Pyotr Kapitsa
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Pyotr Kapitsa Childhood & Birthday, Russian - 𝐏𝐲𝐨𝐭𝐫 𝐊𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐬𝐚 Biography
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Anna Alekseevna Krylova
Pyotr Leonidovich KapitsaPeter Kapitza
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity CollegeCambridge
Kronstadt, Russian Empire
Male
Leonid Petrovich Kapitsa
Olga Ieronimovna Kapitsa
Cancer
Kronstadt, Russian Empire
89
Moscow, Soviet Union
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Who is Pyotr Kapitsa?

undefined - Pyotr KapitsaPyotr Kapitsa

Pyotr Kapitsa was a leading Soviet physicist who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978. Known for his notable contributions to knowledge of atomic structures and understanding of strong magnetic fields at extremely low temperatures, he also conducted a series of experiments to study liquid helium, leading to the discovery of its superfluidity. Born in the Russian Empire during the late 19th century, he grew up in a politically tumultuous environment. He was a meritorious student but his studies were interrupted when the World War I broke out and the boy was forced to work as an ambulance driver for two years on the Polish front. He returned to his studies and graduated from the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute following which he moved to Britain for his higher studies and scientific career. He spent over a decade working in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, England, where he focused on experiments in nuclear physics and constructed a microradiometer. After he returned to Russia on a visit in the mid-1930s, he was forbidden by Stalin's government to travel back to Great Britain. Thus he spent the rest of his career in Russia and continued his groundbreaking work which eventually earned him a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978.

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Pyotr Kapitsa Childhood & Early Life

Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa was born on 8 July 1894 in Kronstadt, Russian Empire to parents Leonid Petrovich Kapitsa and Olga Ieronimovna Kapitsa. His father was a military engineer who constructed fortifications while his mother worked in high education and folklore research.

He was studying at A.F. Ioffe's section of the Electromechanics Department of the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute when the World War I broke out and interrupted his studies. He served as an ambulance driver for two years on the Polish front before resuming his studies and graduated in 1918.

Soon he became a lecturer at the Polytechnic Institute where he published several papers. He left the country in 1921 and went to Britain as a member of a scientific mission representing the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

Pyotr Kapitsa Career

In Britain he met Ernest Rutherford who invited Kapitsa to work in the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, England. The two men formed a productive partnership, marked by mutual respect and admiration for each other. Kapitsa’s initial experiments were in nuclear physics and he developed techniques for creating ultrastrong magnetic fields by injecting high current for brief periods into specially constructed air-core electromagnets.

He served as Assistant Director of Magnetic Research at Cavendish Laboratory from 1924 to 1932. In 1928 he discovered the linear dependence of resistivity on magnetic field for various metals in very strong magnetic fields. He also served as Director of the Royal Society Mond Laboratory from 1930 to 1934.

His final years at Cavendish were dedicated to low temperature research and he developed a new and original apparatus for the liquefaction of helium based on the adiabatic principle in 1934. The same year he went on a regular visit to Russia but Stalin’s government forbade him from returning to Britain and asked him to continue his work in the Soviet Union.

The scientist protested at being forcibly retained in Russia, but he was appointed director of the specially established Institute of Physical Problems in Moscow in 1935 in an attempt to pacify him. He resumed his work and in the late 1930s he discovered the fact that helium II (the stable form of liquid helium below 2.174 K, or −270.976 °C) has almost no viscosity (i.e., resistance to flow)—a phenomenon known as “superfluidity.’

During the World War II Kapitsa was assigned to head the Department of Oxygen Industry attached to the USSR Council of Ministers. In 1939 he developed a new method for liquefaction of air with a low-pressure cycle using a special high-efficiency expansion turbine.

He was appointed to the special committee entrusted with the construction of the Soviet atomic bomb in 1945. However problems arose between Kapitsa and the committee’s political chairman, Lavrenty Beria, which in turn led to tensions between the scientist and Stalin. As a result Kapitsa was dismissed from all of his official appointments, except membership in the Academy of Sciences.

Stalin died in 1953 following which Beria was ousted by Nikita Khrushchev, who gradually restored Kapitsa’s academic (but not government) positions. Kapitsa reclaimed the directorship of the Institute of Physical Problems and retained it until his death.

Over the course of his career Kapitsa taught for several years at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He was also a member of the presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences from 1957 until his death.

Pyotr Kapitsa Major Works

Pyotr Kapitsa discovered superfluidity in liquid helium in 1937. His works in this field ultimately won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978. He also developed a new method for liquefaction of air with a low-pressure cycle using a special high-efficiency expansion turbine.

Pyotr Kapitsa Awards & Achievements

He was recipient of Medal for Merits in Science and to Mankind of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1964), International Niels Bohr Medal of Dansk Ingeniørvorening (1964), and Rutherford Medal of the Institute of Physics and Physical Society (1966).

Pyotr Kapitsa was awarded one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978 "for his basic inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics." The other half jointly went to Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson "for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation."

