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January 22nd is Lev Davidovich Landau's birthday. Landau was the main leader of Soviet theoretical physics and a central figure in the development of quantum electrodynamics.

In the few years before World War II, he studied extensively in other European scientific centers and met with many of the pioneering physicists of the time. He published his theory of diamagnetism of a metal's electrons at the age of 22. He returned to the Soviet Union to create one of the most rigorous theoretical physics schools in the world. He produced work on a multitude of topics involving quantum mechanics, relativistic quantum theory, field theory, thermodynamics and solid state matter. His research in low temperature physics and his theory involving the superfluidity of helium-II would earn him the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics. His theory showed that liquid helium cooled to nearly absolute zero would become a "super fluid" where the viscosity and thermal conductivity would become zero.

Landau's career came to an end when in 1962, he was involved in a car accident from which, he never really recovered. Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.


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