George Gamov: biography and photos


Georgy Gamow is an astrophysicist, theoretical physicist and popularizer of science, famous all over the world. Fame came to the scientist through written work on biology, cosmology, nuclear and atomic physics, astrophysics and quantum mechanics.

The scientist is the first to articulate the problem of the genetic code. Also considered the first to come up with a quantitative theory of alpha decay, he became the founder of the theory of the “Hot Universe”.

Childhood and adolescence

Georgy Antonovich Gamov was born on March 4, 1904 in the city of Odessa, into a family of teachers. The boy's mother died early. My father was a teacher of Russian language and literature in a local gymnasium. George's ancestors were military and priests.


George's father was pleased that his son was fond of biology, physics and astronomy. That is why George Gamov in 1921 entered the University of Odessa, while choosing the Physics and Mathematics Faculty. He managed not only to study well, but also to work as a calculator in an astronomical observatory.

Leningrad University

In 1922, Gamov George Antonovich entered the Leningrad University in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics. This educational institution was then the center of the nascent physical science in the Soviet Union. Money was needed for life, so the future scientist had to get a job as an observer at a meteorological station.


In September 1923, he became head of the field meteorological observatory of the first Artillery School, where he lectured in physics. Already in 1924, Gamow worked at the State Optical Institute, developing methods for screening optical glass.

Work abroad. Alpha Decay Theory

In 1926 he graduated from the university and entered the postgraduate school Gamov Georgy Antonovich. The biography of the scientist continued by the fact that he became the elected candidate for an internship in Germany. But all the necessary documents for this were ready only in 1928.

Gamow seriously decided to study the theory of the atomic nucleus and chose the problem of atomic decay. Using the effect of the tunnel, the scientist was able to show that particles with even the smallest energy can fly out of the nucleus with a certain probability. Such a theory was the very first explanation of the behavior of radioactive substances. In addition to Gamow, Edward Condon and Ronald Gurney dealt with this issue, but only George managed to get the best quantitative results.


On the basis of his conclusions, the physicist Georgy Gamov was able to determine the size of the nuclei (about ten to thirteen centimeters) and explained the Geiger-Nettol law, which linked the energy of the outgoing particles with the half-life of the nuclei. In July 1928, the young scientist published his article in a famous scientific journal, which made him famous in the world of physics.


In 1931, Georgy Gamov, whose biography was described in detail in this article, returned to Leningrad and began working in the field of nuclear physics. In the same year began to improve the personal life of the scientist. He met a graduate of the Moscow State University, Love Vokhmintseva. Soon the wedding took place.

In October 1931, Gamow received an invitation to the Rome Conference, but could not leave the country. After that, he began to look for an opportunity, how to do it (and not only legally). During their vacation in the Crimea, a young couple tried to sail to Turkey by boat, but a strong storm prevented them from doing so.


But in 1933 there was an opportunity. Georgy Gamov, on the recommendation of Ioffe, was appointed to the post of Soviet representative at the Seventh Solvay Congress. The scientist was able to get a visa not only for himself, but also for his wife. The main goal of George was to work abroad and, if desired, to return to his homeland.

George Gamow: The Big Bang Theory

In 1946, the scientist began to study the field of cosmology and proposed a model of the “Hot Universe”. The basis for this theory was an estimate of the age of the entire Universe, which was approximately equal to the age of planet Earth, and the ratio of helium and hydrogen.

In 1948, physicist Georgy Gamov, together with his students, developed a theory of the formation of chemical elements by nucleosynthesis, or sequential neutron capture. However, she did not receive due attention, and for a long time was unnoticed. As Sniven Weinberg said: "Gamow and his students explored the early Universe, namely the first three minutes of its existence."

Genetic code

In 1954, immediately after the discovery of the double-stranded DNA molecule, Gamow was able to make an invaluable contribution to the formation of a new science - molecular biology, putting the first priority solution to the problem of the genetic code. Through scientific experiments, the scientist was able to understand that proteins consisting of twenty natural amino acids are encoded in a certain sequence and are part of the DNA.


Thus, Gamow was able to understand that DNA is encoded from a sequence of four nucleotides, which give a total of sixty-four possible combinations. And this is quite enough to record hereditary information.

Only in 1961, this theory was finally proved by Francis Crick and his assistants, for which they received the Nobel Prize.

Trip to america

After the scientist left the Soviet Union, he worked in various countries, but could not find a permanent place of work for a very long time. And only in 1934, invitations were received from America. He was appointed as a professor at the University of Washington. They decided to hold annual conferences, which brought together famous physicists from around the world. At the same time, the scientist became interested in the relationship between atomic energy and sources of stellar energy.


In 1941, after leaving the University of Washington, a physicist decided to engage in the development of the atomic bomb. However, the process itself was not allowed, so he was forced to perform secondary work. And only in 1948, George received military admission and personally took part in the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb.

George Gamow, "The Adventures of Mr. Tompkins"

The book, written by a famous physicist, is intended for students, schoolchildren and just people interested in modern scientific ideas.

The publication consists of two works. The first of these is Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland. This is a funny story telling readers about a modest bank employee serving in the world of the theory of relativity. The second story “Mr. Tompkins explores the atom” is very interesting and just shows all the processes that occur inside the atom and the atomic nucleus. The book consists of fifteen chapters that can easily interest readers.


Another interesting book about his life was written by George Gamov - “My world line. Informal autobiography.


In 1934, the scientist and author of this book moved from Europe to America. The autobiography described a lot of jokes that he liked to tell his friends. There was nothing serious about her, Gamow argued.

In the USSR, “My World Line” existed only in one copy, which was kept in the Lenin Library. However, Ya.B. Zeldovich was allowed to take this book home, and he gave it to read to his friends and acquaintances. Therefore, many people knew the content. We can say that George Gamov conducted the “World Line” between America and Russia.

Another piece

Georgy Gamov "The Giant of Three Sciences" wrote for a wide range of readers who are interested in the history of cosmology and physics, as well as problems of basic science.

The works of the outstanding scientist left a bright and unforgettable mark in the field of nuclear physics, astrophysics, genetics and elementary particle physics. This book is also an autobiography and describes the most important achievements of the scientist. Here, readers can learn about the "Big Bang Theory", the quantum theory of alpha decay, as well as the clue to the genetic code.


Documentary film “George Gamov. Physicist from God "was filmed in 2009 by director Irina Bakhtina. The author showed how an eminent American physicist, who advanced a large number of scientific theories, dreams of the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that during the life of a scientist most of his works were not valued, now they are of tremendous value, as they have become the beginning for many sciences and theories. So we can assume that the Soviet-American physicist lived his life not in vain.

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