Ilya Lifshitz

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Ilya Lifshitz
Ilya Mikhailovich Lifshitz

(1917-01-13)January 13, 1917
DiedOctober 23, 1982(1982-10-23) (aged 65)
Alma materUniversity of Kharkiv, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute
Known forLifshitz tails
Lifshitz exponent
Lifshitz–Kosevich formula
Lifshitz transition
spectral shift function
AwardsLenin Prize
Simon Memorial Prize (1961)
Scientific career
InstitutionsKharkov Institute of Physics and Technology Institute for Physical Problems
Doctoral advisorLev Landau
Doctoral studentsArnold Kosevich

Ilya Mikhailovich Lifshitz (Ukrainian: Ілля́ Миха́йлович Лі́фшиць, Russian: Илья́ Миха́йлович Ли́фшиц; January 13, 1917 – October 23, 1982) was a leading Soviet theoretical physicist, brother of Evgeny Lifshitz. He is known for his works in solid-state physics, electron theory of metals, disordered systems, and the theory of polymers.[1][2]


Ilya Lifshitz was born into a Ukrainian Jewish family in Kharkov, Kharkov Governorate, Russian Empire (now Kharkiv, Ukraine). Together with Arnold Kosevich, in 1954 Lifshitz established the connection between the oscillation of magnetic characteristics of metals and the form of an electronic surface of Fermi (Lifshitz–Kosevich formula) from de Haas–van Alphen experiments.

Lifshitz was one of the founders of the theory of disordered systems.[3] He introduced some of the basic notions, such as self-averaging, and discovered what is now called Lifshitz tails and Lifshitz singularity.

In perturbation theory, Lifshitz introduced[4] the notion of spectral shift function, which was later developed by Mark Krein.

A phase transition involving topological changes of the material's Fermi surface is called a Lifshitz phase transition.[5][6]

Starting from the late 1960s, Lifshitz started considering problems of statistical physics of polymers. Together with his students Alexander Yu. Grosberg and Alexei R. Khokhlov, Lifshitz proposed a theory of coil-to-globule transition in homopolymers and derived the formula for the conformational entropy of a polymer chain, that is referred to as the Lifshitz entropy.[7]


  1. ^ Odijk, T. (1997). "Ilya M. Lifshitz. An appreciation". Physics Reports. 288 (1–6): 9–12. Bibcode:1997PhR...288....9O. doi:10.1016/S0370-1573(97)00019-7.
  2. ^ Grosberg, A. Yu.; Khokhlov, A. R. (1994). Statistical Physics of Macromolecules. Springer. ISBN 978-1-56396-071-0.
  3. ^ Gredeskul, S.A.; Pastur, L.A. (1985). "Works of I. M. Lifshitz on disordered systems". J. Stat. Phys. 38 (1/2): 25–36. Bibcode:1985JSP....38...25G. doi:10.1007/BF01017846. S2CID 121577109.
  4. ^ Lifshitz, I.M. (1952). "On a problem of the theory of perturbations connected with quantum statistics". Uspekhi Mat. Nauk. 7 (1 (47)): 171–180.
  5. ^ Lifshitz, I. M. (1960-05-01). "ANOMALIES OF ELECTRON CHARACTERISTICS IN THE HIGH PRESSURE REGION". Zhur. Eksptl'. I Teoret. Fiz. (in Russian). 38. OSTI 4173345.
  6. ^ Dugdale, S B (2016-05-01). "Life on the edge: a beginner's guide to the Fermi surface". Physica Scripta. 91 (5): 053009. Bibcode:2016PhyS...91e3009D. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/91/5/053009. hdl:1983/18576e8a-c769-424d-8ac2-1c52ef80700e. ISSN 0031-8949.
  7. ^ Some problems of the statistical physics of polymer chains with volume interaction. I. M. Lifshitz, A. Yu. Grosberg, and A. R. Khokhlov. Rev. Mod. Phys. 1978, 50, 683.

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