Nobel prize winner was 'B student': university

October 6, 2010

Konstantin Novoselov, the Russian-born physicist who shared this year's Nobel prize, struggled with physics as a student and was awarded a handful of B grades, his university said Wednesday.

The Moscow Physics and Technology University (MFTI) posted report cards on its website for Novoselov, who at 36 won the for physics with his research partner Andre Geim.

The reports reveal that he gained a handful of B grades in his term reports for theoretical and applied physics from 1991 to 1994.

He was also not strong on physical education -- a compulsory subject at Russian universities -- gaining B grades. And while he now lives in Britain, he once gained a C grade for English.

The university also revealed documents on Nobel prize winner Geim, who studied at the same university from 1976 to 1982. His brilliant academic career was only marred by a few B-grades for Marxist political economy and English.

Geim was turned down when he applied first to another Moscow university specialising in engineering and , and worked as a machinist at a factory making electrical instruments for eight months.

In a dark reminder of Soviet-era discrimination, his former secondary school teacher told the Tvoi Den tabloid that Geim's German origins made it hard for him to get into his first-choice university.

"His father is German," Olga Peshkova, 72, who still teaches in the town of Nalchik in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, told the tabloid.

"He said that after two years of studying hard and wanting to get in, he only later understood that it was because of his 'biographical details'."

In documents published by MFTI, Geim described himself as "German" in the practice of the time, when everyone had to describe themselves according to ethnic origin in official forms.

Russia has a community of ethnic Germans, most of whom have now emigrated. In Soviet-era repressions, the Germans were exiled to Siberia and Central Asia and were discriminated against in education and in their careers.

Explore further: Nobel prize win exposes Russia's brain drain losses (Update)

Related Stories

Professor scoops top prize for 2D atomic crystals discovery

October 19, 2006

Professor Andre Geim of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded the 2007 Mott Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics for his ground-breaking work. The research of Professor Geim, Dr Kostya Novoselov and ...

Recommended for you

Researchers study interactions in molecules using AI

October 19, 2018

Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, Technische Universit├Ąt Berlin, and the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society have combined machine learning and quantum mechanics to predict the dynamics and atomic ...

Pushing the extra cold frontiers of superconducting science

October 18, 2018

Measuring the properties of superconducting materials in magnetic fields at close to absolute zero temperatures is difficult, but necessary to understand their quantum properties. How cold? Lower than 0.05 Kelvin (-272┬░C).


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 06, 2010
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." -- Mark Twain
1 / 5 (1) Oct 06, 2010
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." -- Mark Twain

not rated yet Oct 06, 2010
there is hope for the rest of us.
not rated yet Oct 06, 2010
All it takes is commuting bases of operators that have simultaneous eigenvectors...
1 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2010
Einstein was far from being an 'A' student himself. Goes to show that grades are not everything... :)
5 / 5 (1) Oct 07, 2010
Grades don't mean much when it comes to scientific creativity. Grades do not evaluate the "genius" in you. It is in big part a measure of how motivated and dedicated you are, which is what employers want to know. It also doesn't say anything about how scientifically curious you are nor about the way think of physics and solve problems. Some people just learn all equations and are very analytical and basically execute algorithms, where as others visualize and deeply understands every problem.
5 / 5 (4) Oct 07, 2010
Of course, PhysOrg missed the real scoop. Novoselov's Nobel partner, Andre Geim, became the first winner of an IgNobel prize to win the real thing.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.