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Vitaly Ginzburg

vitaly ginzburg, vitaly ginzburg on religion
Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg, ForMemRS Russian: Вита́лий Ла́заревич Ги́нзбург; 4 October 1916 – 8 November 2009 was a Soviet and Russian theoretical physicist, astrophysicist, Nobel laureate, a member of the Soviet and Russian Academies of Sciences and one of the fathers of the Soviet hydrogen bomb He was the successor to Igor Tamm as head of the Department of Theoretical Physics of the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences FIAN, and an outspoken atheist


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Stance on religion
  • 3 Death
  • 4 Honors and awards
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Vitaly Ginzburg was born to a Jewish family in Moscow in 1916, the son of an engineer Lazar Yefimovich Ginzburg and a doctor Augusta Wildauer, and graduated from the Physics Faculty of Moscow State University in 1938 He defended his candidate's PhD dissertation in 1940, and his doctor's dissertation in 1942 In 1944, he became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Among his achievements are a partially phenomenological theory of superconductivity, the Ginzburg-Landau theory, developed with Lev Landau in 1950; the theory of electromagnetic wave propagation in plasmas for example, in the ionosphere; and a theory of the origin of cosmic radiation He is also known to biologists as being part of the group of scientists that helped bring down the reign of the politically connected anti-Mendelian agronomist Trofim Lysenko, thus allowing modern genetic science to return to the USSR

In 1937, Ginzburg married Olga Zamsha In 1946, he married his second wife, Nina Ginzburg nee Yermakova, who had spent more than a year in custody on fabricated charges of plotting to assassinate the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin

Ginzburg was the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk He also headed the Academic Department of Physics and Astrophysics Problems, which Ginzburg founded at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 1968

Ginzburg identified himself as a secular Jew, and following the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union, he was very active in Jewish life, especially in Russia, where he served on the board of directors of the Russian Jewish Congress He is also well known for fighting anti-Semitism and supporting the state of Israel

In the 2000s decade, Ginzburg was politically active, supporting the Russian liberal opposition and human rights movement He defended Igor Sutyagin and Valentin Danilov against charges of espionage put forth by the authorities On 2 April 2009, in an interview to the Radio Liberty Ginzburg denounced the FSB as an institution harmful to Russia and the ongoing expansion of its authority as a return to Stalinism

Ginzburg worked at the P N Lebedev Physical Institute of Soviet and Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow since 1940 Russian Academy of Sciences is a major institution where mostly all Nobel Prize laureates of physics from Russia have done their studies and/or research works

Stance on religion

Ginzburg was an avowed atheist, both under the militantly atheist Soviet government and in post-Communist Russia when religion made a strong revival He criticized clericalism in the press and wrote several books devoted to the questions of religion and atheism Because of this, some Orthodox Christian groups denounced him and said no science award could excuse his verbal attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church He was one of the signers of the Open letter to the President Vladimir V Putin from the Members of the Russian Academy of Sciences against clericalisation of Russia


A spokeswoman for the Russian Academy of Sciences, announced that Ginzburg died in Moscow on 8 November 2009 from cardiac arrest He had been suffering from ill health for several years, and three years before his death said "In general, I envy believers I am 90, and being overcome by illnesses For believers, it is easier to deal with them and with life's other hardships But what can be done I cannot believe in resurrection after death"

Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to Ginzburg's family, saying "We bid farewell to an extraordinary personality whose outstanding talent, exceptional strength of character and firmness of convictions evoked true respect from his colleagues" President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, in his letter of condolences, described Ginzburg as a "top physicist of our time whose discoveries had a huge impact on the development of national and world science"

Ginzburg was buried on 11 November in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, the resting place of many famous politicians, writers and scientists of Russia

