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VERNADSKY (VERNADSKII), Vladímir Ivanovich.

(1863 – 1945)

(Born: St. Petersburg, Russia, 12 March 1863; Died: Moscow, Russia, 6 January 1945) Russian geochemist & mineralogist.

Vernadsky graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1886, becoming an assistant in Moscow University. In 1888, he had post graduate studies under P. Groth in Münich, and in 1889-90 in Paris he worked in the laboratories of Fouqué, Le Chatelier and Curie. In 1891, he returned to Moscow becoming a private docent. From 1898 to 1911, he was professor of mineralogy. He was also post-rector from 1906-11. When he was elected to the Academy of Science in St. Petersburg in 1906, he also was given charge of the mineral collection. On the relocation of the Academy to Moscow, he became director of the biogeochemical laboratory. His research was principally in geochemistry and the formation of minerals.

Biographical references: Aksenov, G.P., ed., Vladimir Vernadskii: zhizneopisanie, izbrannye trudy, vospominaniia sovremennikov, suzhdeniia potomkov = Vladimir Vernadsky: biography, selected works, reminiscences of contemporaries, opinions of descendants. Moskva, "Sovremennik", 1993. 685 p., illus. ["Dedicated to the 130th anniversary of the birth of the founder of the scientific conception of biosphere and noosphere V.I. Vernadsky."]. American Mineralogist: 32 (1947), nos. 3-4, 181-8, portrait. Balandin, R,K,, Vladimir Vernadsky. Moscow, MIR Publishers, 1982. 206 p., [16] p. of plates, illus. [Biography of Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadskii]. Bouska, V., "Vladimír Ivanovic Vrenadskij (1863, +1945)", Casopis pro Mineralogii a Geologii, 8, (1963), pt. 4, 396-8, portrait. DSB: 13, 616-20 [by I.A. Fedoseyev]. Geologiska Föreningens i Stockholm Förhandlingar: 67 (1945), no. 4, 534-48, 2 portraits. Gordeev, D.I. and K.P. Mel'nikova, "Vladimir Ivanovic Veradskij über das Wasser", Geologie, 20, (1971), nos. 6-7, 728-35. Great Soviet Encyclopedia: 4, 611-2. IAnshina, F.T., {\rcyr Razvitie filosofskikh predstavlenii V.I. Vernadskogo} [Razvitie filosofskikh predstavlenii V.I. Vernadskogo]. Moskva, "Nauka", 1999. 141 p. [ISBN 5020043036; Development of philosophical ideas of V.I. Vernadsky.]. ISIS, 1913-65: 2, 581-2. Krüger, P., "V.I. Vernadskij", (pp. 105-113) in: Guntau, M., ed., Biographien bedeutender Geowissenschaftler der Sowjetunion: 19 biographischer Darstellung zu bedeutenden Gelehrten der russian sowjet. Geologiegeschichte. Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, 1979. [Published as: Schriftenreihe für geologische Wissenschaften, Berlin, 14, (1979).]. La Rocque, History of Geology, 1964: 1, 25-6 [by S. Chaudhuri]. Mineralogical Magazine: 28 (1947), no. 199, 223-4, portrait. Poggendorff: 4, 1619, 5, 1305-6 & 6, ???. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 3, 2327-8, Suppl. 1 (1986), 2, 854 & Suppl. 2 (1995), 2, 1165. Scerbina, V.V. and V.I. Gerasimovskij, "Der Beitrag V.I. Vernadskijs zur Untersuchung der Lagestätten mineralogischer Rohstoffe", Geologie, 20, (1971), nos. 6-7, 736-9. World Who's Who in Science: p. 1719. Zvorykin, Biograficheskii Slovar, 1958: 1, 144-6, portrait.

1. Russian, 1894.
{\cyrillic Lekcii Kristallografii} [Lekcii Kristallografii]. Moskva, Izd. Stud. Fiz.-Mat. Fak., 1894.

8°: 255 p. Rare.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed].

2. Russian, 1897.
IAvleniia skol'zheniia kristallicheskago veshchestva ... Moskva, Universitetskaia tip., 1897.

182 p., [2] leaves of plates.

