Vitaly Ginzburg, Russian academician and physicist, dies at age 94

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nobel Prize winner, prominent Russian Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and theoretical physicist Vitaly Ginzburg has died on Sunday at the age of 93 years.

Ginzburg reads his Nobel lecture in MSU (2004)
Image: Emaus.

Ginzburg was one of the fathers of the Soviet hydrogen bomb together with Andrei Sakharov, and the head of the Department of Theoretical Physics in the Lebedev Physical Institute of Academy of Sciences (FIAN), as well as editor-in-chief of the scientific journal UFN.

He was born in Moscow in 1916, and graduated from the Physics Faculty of Moscow State University in 1938.

In 2003 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Alexei Abrikosov and Anthony Leggett for developing the theory behind superconductivity.

He developed a theory based on Lev Landau's previously-established theory of second-order phase transitions, about the free energy of a superconductor near the superconducting transition which describes how deep into the superconducting phase the system is. He also developed the theory of electromagnetic wave propagation in plasma and a theory of cosmic radiation. He was usually touted as the "last theorist" in Russia.

He was granted the USSR State Prize in 1953 and the Lenin Prize in 1966.

Ginzburg died from heart failure. A civil funeral will be held on Wednesday at the main hall of FIAN. He will be buried on November 11 in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

In a TV interview, Ginzburg once said: "If I believed in God, I would start every morning by saying, 'Thank you, My Lord, for making me a theoretical physicist.'" But he was an atheist.

One of his favorite sayings was: "Of course, it could be funny, if it wouldn't be so sad"...