Honors and awards

Ginzburg reads a Nobel lecture in Moscow State University
  • Stalin Prize in 1953
  • Lenin Prize in 1966
  • Elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society ForMemRS in 1987
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1991
  • Wolf Prize in Physics in 1994/5
  • Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1995 – for outstanding achievement in the field of theoretical physics and astrophysics
  • Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003, together with Alexei Alexeevich Abrikosov and Anthony James Leggett for their "pioneering contributions to the theory of superconductors and superfluids"
  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland;
    • 1st class 4 October 2006 – for outstanding contribution to the development of national science and many years of fruitful activity
    • 3rd class 3 October 1996 – for outstanding scientific achievements and the training of highly qualified personnel
  • Order of Lenin 1954
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour, twice 1956, 1986
  • Order of the Badge of Honour, twice 1954, 1975
  • Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" 1946
  • Medal "In Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of Moscow" 1948
  • Medal "For Valiant Labour To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" 1970
  • Vavilov Gold Medal 1995 – for outstanding work in physics, including a series of papers on the theory of radiation by uniformly moving sources


  1. ^ a b c Longair, M S 2011 "Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg 4 October 1916 – 8 November 2009" Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 57: 129–146 doi:101098/rsbm20110002 
  2. ^ a b c Thomas H Maugh II November 10, 2009 "Vitaly Ginzburg dies at 93; Nobel Prize-winning Russian physicist" Los Angeles Times 
  3. ^ a b "Vitaly Lazarevich Ginzburg — editor in chief of UFN" 
  4. ^ Nikonov, Vyacheslav September 30, 2004 "Physicists have nothing to do with miracles" Social Sciences 3: 148–150 Retrieved September 9, 2007 
  5. ^ Ledenyov, Dimitri O; Ledenyov, Viktor O 2012 "Nonlinearities in Microwave Superconductivity" 1206: arXiv:12064426 arXiv:12064426  Bibcode:2012arXiv12064426L CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter link
  6. ^ Medvedev, Zhores 1969 The Rise and Fall of TD Lysenko New York: Columbia University Press 
  7. ^ "Виталий Гинзбург: с Ландау трудно было спорить — Юрий Медведев"Уравнение Гинзбурга – Ландау" — Российская Газета — Академику и нобелевскому лауреату Виталию Гинзбургу исполняется 90 лет Накануне юбилея он рассказал в интервью "РГ", как стал физиком-теоретиком, будучи "плохим" математиком, и почему он брал расписки со своего друга и учителя – знаменитого Льва Ландау, с которым вместе работал над сверхпроводимостью Именно за эту работу Гинзбург впоследствии получил Нобелевскую премию "Общаясь с Ландау, я много думал о его феномене, о пределах возможностей человека, огромных резервах мозга", – признался он" Rgru Retrieved November 11, 2009 
  8. ^ "About Academic Department of Physics and Astrophysics Problems" in Russian Archived from the original on 21 June 2007 
  9. ^ Hein, Avi "Vitaly Ginzburg" Jewish Virtual Library 
  10. ^ "Russia: Religious revival troubles Vitaly Ginzburg" University World News Retrieved November 11, 2009 
  11. ^ Mikhail Sokolov "2009 RFE/RL, Inc" Svobodanewsru Retrieved November 11, 2009 
  12. ^ "Nobel Prize laureates affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences"
  13. ^ http://nobelprizeorg/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2003/ginzburg-autobiohtml
  14. ^ Ginzburg, Vitaly 2009 "About atheism, religion and secular humanism" Moscow: FIAN 
  15. ^ Церковь ждет исповеди академиков in Russian 
  16. ^ Клирики против физика Православные требуют привлечь к ответственности академика Гинзбурга Graniru in Russian July 24, 2007 
  17. ^ a b c d Osipovich, Alexander November 9, 2009 "Russian bomb physicist Ginzburg dead at 93" AFP Archived from the original on April 13, 2010 Retrieved November 9, 2009 
  18. ^ "Dmitry Medvedev sent his condolences to the family of Nobel Prize Winner Vitaly Ginzburg following the scientist's passing" President of Russia: Official Web Portal November 9, 2009 Retrieved July 16, 2016 
  19. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2003" Nobel Foundation Retrieved November 9, 2009 

External links

  • Vitaly L Ginzburg, Autobiography in English at Nobelprizeorg
  • Ginzburg's homepage
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Open letter to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir V Putin
  • Obituary The Daily Telegraph 11 Nov 2009
  • Obituary The Independent November 14, 2009 by Martin Childs
  • in Russian Biography
  • in Russian Obituary

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