Very scarce. REWORK ENTRYRare. After several false starts, Vernadsky finally completed work on his doctoral dissertation in 1896 and received the degree the following year, defending his thesis at Moscow University. Although he originally intended to write on the subject of polymorphism in minerals, which had fascinated him for years, he decided that the subject was too broad and would require too many years of experimental work to do properly. He chose instead a narrower topic in crystallography, in order to have the degree out of the way and qualify for a professorship. 109Vernadsky's work in crystallography in general was concerned with the rela-tionship of crystal form to the underlying "physiochemical structure and em- phasized the importance of energetics in studying crystals. "110 The particular problem he chose for his doctoral dissertation was the phenomena of gliding in crystal substances. As he explained it to his wife while completing most of the work in the summer of 1896, the dissertation would contain five chapters and a conclusion, the first a general introduction explaining the significance of the problem and discussing previous literature, the following three on the phe- nomena of gliding in rock salt, izvestkovoi shpat (spar), and several other minerals, giving a summary of known instances of these phenomena, the fifth chapter would be on the connection between the planes involved in gliding and the symmetry of crystals. Vernadsky's intention was to proceed from the par- ticular, his own experimental observations and measurement of the phe- nomena, to some general conclusions at the end." He completed much of the work by the beginning of August (over two hundred pages), but remained unhappy with it as he left Russia to join his wife in Paris for the remainder of the summer:I cannot say that I am satisfied with the work. It is reminiscent of a bear's dance, that is, it can scarcely be considered on a high level esthetically. But from the standpoint of esthetics, sometimes, individual leaps of the bear are successful. My work represents such a bear's dance in science. Most of all I am vexed by the fact that, due to malaise, there are a whole series of questions which I have not treated. I am too lazy to do complex measurements, too lazy to carry out proper mathematical preparation; and now, preparing this work for printing, I feel a whole series of fundamental questions I have not treated. I will return to some of these questions, but in general I have the feeling that I have approached and skirted, come close to discovery, but have made none, due to laziness and dilettantism. 112Although Vernadsky tended at times to be a very harsh self critic, his doctoral dissertation was approved with praise by his university and judged a creative piece of work by a later generation of Russian specialists in crystallography. As one of the foremost Soviet crystallographers, Shafronovsky, wrote in later years:Here we find the richest synthesis of data relating to unique deformations of crystals, created as a result of gliding, that is the shifting of separate parts of a crystal along straight lines while preserving the volume, weight, and homogeneity of matter. Vernadsky revealed the connection between the planes of gliding, the crystalline facets and elements of symmetry. Here for the first time, he underlined the need to make several qualifications in our conceptions about the complete homogeneity of crystalline polyhedrons in connection with changes in their physical features in their surface state. According to this idea, crystals are viewed not as abstract geometrical systems, but as real physical bodies. At the present time, the proposition put forward by Vernadsky is generally accepted. 122Just before his defense, Vernadsky submitted a copy of his dissertation for comments to the man who was probably the most creative and best known crystallographer in Russia at the time, E. S. Fedorov, a professor of geology at the Moscow Agricultural Institute. In his response, Fedorov was both compli- mentary and critical of Vernadsky's work. As he wrote on March 13, 1897:I want to congratulate you on a very interesting and instructive piece of research, "On the Planes of Gliding," and thank you sincerely for sending me this work, from which I have extracted much that is useful, although I have not had time to read it through as carefully as it deserved. i regret that the work came into my hands just as my textbook on crystallography was being printed. Otherwise I would have used material from it that is instructive. 123Fedorov went on to criticize Vernadsky's use of the term "gliding" (skolzhenie) arguing that what he had investigated in his thesis was not gliding at all but another set of phenomena found in crystals, deformations he called displacement (sdvig). This disagreement did not prevent Fedorov from giving the younger Russian scientist high praise when he reviewed the published version of Vernadsky's doctoral dissertation of 1898. Comparing Vernadsky's dissertation with the work of three other contemporary scientists who dealt with various anomalies and deformations in crystals, Fedorov found the work of Vernadsky and one other of these authors to be superior to the other two, since they were distinguished by their completeness and their originality. He was particularly impressed by Vernadsky's critical attitude toward preceding work, his many original observations, and his independent views. Developing some of the critical views he had earlier expressed to the author privately in the letter cited above, he nonetheless closed his review with high praise: "If I elaborated on the weak sides of this work, then it is exclusively because I give this work very great importance and I would be very happy to see these weak sides ironed out in later works by this highly promising author. "124Crystallography, Mathematical.Series: Fiziko-kristallograficheskiia izsliedovaniia ; 1. Other Titles: Uchenyia zapiski Imperatorskago Moskovskago universiteta. Otdiel estestvenno-istoricheskii ; vyp. 13.

Bibliographical references: Bailes, K.E., Science and Russian culture in an age of revolutions. V.I. Vernadsky and his scientific school, 1863-1945. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1990: pp. 65-7. BL.

3. Russian, 1899.
{\cyrillic Lekcii po Opisatel'noi Mineralogii} [Lekcii po Opisatel'noi Mineralogii]. Moskva, Tipo-Lit. Richter, 1899.

8°: 288 p. Rare.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed].

4. Russian, 1904.
{\cyrillic Osnovy Kristallografii} [Osnovy Kristallografii]. Moskva, Mosk. Gosud. Univ., 1904.

8°: 345 p.

