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Scientist Sergei Kapitsa dies at 85

August 14, 2012, 15:05 UTC+3
For 35 years, he was head of the country’s largest department of physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
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MOSCOW, August 14 (Itar-Tass) — Well-known scientist Sergei Kapitsa died in Moscow on Tuesday. He was 85, said sources at the World of Science magazine and the Obvious and the Incredible TV program which Kapitsa has led for years.

Sergei P.Kapitsa was born in Cambridge in 1928 where his father, an outstanding physicist and a future Nobel Prize laureate, was on a business trip at the time. His mother, Anna A.Krylova, was a daughter of famous shipbuilder Alexei Krylov. His godfather was famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

The family moved to Moscow in 1935. Sergei Kapitsa graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute. In 1961, he received his doctoral degree in physics and mathematics.

He worked at the central aerohydrodynamic institute, but later was fired due to the persecution of his father. Kapitsa worked at a geophysics institute, and the Pyotr Kapitsa Institute of Physical Problems.

For 35 years, he was head of the country’s largest department of physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

He was head of Scientific American, the world of science magazine for 30 years on which several generations of scientists grew up. In the recent years, he has actively studied the problems of the information society, globalization and demography. In a relatively short period, he wrote dozens of articles on a model of hyperbolic growth of Earth's population. Recently, his book titled "Growth Paradox. The Laws of Human Development was reprinted.

Kapitsa was anchor of the Obvious and the Incredible TV show for 40 years, which went on the air for the first time on February 24, 1973, and the Guinness Book of Records listed him as the anchor with longest service record.

In the recent years, the program was aired on the Culture channel.

Kapitsa is the pioneer of underwater swimming. He shot the first Soviet underwater film about the Sea of Japan which had success at international film festivals, including at the Cannes festival, and it was second only to Jacques Yves Cousteau's.

He was a member of the European Academy, the Washington-based World Academy of Art and Science, a Kalinga Prize laureate awarded by UNESCO for outstanding popularization of science, a laureate of the State Prize and the Russian Academy of Science's prize for popularization of science, and a member of the Russian academy "Internet."

In 2012, Kapitsa was awarded the first gold medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences for outstanding achievements in the field of promotion of scientific knowledge.

Member of the presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov called the death of the legendary scientist a "tremendous loss."

"He was a person who's done unbelievably much for science, culture and education," Fortov said, "Kapitsa was a person of broad views, and he told about the science in such a manner that even the scientist engaged in that particular field could not turn away from the screen."

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