Mikhail Leontovich ( February 22 ( March 7 ) 1903 - March 30, 1981 ) - Russian physicist and teacher, academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences ; The author of works on plasma physics , radiophysics . Winner of the Lenin Prize (1958), a gold medal to them. A.S. Popova of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1952)
|Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich|
|Date of Birth||February 22 ( March 7 ) 1903|
|Place of Birth||St. Petersburg , Russian Empire|
|Date of death||March 30, 1981 (78 years)|
|Place of death||Moscow , RSFSR , USSR|
|A country||the USSR|
|Place of work||MIPI , NIIF MSU , FIAN|
|Alma mater||University of Moscow|
|Academic degree||Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences ( 1935 )|
|Academic title||professor , |
Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences ( 1946 )
|supervisor||L. I. Mandelstam|
|Known as||author of works on plasma physics , radiophysics|
|Awards and prizes|
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich was born in St. Petersburg in a family with rich scientific traditions.
His father is a physiologist, in the future Alexander Vasilyevich Leontovich , a professor at Kiev University, who became an academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, his mother is an oculist Vera Kirpicheva.
He spent his childhood in the house of his maternal grandfather, an outstanding Russian mechanic V. L. Kirpicheva . In 1913 his family moved to Moscow, where he entered the first class of the gymnasium. His father at the time was a professor of animal physiology at the Agricultural Academy. KA Timiryazeva , the mother before the revolution worked in the hospital, and after that she was an employee of the children's sanatorium. She died before his majority, in 1919.
From 12-13 years old Leontovich had an interest in the natural sciences - geology, chemistry. He began to study higher mathematics in high school. At the end of 1918 he became a student of the City University. A. L. Shanyavsky , where he met with the enthusiasts-physicists T. K. Molody and E. V. Shpolsky. It was probably under their influence that in 1919 he entered the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of Moscow University , from which he graduated in 1923.
At the end of 1920, at the invitation of T. K. Molodoy, M. A. Leontovich went to work at the Institute of Biological Physics, in which S. I. Vavilov and E. V. Shpolsky worked at that time under the guidance of P. P. Lazarev .
In 1925, together with A.A. Andronov , A.A. Witt and S.E. Khaykin, became one of the first postgraduates of the outstanding Soviet physicist L.I. Mandelstam , during this period he did work in various fields of physics - the general theory of relativity , oscillation theory, optics and quantum mechanics.
In 1928, in collaboration with L. I. Mandel'shtam, he wrote a pioneering work on the study of the tunnel effect . His main interest, however, was focused on molecular optics — conducted at Moscow State University, and then at FIAN, experiments on the scattering of light in a liquid. He takes part in the creation of the classical theory of Raman scattering of light in crystals.
After graduating from graduate school, in 1928, Leontovich remained at work at the Research Institute of Physics of Moscow State University, becoming an associate professor, and then professor at the Moscow State University.
At the end of 1934, he moved to the post of senior research associate at the Laboratory of Oscillations at FIAN, then headed by N. D. Papaleksi . Due to the great depth and originality of his work, Mikhail Aleksandrovich immediately became one of the leading physicists of the institute.
In 1935, I. Ye. Tamm , the head of the theoretical department of FIAN, in the future - the Nobel Prize in Physics , in connection with the decision to award M. A. Leontovich the degree of doctor of physical and mathematical sciences without defending a thesis, characterized him as follows:
“Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich belongs to the number of outstanding theoretical physicists. Distinguished by extreme clarity of mind and critical depth of physical thought, rare and comprehensive erudition and proficient in mathematical apparatus, it is also a rare example of a physicist who combines a theoretician and an experimenter - along with theoretical ones, he also owns a number of experimental works. A number of his works relate to such heterogeneous areas as the theory of oscillations, quantum theory, and the theory of relativity. But his works on optics and statistical physics are most important.
[...] The work on the scattering of light naturally led M. A. Leontovich to the consideration of some common problems of statistical physics. In this area he achieved very important results, placing him among the most prominent specialists in statistical physics. So, they first gave a generalization of statistical methods to the case of continuous systems, established and investigated the concept of probability in the functional space, which allows to correctly raise and solve the question of the degree of dependence of fluctuations in different parts of the body. Very close to this work is also a very valuable study of the laws of fluctuation fluctuations over time. Along with the application of the developed methods to a number of physical problems, MA Leontovich has recently achieved substantial results in substantiating statistical physics from the point of view of the theory of random processes. ”
In 1941, Leontovich, together with the Physical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (like other scientific institutions), was evacuated to Kazan  .
In 1942, he was transferred to a theoretical laboratory for the development of a radionavigation guidance system for blind bombing, which was part of a radar institute — NII-108  , in which Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich was appointed the head of a theoretical group. Here Leontovich performs important theoretical work in the field of radiophysics .
Even in the laboratory of oscillations, he formulated the approximate boundary conditions for the electromagnetic field on the surface of well-conducting bodies  “Leontovich boundary conditions” made it possible to solve a large class of scientific problems and quickly entered radio physics and radio engineering.
In 1944 he published a number of major studies, among them the work on the general theory of thin wire antennas, written jointly with M. L. Levin; fundamental work on the propagation of radio waves along the surface of the Earth. He also proposed the idea of including fluctuation extraneous emfs in the equations of electrodynamics. This cycle of works of M. A. Leontovich becomes the basis of the Soviet theoretical school in radio physics. Also this year, his author's course “Statistical Physics” is published, and seven years later the book “Introduction to Thermodynamics”  .
In the summer of 1944, at the suggestion outlined in a letter from four academicians, he was a candidacy from scientists for the post of head of the department of theoretical physics at the Physics Department of Moscow State University  .
