Victor Veselago bigraphy, stories - Russian physicist

Victor Veselago : biography

1929 -

Victor Georgievich Veselago (born 1929, in Ukrainian SSR, USSR) is a Russian physicist. In 1967, he was the first to publish a theoretical analysis of materials with negative permittivity, ε, and permeability μ.

He published his seminal work in a paper entitled "The Electrodynamics of Substances with Simultaneously Negative Values of ε and μ". It was first published in Russian (1967), and was later translated into English (1968). His published paper was key to the advancement of physics research in electrodynamics. It has been cited 1,646 times by other scientific works, according to and 2,856 times according to Google Scholar as of Aug. 2012.Interview with Veselago, Victor G.

Throughout his career he has received awards and has continued contributing to electrodynamics.

Results and importance of first published work

His first paper was "The Electrodynamics of Substances with Simultaneously Negative Values of ε and μ". Up to this point, refractive index was traditionally regarded as having only positive values. In this paper he was able to show that refractive index may also be negative. He hypothesized that negative refraction can occur if both the (electric) permittivity and the magnetic permeability of a material are negative. This prediction was confirmed 33 years later when David Smith et al., created a composite material with negative refractive index, and Sir John Pendry showed that the planar lens proposed by Veselago can indeed provide greatly improved resolution.

After Smith's and Pendry's accomplishments with metamaterials, Veselago realized that the most important contribution of his original paper is not that a composite material can be designed to produce a negative refraction, but that a composite material can be designed to produce any value for permittivity and permeability. At least a part of his research goals was then to critically reconsider all formulas of classical electrodynamics that involve permittivity, permeability or refractive index. The fact that prior research is based on positive values for these parameters leads to erroneous solutions when negative values are considered or researched. He stated that many of these formulas need to be corrected.

Veselago perceived that the next big breakthrough with metamaterials will be the fabrication of transparent low-absorption metamaterials with negative refraction in the visible spectrum range.


In the senior years of his high school he was an avid ham radio amateur. This hobby sparked an interest in the workings of electricity, and more generally, an interest in physics. Veselago enrolled in the Physico-Technical Department, of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University. This department had at that time was just recently opened at this University. He matriculated for four years there. These university years were the happiest time of his life.

Professor Mark Yefremovich Zhabotinsky supervised Veselago's project for his graduation diploma. This same professor also helped him to build a foundation in radio electronics and electrodynamics. Also, as a result of reading the book "What is radio?", which popularized the subject he became involved in the amateur field of Ham Radio. Veselago then studied under the author of the book, Professor Semen Emmanuilovich Khaikin, for three summers at the P N Lebedev FIAN Radioastronomy Station in Crimea. He also studied under Professor Sergei Mikhailovich Rytov, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, who lectured on the theory of oscillations. These three professors have had a notable impact on Veselago.

It appears that the most significant event of his career, and the most important moment in his life was when he realized that materials with both negative permittivity and permeability are possible.

He is also on the advisory board of the peer reviewed journal Metamaterials, along with a number of other notable board members who have significantly contributed to metamaterial research. The journal was first published in March, 2007.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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