Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1978
Born: 9 July 1894, Kronshtadt, Russian Empire (now Russia)
Died: 8 April 1984, Moscow, USSR (now Russia)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Academy of Sciences, Moscow, USSR
Prize motivation: "for his basic inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics."
Prize share: 1/2
When substances are cooled to very low temperatures, their properties change. In this regard, liquid helium is of great interest, both because of its own properties and as a means of cooling other substances. In 1934 Pyotr Kapitsa developed a method for producing liquid helium in large quantities. This became very important for a number of experiments. Among other things, Pyotr Kapitsa discovered in 1937 that at very low temperatures liquid helium flows without resistance. The phenomenon became known as superfluidity.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.