Very scarce. REWORK ENTRYRare.Vernadsky continued an interest in crystallography until the end of his teaching career at Moscow University in 1911 and published his first major scientific book, The Fundamentals of Crystallography, in 1903.Vernadsky's own interests went beyond the descriptive and mathematical. In his Fundamentals of Crystallography, 126 he asked why crystals have such special geometric forms. For him the study of crystals was interesting for what it could reveal concerning the structure of matter in one of its three fundamental states, solids (as contrasted with liquids and gases), and he sought to connect the form of crystals with the underlying molecular and atomic structures they reflect. 127 For Vernadsky, "crystallography is concerned with the study of the laws of the solid state of matter. "128 In his book, he gave a short historical survey of the development of the field and noted that traditionally the study of crystals had developed independently of physics and chemistry. He sought to bring these subjects together in a closer marriage. He viewed crystallography as a subdivision of mineralogy, since all crystals are, at the same time, minerals. "It is impossible to be a mineralogist," he observed, "without mastering the basic methods of crystallography . . . because the mineralogist is concerned with the solid, crystalline products of chemical reactions on earth. "129

Bibliographical references: Bailes, K.E., Science and Russian culture in an age of revolutions. V.I. Vernadsky and his scientific school, 1863-1945. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1990: pp. 69-70. BL [no copy listed].

Opyt Opisatel'noi Mineralogii, 1908

5. Russian, 1908-14 [First edition].
{\cyrillic Opyt Opisatel'noi Mineralogii} [Opyt Opisatel'noi Mineralogii]. St. Petersburg, Tip. Imp. Akademii Nauk, 1908-14.

2 vols. [Vol 1, part 1: 1908] 8°: pp. 1-176. [Vol 1, part 2: 1909] 8°: pp. 177-336. [Vol 1, part 3: 1910] 8°: pp. 337-496. [Vol 1, part 4: 1912] 8°: pp. 497-656. [Vol 1, part 5: 1914] 8°: pp. 657-839. [Vol 2, part 1: 1918] 8°: pp. 1-144. [Vol 2, part 2: 1922] 8°: pp. 145-254.

Very scarce. REWORK ENTRYRare. Shortly after the publication of The Fundamentals of Crystallography, in 1903, Vernadsky returned to a far more ambitious project in mineralogy, for which he had begun gathering material in the 1890s. This was a kind of encyclopedia of the "mineral kingdom" of the Russian Empire. His aim was to gather together and systematically analyze all the known data about the genesis, characteristics, deposits, and industrial significance of all minerals then known in Russia. This work was entitled An Attempt at a Descriptive Mineralogy, although the title was a bit misleading, since he obviously hoped to do more than describe minerals in the usual sense. In this work, he wanted to analyze the historical development, structure, known deposits, and uses of every mineral found in Russia. This was obviously more than a single person could hope to accomplish in a lifetime, and Vernadsky began to enlist the help of both his students and other scientists.As Vernadsky later noted, he received the help of everyone he turned to in Russia, with one exception, the crystallographer E. S. Fedorov, who had become rector of the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg and answered Ver- nadsky's plea for help with a sharp criticism of the project, which he misunderstood as a dry collection of facts. He considered it impossible ever to complete the project and stated as much to Vernadsky. In this respect, Fedorov was probably correct, since Vernadsky did not complete the project, although what he published proved to be valuable. In another respect, however, his sharp note of rebuke was unfair, since he accused Vernadsky of undertaking the project with purely commercial aims in mind rather than a scientific purpose. There is no evidence that Vernadsky's motives here were commercial, or that he ever realized a profit from those portions of the Attempt at a Descriptive Mineralogy, which were finally published. Vernadsky had major ambitions which he often did not fully realize, but a desire to make a large profit does not seem to have been among them. Recognition, even fame, were certainly among the motives that emerge from a careful examination of Vernadsky's legacy, but a strong desire for monetary profit seems much less evident and is contradicted by Vernadsky's own lifestyle, which was ascetic, comfortable but far from luxurious.Contains a topogaphical mineralogy, pp. 717-739.Geographical index, pp. 813-839.

Collected works, 1954-    : Izbrannye Sochineniia [Otvetstvennyi redaktor A.P. Vinogradov] ... Moskva, Izd-vo Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1954- -    . [DLC, Q113.V4].

Bibliographical references: Bailes, K.E., Science and Russian culture in an age of revolutions. V.I. Vernadsky and his scientific school, 1863-1945. Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1990 [pp. 70-2]. BL [07107.k.59.]. Dana's 7th (Bibliography): 82. Grigorev & Shafranovskii, Russkie Mineralogi, 1949: pp. 162-95. Krüger, P., "V.I. Vernadskij", (pp. 105-113) in: Guntau, M., ed., Biographien bedeutender Geowissenschaftler der Sowjetunion: 19 biographischer Darstellung zu bedeutenden Gelehrten der russian sowjet. Geologiegeschichte. Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, 1979. [Published as: Schriftenreihe für geologische Wissenschaften, Berlin, 14, (1979).]. Mineralogical Magazine: 16, 72. NUC: 634, 435 [NV 0115180]. Povarennykh, Definition of Mineral, 1964. Spencer, Catalogue of Topographical Mineralogies, 1948 [pp. 304 & 306].