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Volodymyr Vernadsky

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Volodymyr Vernadsky

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky
Volodymyr Vernadsky, born March 12, 1863, in St. Petersburg, died January 6, 1946, in Moscow. Pioneering geochemist, mineralogist, and crystal-lographer, philosopher of science, political activist, and politician; full member of the Russian (later USSR) Academy of Sciences, the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member of the French Academy of Sciences, and member of the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv, the Poltava Prosvita society, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, and the Volhynian Scientific Society. After graduating from St. Petersburg University (1885) he did graduate work there and in Munich and Paris (1888-9) and was elected president (1886) of the United Council of Regional Student Organizations in the Russian Empire. He taught at Moscow University (1891-1911) and was a member of the Russian State Council (1906-11). Vernadsky had close genealogical, personal, and intellectual links to Ukraine. From 1889 to 1918 he spent part of nearly every summer in Poltava gubernia. In 1890 he researched the soils of Kremenchuk county as a member of V. Dokuchaev's soil-science expedition.

After the February Revolution of 1917 Vernadsky chaired the Agricultural Scholarly Committee of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, and was appointed the Russian deputy minister of education in charge of all universities and scientific institutions. After the Bolshevik coup he fled to Ukraine. In 1918 he headed the group of Ukrainian scholars that drafted the detailed project for founding the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In 1918-19 he served as its first president, and lectured in Kyiv University. Although he was liberal supporter of the idea of 'Russian' unity and a vocal opponent of the Bolsheviks, Whites, he resigned from the Russian Constitutional Democratic party because of the Russian chauvinism of its Ukrainian wing. In 1919, while visiting Rostov, he was unable to return to Ukraine and ended up in the White-controlled Crimea, where he was a professor and rector of Tavriia University in Symferopol in 1920.

In 1921 Vernadsky returned to Petro-grad and organized the Radium Institute there. In 1922 he went to Paris to work with M. Curie and lecture at the Sorbonne. In 1926 lie returned to Russia, and from 1928 until his death he directed the USSR academy's Radium Institute and Laboratory for Geochemi-cal Problems.

Vernadsky s ideas became the core of new directions in geology, mineralogy, and hydrogeology, and he is regarded as the founder of Soviet geochemistry and biogeochemistry. He is the author of the fundamental studies on the regularities in the composition and structure of Earth, the chemical composition of the crust, hydro- and atmosphere, the role and importance of radioactive elements in the planet's evolution, and the place of living matter in its history. Vernadsky's findings ore universally recognized.


 
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