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Дело науки - возведение всего сущего в мысль.

Александр Герцен

Наука есть не что иное, как отображение действительности.

Фрэнсис Бэкон











If theory coincides with experiment,
it is not a discovery, but closure.
P.L. Kapitsa


9 July 2009 was 115 anniversary of Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa birthday, the founder of native experimental physics and the forefather of a scientific dynasty, who made important discoveries in several different areas.
Pyotr Leonidovich is an outstanding physicist, academician (1939), a member of Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences (since 1957), Hero of Socialist Work two times (1945, 1974), a laureate of Nobel Prize in Physics (1978), a laureate of Stalinist prize two times (1941, 1943), a holder of M.V. Lomonosov big gold medal (1959).
P.L.Kapitsa was born on 9 July 1894 in the city of Kronshtadt. His farther was a building engineer of Kronshtadt fortress and died in 1921, his mother was engaged in pedagogical and literature activities in folklore. In 1905 Kapitsa entered Kronshtadt gymnasium and was expelled for poor progress in 1906, and moved to a real college that he left in 1912. In the same year he entered the electrotechnical faculty in the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute and graduated in 1918, afterward he defended a graduate work on a physical theme and was left at the institute as a lecturer of physics and mechanics.
He was engaged in scientific work in Polytechnical Institute at a physical department from 1918 to 1921. In 1921, he and academicians of Academy of Sciences, A.N. Krilov and A.F. Ioffe, took part in a foreign mission to purchase instrumentation.
In 1921, Kapitsa was admitted to the Cavendish laboratory as a researcher and worked there from 1921 to 1934. In 1923, he defended a doctoral thesis “Transmission of α-beams through material medium and methods of producing strong magnetic fields” and received a PhD degree at Cambridge university.
In 1923, he received a Maxwell prize at the university. In 1925, he was elected as a member of English Royal Society, and later, in the same year – a Corresponding Member of Academy of Sciences of USSR.
He was a deputy director of the Cavendish laboratory since 1924.
He was a Professor of RS and the first director of the Mond laboratory at Cambridge university since 1930.
P.L. Kapitsa was a laureate of Liege university medal in 1934.
He was the director of Institute for Physical Problems of AS of USSR since 1935.
P.L.Kapitsa wrote this autobiography for the institute personnel department in 1950. Short lines with dates and positions hide the life like a scientific detective or a fascinating novel.
P.L.Kapitsa was awarded to many rewards and honorary titles: he was a honorary doctor at eleven universities in four continents, a member of many scientific societies and academies. Not stopping for any minute, “tireless academician” Peter Leonidovich Kapitsa tried to do as much as possible in the latest years of his life. He died on 8 April 1984 in Moscow not living three months till his 90 years.
In 80 years, the problems in which P.L.Kapitsa was engaged and the technical solutions which he proposed still remain topical and essential. In the framework of our conference subjects, many researchers use low temperatures, liquid helium and plasma conditions to synthesize different nanostructures.
At present, the environmental problems to which P.L. Kapitsa paid great attention during his latest years become the problem number one for the whole mankind. There exists no problem that attracts greater attention of scientific community than the environmental problem. Preserving environment, we retain ourselves. It is incorrect to follow the slogan of some modern “businessmen”: “Viva pragmatism, away with romantics!” The main idea is to try to harmonize economical and ecological expediency.
The great scientist’s astuteness appeared in his prediction of ecological catastrophes. 10 years before Chernobyl accident, P.L. Kapitsa warned about the necessity of taking into account a human element in using mathematical methods of calculating probability of accidents at atomic power plants.
The great scientist’s creative gust and deeds remain in descendant memory forever.

Dr. Aleksey D. Zolotarenko
Institute for Problems of Materials Science
of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.
August 2009