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Papers of Piotr Leonidovich Kapitza

Reference Code: GBR/0014/KPZA

Scope and Contents

The material was mainly collected by Professor David Schoenberg while he was writing the Royal Society Memoir of Kapitza in 1985. Régis Brun provided additional correspondence to, from and about Kapitza in 2007. This is a small collection of papers, pamphlets, letters and extracts from published sources relating to Kapitza. It includes xerox copies.


  • Creation: 1900 - 1994

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Kapitza was born in Kronstadt, Russia, 26 June 1894. He married Nadejda Tschernosvitoff and after she died he married Anna Kryloff, in 1927, and they had two sons. Kapitza was a Lecturer at Petrograd Politechnical Institute, 1919-1921. He was at Cambridge University, 1923-1926 and was a Fellow of Trinity College. He was Assistant Director of Magnetic Research at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, 1924-1932. Kapitza worked with Rutherford until 1935 when he to Russia on holiday and permission to return to England was refused and he was made Director of a new Institute for Physical Problems of the Academy of Sciences. He played an important role in the Sputnik satellite programme from 1955 onwards Kapitza was awarded numerous medals and prizes for his work including the Nobel Prize for his contribution to low temperature physics (jointly) in 1978 and the Order of Lenin, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1964, 1971, 1974. Kapitza's publications include "Collected Papers", in 3 volumes, 1964-1967; "Experiment, Theory, Practice", 1980 and various publications on physics, mainly on magnetism, cryogenics and high temperature plasma in scientific journals. Kapitza died 8 April 1984.


17 file(s)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and at the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This bulk of the collection was given to Churchill Archives Centre by Professor David Shoenberg, Department of Physics, University of Cambridge in 1992. The contents of KPZA 8 were deposited by Dr Peter Squire. KPZA 9 was passed to Churchill Archives Centre by the Master of Churchill College in 1977.


The papers in KPZA 1-7 and 10-16 were left in the order in which Schoenberg had kept them.

Existence and Location of Originals

The originals of the xeroxes are held in the Rutherford Archives at the University Library of Cambridge, the Russian Archives at the University Library of Leeds and in the Niel Bohr Institute.

Related Materials

Material relating to Kapitza can be found in the Cockcroft Papers (ref. GBR/0014/CKFT 7) and the Dirac Papers (ref. GBR/0014/DIRC) held at Churchill Archives Centre.

Related Materials

The Library of the Royal Society holds the majority of Kapitza's writings.


This file level description was prepared by Louise King of Churchill Archives Centre in August 2004. Biographical information was obtained from Who's Who 1897-1996 (A&C Black) and from the original list of the papers.


Kapitza, Piotr Leonidovich, 1894-1984, scientist

2004-08-23 09:51:39+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
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