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An Intersting Paper about Landau January 19, 2009

Posted by keithkchan in fun stuffs, Journal club.

Today is one day before the start of the spring semester. I try to do something light. I found an interesting papers hep-th/0204295 about Lev Landau. It is a recollection by Boris Ioffe. Apparently I only know that this author is Russian, nothing else. Maybe more, he was one of the 43 guys (I supposed all of them were male, although i have no clue from their names) who passed the theoretical minimum.

In this article, the guy talks about Landau’s theoretical minimum, which is the entrance exam set by Landau, and people who wanted to be Landau’s students must pass. Obviously the student has to be very smart in order to pass the exam. One interesting thing is that the students had to know other foreign languages, e.g. German. Landau conducted the Landau’s seminar. His requirements on the presenter was very high. The presenter had to know as much as (maye even more than) the author of the paper when they presented it. Also the topics in the seminar span from particle physics to material science. Simply because Landau knew everything.  Landau sometimes gave a very different perspective from the author of the paper and ever said that the authors did not understand what they did. Landau had very strict rules about his seminar, e.g. (almost) nobody could be late.  But apparently there were two guys that got privileged in Landau’s seminar. They were Ginzburg and Midgal. BTW, I haven’t heard of Migdal much, am I ignorant?   There were also two interesting jokes played by Migdal and Pauli respectively, in Landau’s seminar. What are they? Look it up yourself. This paper is a very good passtime.



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