P L Kapitsa - Letters to Mother: The Early Cambridge Period
David Lockwood (Ed)
National Research Council of Canada 1989
120 pages. Soft Cover.
11 black/white photos.
Out of Print. Some copys are available from the author, firstname.lastname@example.org
My Comments on This Book.
Whilst not strictly a book about Rutherford, it is a book of letters a young Russian
physicist, Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa, wrote home to his mother, from the time he left
Russia in 1921 as part of a delegation to purchase scientific equipment for the research
institutes which were being established in Petrograd, until 1926, when he first returned
to Russia on a visit. In July of 1921 the delegation visited Cambridge and it was agreed
that Peter Kapitsa would work with Rutherford for a year to gain research experience. (He
stayed until 1934 at which time Russia refused to grant him an exit visa after a trip
home.) So these letters give a fascinating view of Rutherford as seen by a young
David Lockwood is a
New Zealand born and educated physicist who has spent his working life with the National
Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. David did his first three degrees at the University of
Canterbury, Rutherford's old university, (and was awarded a DSc from there in 2000). So
Canadian scientists told David of Kapitsa's only visit to Canada in 1969, and of their
other encounters with him.
In 1986 Novy Mir
published these letters (in Russian). David thought the letters deserved a wider
audience. His Russian wife, Eugenia, translated them into English and David edited them.
Any ... in the letters were in the original Russian publication.
David and Eugenia
should be thanked for making these letters more widely available. They tell a fascinating
story of a young man reporting home his first impressions of Ernest Rutherford and of
working with Crocodile, Kapitza's pet name for Rutherford..
|Foreword to the
Russian Edition by Yuly Khariton
to Mother 1921-1926
back to top
Physics Today, August 1990, p72