Russian Physicist Vitaly Ginzburg – “Uncompromising”

Many colleagues of Ginzburg call him “The Last Dinosaur” for this enormous outlook in physics.

“In science, the most important thing is to ask the right questions.”

Vitaly Ginzburg

Scientific results and directions of work of Vitaly Ginzburg are very extensive – the quantum theory of the Vavilov-Cherenkov effect, works on dissemination of radio waves, the theory of transition radiation (with I. Franko), contribution to the theory of phase transitions, to the theory of excitons, to crystal optics, works in astrophysics and so on.

Ginsburg is reading his Nobel lecture at the Moscow State University

Ginsburg is reading his Nobel lecture at the Moscow State University (2004). Emaus

How Ginsburg Became a Theoretical Physicist

Ginsburg has repeatedly said that he believed that he had average mathematical abilities, without which working in theoretical physics is practically impossible. And so he decided to take up optics. One day Ginzburg had an idea of explaining a particular effect. And he decided to take that idea to Igor Tamm, who once taught him physics. Tamm was very interested in what Ginzburg had to say and got Ginzburg excited about it, and asked him to come by and talk about the progress of the research. It was very helpful for the development of Ginzburg as a scientist.

The theory of Superconductivity and Superfluidity

Together with Lev Landau Ginsburg developed the semi phenomenological theory of superconductivity (Ginzburg-Landau theory), which became the basis of the microscopic theory of Bardeen – Cooper – Schrieffer.

Later Ginsburg together with Lev Pitaevsky developed the semiphenomenological theory of superfluidity (Ginzburg–Pitaevski theory).

Later still Ginzburg formulated the criterion in the theory of the mean-field in the phase transitions of type II (Ginzburg criterion).

For these particular works in the field of superconductivity and superfluidity, Ginzburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Radio Astronomy

Radio astronomy is another area of ​​interest for Vitaly Ginzburg.

Ginsburg predicted that the outer regions of the solar corona (which can be seen if you close the sun with something round; but don’t do it because looking at the sun can damage your eyes!) emit radio waves. Subsequently, this phenomenon has been discovered!

He offered a variety of new methods for studying the outer space, which today have been successfully implemented, enriching our knowledge about the universe.

“Militant Atheist”

Ginzburg was an atheist. And he was not hiding that fact, although in recent years in Russia the converse has been in vogue.

Ginzburg respected the feelings of believers, and even to some extent envied them, because they have some comfort during old age. Although he believed that in Russia now religion became fashionable, and the number of believers in Russia today and in olden Russia is virtually unchanged.

At the same time, Ginzburg was against clericalism in the daily life of the secular state, which Russia is in accordance with the Constitution; especially in the field of education.

Ginsburg believed that it is impossible to combine the virgin birth, the resurrection, and other phenomena described in religious books with scientificallyproven and established facts. At the same time he called on to respect the Bible as a source of historical and cultural information that have had an unprecedented impact on the many cultural works, which without at least a superficial knowledge of the Bible would be impossible to understand.

Ginzburg was married to a former political prisoner,  did not shy away from expressing his opinions publicly and openly criticizing everything that he did not like; but all public campaigns against Ginzburg came to nothing, which, as he believed, was explained by his work on the hydrogen bomb project.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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