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Institute for Physical Problems, USSR Academy of Sciences

Kosygin street, 2, p.1
3.2
Institute was designed specifically for outstanding Russian physicists Kapitza and Landau.
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Founded by Kapitsa, this institution became the site where several key discoveries were made. Some of them were subsequently awarded Nobel Prizes.

Pyotr Kapitsa, who worked from 1921 to 1934 with the great Ernest Rutherford, returned to the Soviet Union to participate in the Mendeleev Congress. Kapitsa was not allowed to go back to the UK in accordance with the decision of the secret commission of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and he was forced to continue his studies in Moscow. This story became a great scientific and political scandal, but physicist remained in a "golden cage" until Stalin's death and resignation of party officials of 1930s.

Vernadsky, for example, said: "An international scandal will happen in case of the empowerment of the government’s decision not to allow Kapitsa to go back to England. Kapitsa is a member of the British Royal Society and they will take all the necessary action to ensure his return. The science is an international subject, and everyone should be allowed to work wherever he wants, and on topics that he finds interesting." Favorsky stated: "It is impossible to create by order. Kapitsa will refuse to do so". The reference document of NKVD summarized the mood of academics as follows: they "spoke in general against the decision taken in relation to Kapitsa, consider such an enforced separation of Kapitsa from his two children living in England receiving education there and the destruction of his well-equipped laboratory unacceptable."

Institute buildings were constructed in the Lenin Hills with accelerated pace. Not only academic buildings, but also the cottage where, after the death of Academician his museum was located, were situated at the extensive grounds there.

Physics from all over Russia and from abroad gathered to participate in the famous seminars of Kapitsa and Landau. David Schoenberg, Kapitsa’s graduate student came to work at the Institute from Cambridge in 1937. He wrote: " Kapitsa seminar was an attraction of the Moscow institute. It made me feel at home there since it was very similar to his Cambridge club. The main difference lay in the fact that here we were served tea and Russian caviar sandwiches instead of coffee and biscuits, and that chair of Kapitsa’s spacious office in Moscow were softer then in Cambridge. However, the same stimulating atmosphere was here and it was devoid of deferent comments and lively debates."

Construction was conducted from May to December 1935 by architects P. Nikolaev, B.M. Iofan, E.N. Stamo involving G.A. Aseeva. Fixings of defects took over a year. Installation of equipment purchased in England from Rutherford's laboratory, was completed in June 1936, Main building of the Institute were designed in Art Deco style. Neoclassical forms were geometricized and simplified, but the total volume composition tends to the classics design. Portico of the main entrance is flanked by two buildings, almost no decoration except for square columns, square windows and door trims as small cornice.

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