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By Khalatnikov. I. M.

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Extra resources for Landau: the Physicist & the Man. Recollections of L.D. Landau

Example text

This was 46 LANDAU: THE PHYSICIST AND THE MAN not so, and we could not make it so, nor could Landau, though he felt, as if anticipating Feynman, that it could be done. We had rows, but no progress. So, in the end, Landau exclaimed: 'Oh, to hell with you! ' We only needed permission to attack; we rushed ahead with frightful impetus. Having a very good knowledge of the Dirac matrices, we quickly found that our process had a kind of infinite amplitude (as anyone knows now who has studied the classification of divergences in quantum electrodynamics).

A friend drove, with myself behind him and Dau in the sidecar. He was terribly frightened, the wind made tears run down his face, but he said nothing. Only the next day did he acknowledge what terror he had endured. Dau was, of course, not one for sport, and his friends made goodnatured fun of him. I once found him trying to ski on the Vorob'evka. It looked like this. Most of the time he was talking away to friends, mainly to Migdal, while remaining stationary. At last, he decided to act. He walked a little way up the flat gully between two hills, pointed the skis down the slope, pointed the sticks forward and, laboriously getting the skis moving (as the slope was almost zero), slowly descended, eventually falling.

Then, in a completely logical manner, he would elicit more and more 29 30 LANDAU: THE PHYSICIST AND THE MAN complex ideas. One could more or less understand, but the gradient was so steep that those originally inattentive now could not summon up enough concentration and became completely lost. Again, it was useless to argue. Dau was sure that this was the only way to give a paper. Lifshitz was a far better lecturer, mainly because his beginning was not too elementary and his gradient was gentler.

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