Vitaly Ginzburg: when told about the Nobel prize, I thought it was a prank

Vitaly Ginzburg. © /

Vyacheslav Karatygin

/ RIA Novosti

3 October 2017, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the Nobel prize winners in physics this year. And an interview with Vitaly Ginzburg was made in October 2003 — shortly after the announcement that he was awarded the highest awards.

And was awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 2017?

Vitaly Ginzburg was a member of the RAS, member of foreign academies of Sciences, for many years headed the Department of theoretical physics Institute. P. N. Lebedev of RAS, adviser of the Directorate of the p. N. Lebedev physics Institute, awarded the State (Stalin) and the Lenin prize, the author of a large number of scientific papers — he began to study theory of superconductivity in 1943 in Kazan, during the evacuation. Seven years later, as a Professor of the University of Gorky, wrote the main work on this topic — “Theory of superconductivity”. And after more than half a century won the Nobel prize, which my colleagues have nominated him several times since the 1970-ies.

On 10 December 2003 in the great hall of the Stockholm Philharmonic society , the king of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf presented the 87-year-old Russian physics Nobel prize “for contribution to the theory of superconductors and superfluid liquids”. 1.32 million U. S. dollars Vitaly Lazarevich shared with two other professors, Alexei Abrikosov and Anthony Leggett.

The conscience of our science. The Memory Of Vitaly Ginzburg

Vitaly Ginzburg: I was somewhat surprised to learn that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded me a prize, — admitted Vitaly Lazarevich. — I really have put on her, I knew that, but somehow I was sure that this time again, will not, and indeed will not. Word about the prize you never thought, was sitting in his office at the Institute, wrote a letter. Suddenly — a phone call and a message in English that I was awarded the prize. I even thought: not a hoax? But when you were named the names of two other physicists, realized that this is hardly a joke. Said thanks, called his wife and continued to write the letter. But very soon on the radio or on the Internet there was information about it, I began to flock to the people and things in motion. Of course, I was happy, but I can’t say that he longed to receive this award… And you think I should have come in calfskin delight? Still, I am no longer young people to this way to respond to such events.

Tatyana Ulanova, Aephi Are a half-century ago, when in 1953 was awarded the Stalin prize, you reacted the same restraint?

— It’s been so long! I don’t remember how I felt back then. One thing I can say: compare these two awards, of course, impossible. After all, before the awarding of the Stalin prize I was accused of all mortal sins, including cosmopolitanism. Withdrew from the academic Council with the wording: “…to strengthen”. So the award was in some sense a rehabilitation. I sprang for me was starting a new life.

Photo: RIA Novosti/ Vyacheslav Karatygin

In Russia, the need to live a long time

— Then you were 37 years old, whole life ahead of you. But to receive an award, even a Nobel prize, 87, perhaps, too late?

— I do not think so. On the contrary, maybe now this award is more important to me. You know that expression: “In Russia, the need to live a long time”? Well… to Be that old as I am, not very good. It is clear that there are great little. So to receive the Nobel prize in my age nice. I love science, dedicated to her life and happy it worked in our physics Institute. The award is in some sense the completion of my work.

Is there any chance for Russian scientists to receive this year’s Nobel prize?

— There is much talk about the fact that Nobel laureates in physics for Russia negligible that it does not correspond to the contribution of our scientists in the development of world science…

Is pseudo-patriotism. The Nobel Committee, of course, makes mistakes. For example, in 1928, was revealed to Raman scattering, known as Raman effect. We did it in the University of Moscow, Mandelstam and Landsberg, and in India is completely independent and at the same time (time difference was literally a week) — Raman and Krishnan. It happens. Our country is big mistake of the Nobel Committee. But to blame it was more we ourselves, then, Soviet physics. Ramana introduced a huge number of people, our scientists — in fact only one Professor Hvolson. We do not like to take care of their. The Americans for example, are extremely concerned about this, agree to represent someone from colleagues. Besides, the American physicist is generally more powerful than ours. In the United States are now investing in science to 50 times more than in Russia. In the Soviet Union and we had a lot invested, but largely in new weapons. But a Nobel prize is not given. Besides, don’t forget, it is given for research of a fundamental nature, not applied. We had good physics, but the emphasis is on applied research… once again, the Nobel Committee got it wrong, when not given the award to Yevgeny Konstantinovich Zavoisky, in 1940-ies discovered an interesting phenomenon — electronic paramagnetic resonance. First colleagues deliberately did not put it, then began to push (including myself), and maybe after many years, he would have received this high award. But… died. I’m telling you — there is still important to live. I, too, could die without receiving this award.

