Stubbornness of a scientist eventually brings excellent academic results, although the recognition for his discoveries doesn’t always come.

A Revolutionary or a Scientist

The beginning of the 20thcentury in Russia and all over the world was the era of the establishment of capitalism, and it was also the time of lots of research that was aimed at improving the lives of ordinary people. Igor studied for a year at the Edinburg University, where he became very interested in the teachings of Marx. When the revolution of the 1917 happened, Igor got seriously involved in revolutionary activities and was making speeches at numerous meetings. Most of his speeches were of an anti-war nature. Igor was forced to choose between politics and science. And in 1919 he chose science.

A Teacher or a Scientist

In the beginning Tamm was teaching physics, but by 1925 he decided to focus entirely on science, despite the obvious lack of money.

Tamm selected to study the solid state physics.

Theory that Brought Tamm the Nobel Prize

Pavel Cherenkov discovered an amazing phenomenon in which a small particle, the electron, moving in liquid begins to emit light. Tamm together with Ilya Frank was able to create a coherent theory that fully explains this amazing phenomenon and can accurately predict the trajectory of this smallest of particles, the electron!

How to Understand This Discovery

If you are even slightly interested in physics, then you know that the speed of light is, perhaps, the fastest speed known to date (about 1 trillion kilometers per hour in a vacuum …. Not clear? In other words it is 3 000 000 times faster than the Ferrari).

Of course, when the light travels not in a vacuum but, for example, in liquid, itspeed changes. And most surprisingly, that the smallest particle, electron when moving in liquid can sometimessurpass the speed of light in this liquid while also emitting glow!

Tamm was Upset with the Decision of the Nobel Prize Committee

The scientist considered his most significant achievement the theory that he developed according to which during the nuclear disintegration with the emission of beta particles (particular electrons) there is an emergence of specific beta-forces, which in the absence of an electron keep the nucleus of an atom from complete destruction. These beta-forces were found by Tamm, although not strong enough to stabilize the nucleus, as suggested by other researchers.

Nuclear Project

Tamm was involved in a nuclear project. Moreover, it was a project to create the most terrible of weapons–a hydrogen bomb.

Tamm assembled a group of employees, which included, among others, some of his disciples: Vitaly Ginzburg (a future winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics) and Andrei Sakharov (a future winner of the Nobel Peace Prize). Two months later the group put forward the ideas that helped create a hydrogen bomb.

Tamm’s Children

Like in cases with many Soviet scientists, Tamm’s children also chose careers in science. His daughter Irina became a chemist who studied explosives. His son Eugene became a physicist, and also is widely known as a mountain climber, who led the first Soviet Himalayan expedition to Everest.

In addition, Tamm expressed his idea about ​​quanta of sound waves (“phonons”).


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The photo by Nobel foundation 

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