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Lev Shubnikov

Lev Vasilyevich Shubnikov (Russian: Лев Васильевич Шубников; Ukrainian: Лев Васильович Шубников) (September 9, 1901— November 10, 1937) was a Russian experimental physicist who worked in Russia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

Shubnikov was born into the family of a Saint Petersburg accountant. After graduating from a gymnasium he entered Leningrad University. This was the first year of the Russian Civil War and he was the only student of that year attending the physics department. While yachting in the Gulf of Finland in 1921, he accidentally sailed from Saint Petersburg to Finland, was sent to Germany and could not return to Russia until 1922. He then continued his education in the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute, graduating in 1926. During his university training he worked with Ivan Obreimov, developing a new method for growing monocrystals of metals.

In 1926, at the recommendation of Abram Ioffe, he was sent to the Leiden cryogenic laboratory of Wander Johannes de Haas in the Netherlands; he worked there until 1930. Shubnikov studied bismuth crystals with low impurity concentrations, and in cooperation with Wander Johannes de Haas he discovered magnetoresistance oscillations at low temperatures in magnetic fields (the Shubnikov-De Haas effect). The importance of this effect for condensed state physics became completely clear only much later. Today this effect is one of the principal instruments used in studying the quantum electron properties of solids.

In 1930 Shubnikov returned to Kharkov and established there the first Soviet cryogenic laboratory.

He also discovered the antiferromagnetism (in 1935) and paramagnetism (in 1936, together with Boris Lazarev) of solid state hydrogen. He was one of the first to study liquid helium.

In 1937, at the height of the Great Purge, the NKVD launched the Ukrainian Physics and Technology Institute Affair on the basis of falsified charges, and Shubnikov (along with several colleagues) was convicted and executed. He was posthumously rehabilitated. Until 1991 his true date of death was not officially acknowledged; the Great Soviet Encyclopedia gave the year as 1945.

The Shubnikov Prize has been established by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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