Google honoured notable physicist Lev Landau on his 111th birthday with an intriguing doodle on Tuesday. The Soviet physicist was born in Azerbaijan’s Baku on January 22, 1908, as the son of an engineer and a physician. But though he excelled within academia, he struggled socially and found it difficult as a child to relate to his schoolmates. Landau was just 13 when he began university and 21 when he finished his PhD, winning a coveted Rockerfeller scholarship which launched his career as a groundbreaking scientist.
During 1932 – 1937 he was head of the Theoretical Department of the Ukrainian Physico-Technical Institute at Kharkov, and in 1937 he was the head of the Theoretical Department of the Institute for Physical Problems of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Moscow. Simultaneously he taught constantly as a professor of theoretical physics in the Kharkov and Moscow State Universities.
Landau’s work covers all branches of theoretical physics, ranging from fluid mechanics to quantum field theory. A large portion of his papers refers to the theory of the condensed state. In 1946 he was elected to the membership of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. The U.S.S.R. State Prize was awarded to him several times, and in 1962 he received, jointly with E.M. Lifshitz, the Lenin Science Prize for their Course of Theoretical Physics. He co-discovered the density matrix method in quantum mechanics, theory of second-order phase transitions, theory of Fermi liquid, the Ginzburg-Landau theory of superconductivity among others.
"His (Landau's) wide-ranging research has linked his name to many concepts that he was first to describe including: Landau Levels, which are the focus of today's Doodle, Landau diamagnetism, Landau damping, and the Landau energy spectrum", Google said in a post explaining the doodle. In 1961, he received the Max Planck Medal and the Fritz London Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his research into liquid helium's behavior at extremely low temperatures in 1962.