Moscow: Gostekhizdat, 1955. Item #1829
140 pp. 20,5x13,5 cm. In original cloth with colored lettering. Shelf-wearing, otherwise very good.
First and only edition. One of 10,000 copies. Scarce.
The book contains lectures on the main concepts of nuclear theory by Nobel laureate, Lev Landau and his former student Yakov Smorodinsky. In 1954, the lectures were delivered to experimental physicists by Landau.
Born into a Baku-based Jewish family, Lev Landau (1908-1968) enrolled in the Baku University but transferred to Leningrad University in 1924. Two years later Landau published his debut works on theoretical physics. In 1929-1931, the People’s Commissariat for Education sent him abroad to continue his education in European universities. During this trip, he was greatly influenced by Niels Bohr. In 1932-1937, Landau headed the Department of Theoretical Physics at the National Scientific Center Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and he lectured at the University of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute. There Landau became the principal founder of a great tradition of theoretical physics, sometimes referred to as the “Landau school”. In Kharkiv, he and his friend and former student, Evgeny Lifshitz, began writing the Course of Theoretical Physics, ten volumes that together span the whole of the subject and are still widely used. During the Great Purge, Landau was investigated within the UPTI Affair in Kharkiv, then he managed to leave for Moscow. In April 1938, Landau was arrested for a leaflet which compared Stalinism to German Nazism and Italian Fascism. He had been holding in the Lubyanka prison for a year and was released after letters from Kapitsa and Bohr to Stalin. Later Landau led a team of mathematicians supporting Soviet atomic and hydrogen bomb development. He calculated the dynamics of the first Soviet thermonuclear bomb. For this work Landau received the Stalin Prize in 1949 and 1953, and was awarded the title “Hero of Socialist Labour” in 1954.
In 1962, Landau received the Nobel prize in Physics “for his pioneering theories for condensed matter, especially liquid helium”.
Some years earlier he co-wrote these lectures together with Yakov Smorodinsky (1917-1992) who later became a notable figure in nuclear physics. After graduating from the Faculty of Physics of Leningrad State University in 1939, Smorodinsky entered graduate school under Lev Landau at the Institute of Physical Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences, where he worked until 1944. Then Smorodinsky was employed in Laboratory No. 2 of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He was engaged in the development of theoretical issues of atomic physics, creating the theory of cascades of diffusion machines for separating uranium isotopes. In 1946-1955, Smorodinsky’s experiments were held on the base of the Moscow Mechanical Institute.
Worldcat shows copies located in LoC, Columbia, Harvard, California, Princeton, Ohio, Washington, Texas, Brown, Pennsylvania Universities, NYPL.