Anatoly Larkin, world-renowned physicist, dies
Contacts: Mark Cassutt, University News Service, (612) 624-8038
(08/12/2005) —Anatoly Larkin, University of Minnesota professor and world-renowned physicist, died unexpectedly Thursday, Aug. 4, in Aspen, Colo., where he was attending a workshop. He was 72. Larkin was a major contributor to the fundamental understanding of superconductivity and the theory of phase transitions. His research was also instrumental to the study of the physics of one-dimensional systems and clusters used in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Larkin was born Oct. 14, 1932, in the Moscow region of the former Soviet Union. He received his masters of science degree from the Moscow Physical Engineering Institute in 1956, where he worked as a researcher for nine years. During this time he received his doctorate degree from the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. From 1966 to 1995, Larkin was a department head at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics. He concurrently worked as a Moscow State University professor for 21 of these years. Larkin joined the University of Minnesota physics faculty in 1995 as the William I. and Bianca M. Fine Professor at the William I. Fine Theoretical Physics Institute.
Larkin is best known for his groundbreaking research in condensed matter theory, and in particular, superconductivity, which is the ability of some metals to conduct electricity without any resistance at a sufficiently low temperature. His seminal work Effect of Fluctuations on the Properties of a Superconductor above the Critical Temperature predicted the phenomenon of paraconductivity in superconducting materials. He also developed the theory of the collective pinning of vortices in superconductors and the theory of weak localization and negative magnetoresistance in disordered metals. Larkins most recent research was focused on fluctuation phenomena in superconductors and quantum chaotic systems.
Anatoly Larkin was a giant in the field of condensed matter theory and a great teacher of theoretical physicists. His ideas revolutionized thinking about superconducting fluctuations and the properties of magnetic vortices in superconductors, said Allen Goldman, head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota.
Larkin was one of the founding fathers of the famous Russian school of theoretical physics. Many of his former students hold leading academic positions at universities and institutes in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and Israel, and continued to work with Larkin up to his death. In the 10 years Larkin spent in Minnesota, he published more than 50 papers (five in the last year alone) and most recently, a 600-page book, Theory of Fluctuations in Superconductors (with A. Varlamov, University of Rome).
Larkin was one of the very few scientists with a universal knowledge of condensed matter physics. His work actually created important new directions in this field. He was a physicist with seminal results, deep knowledge and a genuine interest in the most diverse and complex branches of modern physics, said Leonid Glazman, McKnight Presidential Chair of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Minnesota.
Among his many awards and notable achievements, Larkin received the London Prize in Low Temperature Physics in 1990, the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize in 1993, the Humboldt Award in 1993, the World Congress of Superconductivity Award of Excellence in 1994, the Onsager Prize in 2002 and the John Bardeen Prize in 2003. He was a full member of the Russian Academy of Science (1991) and a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Science (1979).
Larkin is survived by his wife, Tatiana; two sons, Ivan (Moscow) and Victor (Minneapolis); four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Larkins remains were cremated in Colorado and the ashes will be buried in Moscow. No local memorial service has been announced at this time.