Pyotr Kapitsa Personal Life & Legacy

Pyotr Kapitsa married twice in his life. His first wife and two small children died in the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918–19. He remarried Anna Alekseevna Krylova, daughter of applied mathematician A.N. Krylov, in 1927. The couple had two sons.

He died on 8 April 1984 at Moscow, Soviet Union. He was 89 at the time of his death.

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Pyotr Kapitsa awards

  • Other

    • Lomonosov Gold Medal (1959)
    • Rutherford Medal and Prize (1966)
    • Nobel Prize in Physics (1978)
    • FRS (1929)
    • Faraday Medal (1942)
    • Franklin Medal (1944)
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Pyotr Kapitsa biography timelines

  • Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa was born on 8 July 1894 in Kronstadt, Russian Empire to parents Leonid Petrovich Kapitsa and Olga Ieronimovna Kapitsa. His father was a military engineer who constructed fortifications while his mother worked in high education and folklore research.
    8th Jul 1894
  • He was studying at A.F. Ioffe's section of the Electromechanics Department of the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute when the World War I broke out and interrupted his studies. He served as an ambulance driver for two years on the Polish front before resuming his studies and graduated in 1918.
    1918
  • Pyotr Kapitsa married twice in his life. His first wife and two small children died in the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918–19. He remarried Anna Alekseevna Krylova, daughter of applied mathematician A.N. Krylov, in 1927. The couple had two sons.
    1918 To 1927
  • Soon he became a lecturer at the Polytechnic Institute where he published several papers. He left the country in 1921 and went to Britain as a member of a scientific mission representing the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
    1921
  • His final years at Cavendish were dedicated to low temperature research and he developed a new and original apparatus for the liquefaction of helium based on the adiabatic principle in 1934. The same year he went on a regular visit to Russia but Stalin’s government forbade him from returning to Britain and asked him to continue his work in the Soviet Union.
    1934
  • The scientist protested at being forcibly retained in Russia, but he was appointed director of the specially established Institute of Physical Problems in Moscow in 1935 in an attempt to pacify him. He resumed his work and in the late 1930s he discovered the fact that helium II (the stable form of liquid helium below 2.174 K, or −270.976 °C) has almost no viscosity (i.e., resistance to flow)—a phenomenon known as “superfluidity.’
    1935
  • Pyotr Kapitsa discovered superfluidity in liquid helium in 1937. His works in this field ultimately won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978. He also developed a new method for liquefaction of air with a low-pressure cycle using a special high-efficiency expansion turbine.
    1937 To 1978
  • During the World War II Kapitsa was assigned to head the Department of Oxygen Industry attached to the USSR Council of Ministers. In 1939 he developed a new method for liquefaction of air with a low-pressure cycle using a special high-efficiency expansion turbine.
    1939
  • He was appointed to the special committee entrusted with the construction of the Soviet atomic bomb in 1945. However problems arose between Kapitsa and the committee’s political chairman, Lavrenty Beria, which in turn led to tensions between the scientist and Stalin. As a result Kapitsa was dismissed from all of his official appointments, except membership in the Academy of Sciences.
    1945
  • Stalin died in 1953 following which Beria was ousted by Nikita Khrushchev, who gradually restored Kapitsa’s academic (but not government) positions. Kapitsa reclaimed the directorship of the Institute of Physical Problems and retained it until his death.
    1953
  • Over the course of his career Kapitsa taught for several years at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He was also a member of the presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences from 1957 until his death.
    1957
  • Pyotr Kapitsa was awarded one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1978 "for his basic inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics." The other half jointly went to Arno Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson "for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation."
    1978
  • He died on 8 April 1984 at Moscow, Soviet Union. He was 89 at the time of his death.
    8th Apr 1984
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Frequently asked questions about Pyotr Kapitsa

  • What is Pyotr Kapitsa birthday?

    Pyotr Kapitsa was born at July 8, 1894

  • Where is Pyotr Kapitsa's birth place?

    Pyotr Kapitsa was born in Kronstadt, Russian Empire

  • What is Pyotr Kapitsa nationalities?

    Pyotr Kapitsa's nationalities is Russian

  • Who is Pyotr Kapitsa spouses?

    Pyotr Kapitsa's spouses is Anna Alekseevna Krylova

  • What was Pyotr Kapitsa universities?

    Pyotr Kapitsa studied at Trinity College, Cambridge university

  • What was Pyotr Kapitsa notable alumnis?

    Pyotr Kapitsa's notable alumnis is Trinity College, Cambridge

  • Who is Pyotr Kapitsa's father?

    Pyotr Kapitsa's father is Leonid Petrovich Kapitsa

  • Who is Pyotr Kapitsa's mother?

    Pyotr Kapitsa's mother is Olga Ieronimovna Kapitsa

  • What is Pyotr Kapitsa's sun sign?

    Pyotr Kapitsa is Cancer

  • When was Pyotr Kapitsa died?

    Pyotr Kapitsa was died at April 8, 1984

  • Where was Pyotr Kapitsa died?

    Pyotr Kapitsa was died in Moscow, Soviet Union

  • Which age was Pyotr Kapitsa died?

    Pyotr Kapitsa was died at age 89