After the war
Immediately after the end of the Great Patriotic War, in 1945, Leontovich returned to work at FIAN, during the first post-war elections he was elected academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1947, after the death of N. D. Papaleksi , he took his place as head of the laboratory of vibrations. Until 1946 he continued to lecture at Moscow State University. In 1946-1954 teaches at MEPhI (where since 1949 he has headed the Department of Theoretical Physics). From 1947 to 1950 he headed the editors of physics at the Publishing House of Foreign Literature.
Since 1951, Leontovich has been in charge of theoretical research on controlled thermonuclear fusion at the Institute of Atomic Energy, taking up this post at the suggestion of I. Tamm . His first works on the calculation of electrodynamic forces arising from the displacement of the current channel relative to the conductive housing, on the stabilizing effect on the discharge of a strong longitudinal magnetic field, on the pinch discharge dynamics, served as the basis for numerous fundamental works of his students. For all the leading scientists gathered to solve the problem of creating thermonuclear plasma, M. A. Leontovich becomes the highest authority not only in scientific but also in universal questions. His principled and direct and open view of life for many years laid a healthy climate in the team, in the sphere of attention of Mikhail Alexandrovich.
In 1955 he signed the Letter of the Three Hundred .
In 1966, he signed a letter to 25 cultural and scientific figures to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, L. I. Brezhnev, against the rehabilitation of Stalin  .
Realizing the extraordinary complexity of the task of creating and keeping high-temperature plasma for a long time, Leontovich devotes most of his time to educating young theorists. He lectures at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, then from 1954 to 1971 again at Moscow State University, Head. Department of Quantum Theory (p. 1964 to 1971), is engaged in the selection of active students to work in the field of plasma physics, in which his in-depth knowledge of various areas of theoretical physics (electrodynamics, hydrodynamics, statistical physics, quantum theory, the theory of oscillations and fluctuations) turned out to be extremely fruitful .
Under his leadership, the theory of equilibrium, magnetohydrodynamic and numerous kinetic instabilities of plasma in a magnetic field, the theory of classical and anomalous turbulent processes in plasma, the theory of atomic processes and radiation in high-temperature plasma, in fact, all that is the basis of modern plasma physics, was created.
The theoretical school of M. A. Leontovich became the leader in the theory of high-temperature plasma for many years.
The scientific contribution of Mikhail Aleksandrovich is not limited only to his own works, magnificent books on thermodynamics and statistical physics, it is also contained in the works of his many direct and indirect students, those who participated in his theoretical seminars for decades, he - in the work of the schools he created on radiophysics and plasma physics.
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich died on March 30, 1981; He is buried in Moscow at Kuntsevo Cemetery .
Awards and prizes
- 3 orders of Lenin
- 5 Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (including 10.06.1945)
- Lenin Prize (1958)
- Statistical physics. - M .: 16th type. Trust "Polygraph book", 1944. - 256 p.
- Introduction to thermodynamics. - 2nd ed., Corr. - Leningrad: Gostekhizdat, 1951. - 200 p.
- Theoretical physics. - M .: Science, 1985. - 430 p.
- According to the memoirs of Academician A. M. Obukhov ,
“The density of the number of academicians, doctors and candidates of sciences per unit area (both service and residential) was, apparently, a record in the history of the development of science. In addition to science, there were urgent practical matters. For example, it was necessary to unload barges with firewood and wood. It should be noted that the majority of scientists, especially theorists, approached such practical problems in an unqualified manner. Once I was lucky - I got into a brigade led by a young and energetic corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Leontovich. It turned out that he was not inferior to professionals in this purely practical field. Working with full dedication, he showed by his example how to take a log on his shoulder, occasionally cheering us with a sharp word. Seeing his tall figure and feeling his eyes on him, all the members of the brigade somehow pulled themselves together and successfully carried out the task. ”
- SRI-108 on New Basman Street. The director of the institute was academician A.I. Berg , who invited M.A. Leontovich, V.A. Fock, and others to work.
- work was published only in 1948 .
- In 1983, both courses were republished in one book - Leontovich M. A. “Introduction to Thermodynamics. Statistical physics.
- A.V. Andreev . Physicists are not joking: Pages of social history of the Research Institute of Physics at Moscow State University (1922-1954). - M .: Progress-Tradition , 2000. - 318 p. - 1 000 copies - ISBN 5-89826-055-2 .
- Letters of science and culture against the rehabilitation of Stalin
- “Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich: Brief Essay on Life and Scientific Activity” // “Academician M. A. Leontovich: Scientist. Teacher. Citizen, ”Ed. "Science", M., 2003
- "" The Conscience of the Academy ": To the 100th anniversary of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich" // "Nature", № 3 2003
- Khramov Yu. A. Leontovich Mikhail Aleksandrovich // Physics: A Biographical Reference / Ed. A.I. Akhiezer . - Ed. 2nd, rev. and add. - M .: Science , 1983. - p. 162. - 400 p. - 200 000 copies (in the lane)
- Yuli Yavlinsky, “Stories of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich” // “Academician M. A. Leontovich: Scientist. Teacher. Citizen, ”Ed. "Science", M., 2003 p. 435—443.
- Aleksandrov A. P. , Velikhov E. P. , Ginzburg V. L. , Zeldovich Ya. B. , Kadomtsev B. B. , Lifshits E. M. , Prokhorov A. M. , Rytov S. M. , Sagdeev R Z. , Shafranov V.D. In memory of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Leontovich // Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk . - 1981. - T. 134 , № 4 . - S. 751–752 . - DOI : 10.3367 / UFNr.0134.198108m.0751 .