Lev Landau was a Soviet physicist who made some of the most significant discoveries in physics during the 20th century.
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, on this day in 1908, Landau was a child prodigy brilliant at math and science, but struggled in relating to his classmates. He completed his studies by the age of 13 and was ready to start college much before his classmates who described Landau as a "quiet, shy boy" in school. His father was an engineer with an oil firm and his mother a doctor.
Later, he joined the Physics Department of Leningrad University, in 1924, where his first paper, On the Theory of the Spectra of Diatomic Molecules, was already in print when he was just 18-years-old. Having completed his Ph.D. at the age of 21, Landau earned a Rockefeller fellowship and a Soviet stipend which allowed him to visit research facilities in Zurich, Cambridge, and Copenhagen, where he had the opportunity to study with Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr. Renowned for his work in quantum theory, Bohr had a profound impact on his mind.
Lev Landau 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", says Google in a post explaining the doodle.
Lev Landau was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his research into liquid helium's behavior at extremely low temperatures in 1962.