Evgeny Lifshitz
Евгений Лифшиц
Evgeny Mikhailovich Lifshitz

(1915-02-21)February 21, 1915
DiedOctober 29, 1985(1985-10-29) (aged 70)
Known forLifshitz theory of van der Waals force
Landau–Lifshitz–Gilbert equation
Landau–Lifshitz model
BKL singularity
Lifschitz point
Landau–Lifshitz force
Landau–Lifshitz pseudotensor
Landau–Lifshitz aeroacoustic equation
Course of Theoretical Physics
AwardsLenin Prize
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Kharkiv, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute
Doctoral advisorLev Landau
Doctoral studentsLev Pitaevskii

Evgeny Mikhailovich Lifshitz[1] ForMemRS[2] (Ukrainian: Євге́н Миха́йлович Лі́фшиць, Russian: Евге́ний Миха́йлович Ли́фшиц; February 21, 1915 – October 29, 1985) was a leading Soviet physicist and brother of the physicist Ilya Lifshitz.


Born into a Ukrainian Jewish family in Kharkiv, Kharkov Governorate, Russian Empire (now Kharkiv, Ukraine). Lifshitz is well known in the field of general relativity for coauthoring the BKL conjecture concerning the nature of a generic curvature singularity. As of 2006, this is widely regarded as one of the most important open problems in the subject of classical gravitation.[3]

With Lev Landau, Lifshitz co-authored Course of Theoretical Physics, an ambitious series of physics textbooks, in which the two aimed to provide a graduate-level introduction to the entire field of physics. These books are still considered invaluable and continue to be widely used.

Lifshitz was the second of only 43 people ever to pass Landau's "Theoretical Minimum" examination. He made many invaluable contributions, in particular to quantum electrodynamics, where he calculated the Casimir force in an arbitrary macroscopic configuration of metals and dielectrics.

A special multicritical point, the Lifshitz point, carries, since 1975, his name.


Landau and Lifshitz suggested in the third volume of the Course of Theoretical Physics that the then-standard periodic table had a mistake in it, and that lutetium should be regarded as a d-block rather than an f-block element. Their suggestion was fully vindicated by later findings,[4][5][6][7] and in 1988 was endorsed by a report of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).[8]

See also


  1. ^ Some commonly encountered alternative transliterations of his names include Yevgeny or Evgenii and Lifshits or Lifschitz.
  2. ^ Zel'Dovich, Y. B.; Kaganov, M. I.; Sykes, J. B. (1990). "Evgenii Mikhailovich Lifshitz. 21 February 1915-29 October 1985". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 36: 336. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1990.0035.
  3. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Evgeny Lifshitz", MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, University of St Andrews
  4. ^ Wittig, Jörg (1973). "The pressure variable in solid state physics: What about 4f-band superconductors?". In H. J. Queisser (ed.). Festkörper Probleme: Plenary Lectures of the Divisions Semiconductor Physics, Surface Physics, Low Temperature Physics, High Polymers, Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, of the German Physical Society, Münster, March 19–24, 1973. Advances in Solid State Physics. Vol. 13. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 375–396. doi:10.1007/BFb0108579. ISBN 978-3-528-08019-8.
  5. ^ Matthias, B. T. (1969). "Systematics of Super Conductivity". In Wallace, P. R. (ed.). Superconductivity. Vol. 1. Gordon and Breach. pp. 225–294. ISBN 9780677138107.
  6. ^ William B. Jensen (1982). "The Positions of Lanthanum (Actinium) and Lutetium (Lawrencium) in the Periodic Table". J. Chem. Educ. 59 (8): 634–636. Bibcode:1982JChEd..59..634J. doi:10.1021/ed059p634.
  7. ^ Scerri, Eric R (2020). The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, New York, ISBN 978-0190914363
  8. ^ Fluck, E. (1988). "New Notations in the Periodic Table" (PDF). Pure Appl. Chem. 60 (3): 431–436. doi:10.1351/pac198860030431. S2CID 96704008. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.

For more information about Evgeny Lifshitz’s work, you can read ‘A Brief History of Time’ and ‘Brief Answers to the Big Questions’, both by the acclaimed author and scientist Stephen Hawking.