[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
August 30, 1965

The Man They Wouldn't Let Die

JAMA. 1965;193(9):747. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090090053032

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.

Abstract

Lev Landau, the eminent Russian physicist, lay dying after an automobile accident. His skull was fractured, his pelvis shattered, his viscera ruptured. Four times he seemed to slip away from life, and four times a team of specialists pulled him back.

This dramatic event led the author to prepare a popular biography of Landau the man. And just as dramatic as his return from apparent death is the story of his earlier days, when he assisted at the birth of a new physics. Bohr, Gamow, Pauli, Heisenberg, men who shaped the atomic age, move continually through Landau's life. Landau learned from them, argued with them, and, in turn, taught them.

Interwoven with these intellectual events of the 20's and 30's are the political upheavals of the same era. Russia was in turmoil and the wide-spread persecutions did not spare scientists. Landau himself, thrown into prison, escaped long internment only by

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×