In the United States are now investing in science to 50 times more than in Russia. In the Soviet Union and we had a lot invested, but largely in new weapons. But a Nobel prize is not given.

Vitaly Ginzburg

I do not understand those who went abroad

You said that Russia is not very accepted to nominate for the Nobel prize…

— There is nedostatok.

— Some of your colleagues were, to put it mildly, not happy that this year it got you?

— No negativity I felt. I was literally inundated with telegrams, and, as said before, judging by the flood of greetings, the atmosphere was absolutely benevolent. Moreover, I, as you know, no one asked. Perhaps some did it based on their responsibilities, others out of courtesy, and others congratulated themselves and quietly envied. Well, we are all people-people…

Nobel laureate in physics, Alexei Abrikosov. Dossier

— The talk of the town began talking about what our science is poor as a Church mouse, funds from the budget allocated is negligible, and the wages of physicists just miserable. Why haven’t you gone to the West, as, for example, the Apricots?

— I?! Yes, I have thoughts like this never happened. And I’ll tell you honestly: even if it would be possible to leave early, I still wouldn’t do it. When I was young, about to leave the USSR, could not be considered. Except in the GULAG. In other places in those years was not allowed. And when they began to start up, I get old. A living wage was, and magnificent castles I don’t need, I’m not used to it. Why leave, if you have the opportunity to work here? When the person leaves the country for the sake of the family, that children are not starving, it is reasonable. Those who just went abroad, I must admit I don’t understand.

— And your wife Nina have never complained that you could live better?

No, No… Nina at the time was in prison for political article. And happy now though, because it is a free man.

Photo: RIA Novosti/ Dmitry Korobeinikov

Not divorced — then, more or less well

— You guys met in Gorky, when she was serving there a link?

— It was a well-known fact — the young people were accused that they were going to shoot comrade Stalin. Remember, the writers were Dong and fried? It’s her high school buddies. “Odnogolosy”, so to speak… of Course this was fake, but the guys suffered a lot.

— Linking life with Nina Ivanovna, you too could suffer.

I sense a fatalist. Yes, could suffer. But… I will Tell you this: personally, I wouldn’t respect a man who married a woman because he was afraid to get hurt.

— Your spouse is also a scientist?

— Well, in a sense. She was a very able student, but the Soviet government broke her life. Arrest, prison, Amnesty… When she was released, she was made not in Moscow, and at the Polytechnic Institute under Bitter. At the end had the distribution to go to hell, but because I remained in Gorky, in the faculty of foreign languages received the second higher education. And only after the death of “great leader and teacher” in 1953 were able to return to Moscow. In 1956 she was rehabilitated, she went to work in the cryogenic laboratory of Moscow state University. Ph. D., wanted to work with computers — she has a very good mathematical ability. But… it never happened.

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— Do you think it hard with you? I think physicists have a special character…

— Why?.. However, about himself of course, I can’t judge. But, in my opinion, physicists — people like people. We’re with Nina Ivanovna, a 57 years married. Again not divorced, then, more or less well.

— And who have become your children, grandchildren?

— Nina Ivanovna has no children. But I have a daughter from a previous marriage. With my first wife we went to school together at the University. In 1937 I got married (when I was 21), in 1939 we had a daughter. But in 1946 we were divorced. Of course, it was bitter. I was very worried. I’m not one of those who easily leaves the baby… So the daughter always cared, and now we have a great relationship. She graduated from the University, became a candidate of Sciences. Daughter gave her grandchildren (and me — great grandchildren) and she absolutely went crazy with happiness. Left work and deals only with them.

— Heard that’s what grandchildren are you going to give the money owed to you as a Nobel laureate?

