Pyotr Kapitsa

Facts

Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

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 (now Russia)

Prize motivation: “for his basic inventions and discoveries in the area of low-temperature physics”

Prize share: 1/2

Work

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 Piotr Kapitsa developed a method for producing liquid helium in large quantities. This became very important for a number of experiments. Among other things, Kapitsa discovered in 1937 that at very low temperatures liquid helium flows without resistance. The phenomenon became known as superfluidity.

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