By J.W. Boag, P.E. Rubinin, D. Shoenberg
The bizarre profession of the well-known Soviet physicist Peter Kapitza used to be divided among Cambridge and Moscow. In Cambridge he was once a protegé of Rutherford and whereas learning there he unfolded a brand new quarter of study in magnetism and occasional temperature physics. even if, in 1934, in the course of a summer season stopover at to the Soviet Union, Kapitza used to be avoided from returning to Cambridge and remained in Moscow for the remainder of his lengthy existence. even with many ups and downs and massive problems in his family members with best political figures within the Kremlin, he persevered to augment his medical acceptance and past due in existence was once offered the Nobel Prize.
After an introductory biographical memoir, the better a part of the booklet involves extracts from the varied letters Kapitza wrote all through his lifestyles, letters that are unusual via their eloquence, the originality of his reviews and his forthrightness. His very attention-grabbing correspondence with Rutherford and especially his many letters to most sensible political figures within the Soviet Union akin to Molotov, Stalin and Khrushchev on questions of medical and commercial coverage are all integrated during this specified record. jointly they supply a rounded photograph of a notable character who contributed loads to the medical and cultural lifetime of either England and the Soviet Union.
This attention-grabbing publication is illustrated with a powerful choice of ancient photos and may be of curiosity to technological know-how historians, to low temperature physicists and to `Sovietologists', yet chiefly the booklet should still entice the overall reader for its human curiosity. a number of the letters show his emotional reactions to the most important blows he needed to endure on a number of events, whereas others supply penetrating and sometimes fun reviews on English lifestyles and associations as obvious through a Russian, and on Soviet existence from the inside.
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Additional info for Kapitza in Cambridge and Moscow. Life and Letters of a Russian Physicist
H e greatly valued his association with the College where he lived until he was married and where he continued to dine frequently during the rest of his time in Cambridge. He was particularly pleased when many years later (in 1966), he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship. In the spring of 1927 he went to Paris and from there, on 27 April, announced his marriage in the letter to Rutherford, reproduced in fig. 61 (see also p. 260), which incidentally illustrates Kapitza's very idiosyncratic spelling and English style.
Maisky, the Soviet Ambassador, in very diplomatic terms, he got eminent scientists abroad, such as Langevin and Bohr, to make discreet representations to Soviet establishment figures, and representations were made to Stanley Baldwin - at that time Prime Minister - to raise the question at a high diplomatic level. Nothing came of all these attempts, even though the whole affair had been kept private, so that no loss of face would have been involved if the Soviet authorities had made a concession.
I. Shalnikov, a very skilled young experimenter from Leningrad, whom he had intended to have working with him for a while in Cambridge, he toured Moscow looking for suitable sites. They settled on an attractive place on the Lenin Hills (originally called the Sparrow Hills) and the new Institute for Physical Problems (IFP) began to go up in May 1935. According to Khrushchev's memoirs - not the most reliable of sources - this choice site had originally been reserved for the American Embassy, but Stalin had taken against Bullitt, the then American Ambassador, and decreed that Kapitza should have it.