Knizhnik studied physics from 1978 to 1984 at the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology. He has received his PhD at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics. His supervisor was Prof. A. Polyakov, however at the time of his PhD courses ("aspirantship") Vadim was already a first-class physicist and supervising him was a pure formality. In 1986 he became a member of the Landau Institute. His distinguished abilities showed quite early. At the secondary school he won twice the physics olympiad of the USSR. He wrote his first scientific paper (in collaboration with Prof. L. Andreev) as a student in 1982. This paper has dealt with kinetic properties of quantum crystals. From 1984 he turned to quantum field theory and made very important contributions to string theory."
- A.B. Zamolodchikov in Frontiers in Nonperturbative Field Theory, ed. Z. Horvath, l. Palla and A. Patkos, World Scientific, ISBN 9971-5-0780-3, page vii.
- Russian Jewish Encyclopedia, retrieved November 24, 2006