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Sergey Kapitsa

Born in Cambridge, England, he graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1949. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Lebedev Physical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences and Professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Kapitsa's contributions to physics have been in the areas of applied electrodynamics and accelerator physics; he is known, in particular, for his work on the microtron, a device for producing electron beams. More recently his research focus has been on historical demography, where he developed a number of mathematical models of the World System population hyperbolic growth and the global demographic transition. His activities in science popularization include hosting the Russian Television program, Evident, but Incredible, starting in 1973, for which he was awarded UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in 1979 and the USSR State Prize in 1980, and editing the Russian edition of Scientific American from 1982 onwards.

He has also been active in issues of science and society through his participation in the Pugwash conferences and the Club of Rome. In the 1980s he, along with Carl Sagan, was outspoken about the possibility that nuclear war would bring about a nuclear winter, making presentations in the US Senate in 1983 and the United Nations in 1985. He has also been an advocate of planetary exploration and serves on the advisory council of the Planetary Society. Kapitsa is vice president of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Russia and president of the Eurasian Physical Society, and has been a strong proponent of restoring support for science in Russia.