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 Vladimir Vernadsky


Born:   March 12, 1863
Deceased:   January 6, 1945

Vernadsky, Vladimir Ivanovich is a famous Russian mineralogist, crystallographer, geologist, geochemist and etc.

      

Vernadsky, Vladimir Ivanovich, Russian mineralogist, crystallographer, geologist, geochemist and etc. is born in Saint Petersburg on March 12, 1863. Vladimir spends his childhood in the Ukraine, starting his education in Kharkov, but upon his family return to Saint Petersburg, he attends Saint Petersburg’s grammar school, where he shows a keen interest in natural sciences. Vladimir Ivanovich enters faculty of physics and mathematics of Saint Petersburg’s university, where he becomes a student of V.V. Dokuchaev, founder of soil science, and defends his PhD in 1885, after which is appointed as a research fellow to the mineralogy laboratory.

In 1888 Vernadsky visits Europe, where he practices crystallography in Munich and chemistry and mining technology in France. He reads lectures in Moscow as a privat-docent of Moscow State University between 1890 and 1898. Vernadsky develops mineral genesis theory and defends his Doctor thesis (Phenomenon of crystalline matter sliding) in 1897, being appointed as a professor of Moscow State University. Next century Vernadsky starts with studies in history of science, anticipating his later idea of science thought as a geology factor. The scientist lives between two Russian capitals – Moscow and Saint Petersburg, collecting titles and awards of Moscow University and Saint Petersburg Academy of Science.

In December 1909 Vladimir Vernadsky presents his report “Paragenesis of chemical elements in Earth’s crust”, which later gives birth to geochemistry, at XII Congress of medics and natural scientists. Vladimir Ivanovich encourages researchers to apply new technique, using radioactive phenomenon, for studying history of chemical elements and suggests existence of genetic relationship between chemical elements. He also works on further development of hypotheses on how living organic world affects history of elements, which form Earth’s crust.

After the scientist realizes that radioactive substances are important energy source and possible means for creating new chemical elements, he starts detailed mapping of radioactive substances’ deposits and collects tons of rock samples. Vernadsky establishes Radium Commission in 1909, and first geochemical laboratory opens in Saint Petersburg the year after.

Vernadsky’s energy is inexhaustible – he is elected ordinary academician of Saint Petersburg Academy of Science in 1912; heads the Museum of Mineralogy and Geology in 1914; together with other eminent scientists coordinates development of metal mining industry and so on. In 1917 Vernadsky thinks about creating a new science discipline – biogeochemistry, dealing with living matter as a part or function of biosphere.

After Great October Social Revolution of 1917 changes lives of Russian people, Vernadsky is appointed a chairman of scientific committee of Ministry of Agriculture and professor of Moscow University, however, his previous political activities make him leave Russia, and the scientist moves to Kiev, where establishing Ukrainian Academy of Sciences becomes his responsibility. Then Vernadsky moves to Simpheropol, where works as mineralogy professor and heads Simpheropol University until 1921, when he is dismissed due to rapidly changing political situation.

 

Keeping his chin up, Vladimir Ivanovich returns to Saint Petersburg, where starts teaching geochemistry – chemical composition of living matter. The same year he accepts invitation of Sorbonne and moves to Paris with his wife, leaving his daughter in Prague University, for reading geochemistry course. His book “Geochemistry” comes off the press in 1924 (in Russia it appears in 1927 under “Essays on Geochemistry” name). Vernadsky works together with Maria Curie and publishes a report “Living matter in biosphere” and an article “Human autotrophy”, in which he persuades mankind to synthesize food from minerals, omitting plant intermediates and predicts appearing of autotrophic animals.

In 1926 the scientist publishes his fundamental work “Biosphere”, where he regards living matter as part of the Universe, not only planet Earth. In 1928 his report on “Species evolution and living matter” conference touches correlation between biogenic migration of atoms and evolution of species. He also suggests that organism’s elemental chemical composition, radium concentration, for instance, is a species characteristic. Since 1927 Vernadsky travels a lot, reading lecture courses in Germany, France, Czech Republic and etc. However, the scientist refuses to move abroad and continues his scientific activities, being stuck to his belief that only science can save Russia. In 1934 Vernadsky publishes a brochure “Time problems of modern science” and a book “History of natural waters”. In 1936 Vladimir Ivanovich joins Leroy’s theory of anthroposphere (noosphere) being a new state of biosphere, opening a new period in history of our planet and space..

Vernadsky heads Commission on meteorites and space dust, Commission on isotopes and takes part in International Committee on geochronology and other events. He is one of the founders of Soviet nuclear project. His last work “Some words about the noosphere” comes off the press in 1944.

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky dies in Moscow on January 6, 1945

Source:
    Krugosvet.ru
 

Kizilova Anna


Tags: Russian science Russian scientists Vladimir Vernadsky   




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