became a very influential person and actively helped young scientists, realizing that it was absolutely necessary for them to work in a reputable scientific school. Thanks to his recommendation, in 1922 Peter Kapitsa began his activities in England under the leadership of Rutherford. Thanks to the recommendation of Ioffe, Gamow in 1928 got the opportunity to spend a year in Denmark with Bohr, and to participate in the famous Solvay congress of physicists in 1933. After his last business trip, Gamow never returned to his homeland, and began to live and work in the United States soon. This was not an isolated case of non-return of Soviet scientists. For this and other reasons, Stalin in 1934 did not allow Kapitsa to continue working with Rutherford. Then the repressions began.

On the cold loneliness

Direct communication with geniuses gave rise to the Soviet school of physics

Despite the forced emigration, Gamow, the youngest in the Soviet academy, remained a cheerful discoverer and popularizer of quantum and relativistic physics.


Leave a Reply