Soviet Physicist, 1908-1968

Landau was born in Azerbaijan and quickly began to distinguish himself in theoretical and mathematical physics. A student of Niels Bohr, the depth and breadth of his research is staggering, ranging from condensed matter physics to quantum field theory to atomic and nuclear physics.

Landau was jailed by Stalin in 1938 on the suspicion of his being a German spy. There is no evidence that this accusation contained the slightest element of truth and it is likely that he was simply a victim of Stalin's purges. He was imprisoned for a year and was freed after a number of notable physicists sent letters to Stalin asking for his release

Perhaps Landau's greatest achievements came in the field of quantum liquids where, among other things he successfully predicted superfluidity in ultracold helium. Another significant contribution (which was to foreshadow many decades of future research) was his Landau Theory (aka Landau Phenomenological Theory), a mean-field theory which serves as a basis for understanding a broad range of physical problems, most notably phase transitions and magnetisation.

Landau is also rather famous for authoring a number of textbooks on a broad range of subjects in physics, including the multi-volume "Course in Theoretical Physics" which he co-authored with his student Evgenij Lifschitz.

Landau received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1962 "for his pioneering theories for condensed matter, especially liquid helium".