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One year ago: Vitaly Ginzburg

November 8, 2010 |  6:00 am

Ginzburg After Vitaly Ginzburg died a year ago, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called him "a remarkable and purpose-driven man ... whose professional career and personal life are examples of a citizen's service to his homeland."

That was an interesting choice of words to describe Ginzburg, who played a key role in the Soviet Union's development of the hydrogen bomb and who later won a Nobel Prize for his work on the theoretical underpinnings of superconductivity.

Until late in his life, Ginzburg was unable to travel abroad because his wife had been erroneously accused of participating in a plot to assassinate Josef Stalin. Ginzburg often said that his participation in the H-bomb project saved him from the firing squad.

Ginzburg and Alexei A. Abrikosov shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in physics with Anthony J. Leggett, who explained why helium became a superfluid when placed in a magnetic field at low temperatures.

Ginzburg's obituary appeared in The Times on Nov. 10, 2009.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Vitaly Ginzburg in 2003. Credit: Associated Press