— This question is very interested in all. So I want to clarify. On the one hand, the money for me don’t really matter. And with another — the amount that I receive (300-400 thousand dollars), is absolutely worthless to do anything significant. In Moscow so it is flat. Well, isn’t it?

— Nice apartment.

— Yes, about this I live now. I received it, however, at the age of 70 years, before sipping only what is believed to be a Soviet man. He lived in a communal apartment… So, what you can spend the money received, say, from the sale of a nice apartment? Don’t get me wrong. Of course I’m glad, and thanks, as they say, the Nobel prize Committee. But in order to do something in physics is to help the lab people, you need millions of dollars. One small device, for example, is worth half a million. Corporoplasty I personally do not chic cottage itself are not going to build. So the money will go to his wife, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and anyone else who needs help.

The amount that I receive (300-400 thousand dollars), is absolutely worthless to do anything significant. In Moscow so it is flat.

Vitaly Ginzburg

Would be happy to believe in an afterlife

— As a Nobel laureate, you now will be easier to solve any problems?

— Of course. For example, I very actively speak, you can even say the fight against pseudoscience. We have just the dominance nonsense — astrology including. I’ve published many critical articles, and now my weight in that respect will be even greater. In addition, I am an atheist, and I resent the clericalization of the country. I’m not against religion, whether you believe I am for freedom of conscience. Blessed are those who believe, as they say. But what is happening now… Here you are, for example, an atheist?

Deuce again! Who is to blame for the impoverishment of Russian talent?

— Unfortunately, no.

— Why “unfortunately”?

— Are unable to support you in this matter.

— Well, you! I have great respect, even envy those people. Are you a Christian?

— Yes, Orthodox.

— I would be happy to believe in an afterlife. I 87 years, it is clear that soon — nothing to do — go to the light. It can be painful for loved ones. But my mind does not allow any of this to believe… Ignorant, unworthy people or lowliest demagogues, citing the fact that in Soviet times was the so-called militant atheists, as they now identify with atheists. Well, I’m sorry! It’s the same as if a Catholic Inquisitor likened the…

Photo: RIA Novosti/ Chernov

The joke came in a tuxedo to work

— Vitaly Lazarevich, let’s go back to your premium. At the ceremony, all winners-men should be in tuxedos…

— No, No, don’t buy it, I will not. I had the money for it. But why do I? In my life, it was a great story with a tuxedo, when in 1967 I traveled for three months in Cambridge. High Lunches a kind of techniques at this College made to go in a Tux. I decided not to stand out and also bought. Reviled three months in England, and when he returned to Moscow, I decided, just for fun, come in it to work. Well, a good laugh with colleagues a bit. And since this costume was I did not need, I calmly gave his friend musician. In short, buy now coat me absolutely nowhere. Is that colleagues once again to amuse.

— That is going to rent?

— Yes, in Stockholm this thing is good. I’m not the only one. Even in the paper you sent me from the Nobel Committee, says that I have to specify its size to my arrival I picked up a coat.

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— Probably a lot of the problems associated with the award?

— Sorry. And it makes me very uncomfortable. The fact that you can invite a few people, I want to go with relatives, but need to make some paper, make a large number of calls, and it’s not scary like. But what to do?.. Honestly, I’m more interested now to prepare, and in December to read the 40-minute lecture. This is a very important moment for me. Still, the element of vanity in my nature present. But the entourage certainly curious. As they say in such cases? To show themselves, to look at others?.. Well, I should like it.

— In this sense probably more concerned about your wife? She, too, needs to be in a special dress?

Yes, she was going today something to watch. She was given instruction: the shoulders must not be exposed. But on this occasion, I think the organizers need not worry. My wife is not so young woman to bare shoulders.

— In General, were you surprised by the excitement that arose in Russia in connection with the awarding of your Nobel prize?

— Yes! I even somehow awkward. In my opinion, the population took the news in a kind of global scale that surprised me. Although what is special is that the scientist received the award? He was pleased his family. But to make it an event of global significance?! Honestly, if someone won the prize, I would have reacted to this quite calmly.

After receiving the Nobel prize winner Vitaly Ginzburg lived another 6 years and left in 2009. before the age of 93… Say, shortly before his death he had a conversation with an Orthodox priest and, apparently, even confessed…


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